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Ash Wednesday: Beauty for ashes

26 Feb 2020, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Doctrines

Ash Wednesday: Beauty for ashes

It is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lenten season again, and it is an amazing reality that the season begins in ashes but ends in glory. Signed with ashes is certainly not a condemnation to ashes but a call to stand on the divine promise to give beauty for Ashes (Isaiah 61:3).

One may not be wrong to consider ashes as a waste product, for it is “the powdery residue left after the burning of a substance.” In the Catholic tradition of Ash Wednesday, the ash is the powdery residue of the once greenish and beautiful palms of Palm Sunday. Wearing this spiritual make-up makes us physically look stained as truly we are spiritual. However, it is a reminder and a call for internal purification.

As amazing as the divine promise of beauty for ashes sounds, its realization depends on the individual. The substitution plan connected to this promise requires no cold shoulder; it is activated by the intentional presentation of ashes.

We must look beyond the ashes on foreheads to see how sin has made us ashes, remnants of destruction. The ashes, our spiritually disfigured nature, is what God wants to substitute for beauty. It is a promise of recreation and restoration in Christ.

The Lenten call to repentance is a call to respond to God’s unconditional love. He loves us for no other reason than the fact that we are his children. “Indeed, God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in other that the world might be saved through him” Jn. 3:17. The ash on the forehead is a mark of our brokenness and a form of an invitation to gather the ashes of our lives for God to substitute for beauty. The broken hearts, the dysfunctional homes and families, and all our broken relationships with man and God forms these ashes. Bring these ashes to God this Lent; it is his promise to substitute them for beauty.

  • Fortunatus Ihedioha Reply

    Fr.,it’s been a while I have read your messages and reading from you again today is indeed pleasing and exciting to me. How are you Fr. and work in the Lord’s vineyard? I hope that you’re at your best as usual?

    Thank you for those words from you to reflect upon on this solemn day. May the grace of God be sufficient for you in Jesus name. Amen.

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