Today begins Lent.
Lent prepares us for the cycle of mortality and resurrection, perfected by Christ, without which life has no meaning. It’s a time of humility. We call to mind our human brokenness in hopes of making ourselves better imitators of Christ.
On Ash Wednesday, we mark ourselves with the sign of the cross in ashes. “Remember, man, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return (Genesis 3:19).”
The path to heaven, after all, goes through the cross. Lent is our annual chance to step away from our human excesses of sin and pleasure and leisure and sloth and apathy and complacency. One way we do this is through small sacrifices, like giving up something we enjoy. Or we can make this a radical Lent.
The modern world treats calls to humility and reminders of mortality as capital crimes. All the more reason for Catholics to wear our ashes humbly today.