Ashes to Ashes, Life to Life

I had the great privilege and honor of being one of the assistants to distribute ashes at our school Mass today. Ashes are a strong symbol for death, and after all, that is the point of Ash Wednesday, to remind us that we all will die. Ashes are also a strong symbol of life, at least they should be for Christians. Death is not an end, but the beginning.
Students stepped up to me, along with a few teachers and parents, and I placed the ashes on their forehead in the shape of a small cross. As I said the words, “Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return,” I thought to myself but I hope they saw in my smile, “You will live. We will meet again in heaven.”
In the dust and ashes—symbols of death—all I could see was life. Afterwards, all I could do was smile and be still in His joy and know a little of God.
And that can only be because of the Cross.