Two days ago, on Ash Wednesday, I began a journey. There's a Lenten calendar that I think the archdiocese put out, and it urges: Return to yourself. Words are almost invariably set within a context, so those words are certainly loaded, but they are also true. We set aside the trappings and the peripherals and go to the bare desert. As some put it, we revisit the innocence of our baptism. And I start with the ashes: reminding me that I came from dust, and to dust I shall return one day.
Is that it?
In the depths of my heart, I already know the answer: no, that is not all there is. While true, there is more to me than dust, and I did not emerge from dust on my own, nor by accident.
Then earlier today, Thursday, yet another truth is revealed: I set before you life or death, blessing or curse (Dt 30:15-20) -- choices. Life is about choices. But if I am but dust, then what is the point of making choices? Aha! I know instinctively that choices do matter, usually the difficult ones: they usually reflect a significant goal. ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me' (Lk 9:22-25).