Daily Reflection
February 13th, 2002
Jeanne Schuler
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Ash Wednesday
Joel 2:12-18
Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
2 Corinthians 5:20--6:2
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Remember, you are dust,
and to dust you will return.

Turn away from sin
and be faithful to the gospel.

Return to Me

Strange notions of happiness reside among us: maximize pleasure and minimize pain. Living well is the best revenge. You can never have enough. Money, itís your best friend. Winning is everything. It means never having to say youíre sorry.

Why are you Americans so sad, Mother Theresa wondered? We enter the holy season confused. Fasting? Weeping? Alms? The words of Scripture call us like trumpets through a fog. What do these sounds means? We grope for understanding. Ashes smeared on forheads slip in and out of view all day. I head for Church after work. Bless me with ashes, too.

We have been away too long. Even we who pray, attend Mass, serve the poor, battle for justice. We too slip away. Our lives subdivide, routines clamp down, senses dull. Righteousness burdens us. The wonder of each morning is choked with worry. It is time to awaken. Time to return. God, I am not complete. I cannot do it alone, though I try. Smallness scares me. I hide from my weakness. Itís hard to forgive. In the quiet of Lent, this heart seeks to be known and healed. In the quiet, I hunger again.

Mercy. The word pulls me closer. Mercy flows like water to parched lips. Can this be true? Mercy brings disbelief. What strange joy is this? But look, our load is lifted. My vision clears. Thankfulness spills out. Close to mercy, my heart dances in Your name.

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