WHO'D BE THE DEVIL ON ASH WEDNESDAY?
He's been labouring all year with his schemes and attractions, some of them quite ingenious in their simplicity, and then with the first sign of the Blessed Ash we humans suddenly get wiser than we've ever shown oursleves before. The poor chap has to listen to us renounce him, denounce him and generally tell him to be off. We have finished with his blandishments and will now listen only to the Good News of the Gospel. He must be wondering as he limps off, "what on earth do they put in those blessed ashes?"
Well I'll tell you, but don't breathe a word to him. Mine, (ashes that is) come from Hayes & Finch. Sometimes I blacken them up with a spot of the old crushed charcoal but mostly I like to believe that they are as people say they are; the ashes of last years blessed palms. What would old "Nick the Trick" think if he knew that on the first day of every Lent he falls a sucker to one of the simplest tricks of all, Ashes?
Why ashes? Simple. Those ashes are all that is left of our proud Palm-waving of last year when we felt sure we could do something for Jesus. Well, we've learned our lesson and smearing ourselves with those ashes we freely, happily, joyfully admit that it is Jesus who does things for us. He is to be the centre of our Lent, not ourselves. Ashes to everything else. No wonder recovering Alcoholics say, "a power greater than ourselves!"
Mind you, you probably don't you see yourself as recovering from anything. You're absolutely determined to impress the Lord with your own determination, discipline and self-denial, aren't you? Ah, well! Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, if God doesn't have you etc. etc.