Ash Wednesday, Part 2
Every year on Ash Wednesday, Guari and I read T. S. Eliot’s poem “Ash Wednesday” aloud. The poem brilliantly portrays the dual Lenten focus on repentance and acceptance of our mortality. It expresses a sense of dust and ashes, of hopelessness, of powerlessness to change. These feelings resonate with many people facing the pain and challenges of the world today. But then, in the poem, surprisingly:
The lost heart stiffens and rejoices
for the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
and the weak spirit quickens to rebel
for the bent goldenrod and the lost sea smell
quickens to recover the cry of quail
and the whirling plover.
The earth has the power to call us back to life, through the divine Spirit that moves through creation. In some mysterious way, the earth can provide us with an antidote to despair and can renew our spiritual connection with what is deepest within our souls. It is our context, our “ground of being,” through which the Spirit touches us, reminding us of what is real and important, who we are, and with whom we are connected.
Teach us to sit still,
even among these rocks,
our peace in His will.
And even among these rocks,
Sister, Mother, and spirit of the river, spirit of the sea
Suffer me not to be separated,
And let my cry come unto Thee.
(This blog posting includes excerpts from Shaking the Gates of Hell.)