Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday

When we read the liturgy for Ash Wednesday, Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return, I am reminded of how quickly our life goes by.

Psalm 103:13-16 reminds us that our life is as quick as a flower's existence:
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.

As I move through the day, I wonder how one can be selfless and free from the wrong. Words and actions come so quickly that would be better left undone. I need to remind myself that I only have so many days and I need to use them wisely. While I like the thought of the poem below, it seems so pious and unattainable. I much more enjoy Mary Oliver's poem, The Summer Day. Her last line should be the focus for us all:  Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Just For Today

Lord, for tomorrow and its needs
   I do not pray:
Keep me, my God, from stain of sin
   Just for today.

Let me both diligently work
   And duly pray,
Let me be kind in word and deed
   Just for today.

Let me be slow to do my will,
   Prompt to obey,
Help me to mortify my flesh
   Just for today.

Let me no wrong or idle word
   Unthinking say:
Set Thou a seal upon my lips
   Just for today.

Let me in season, Lord, be grave,
   In season gay,
Let me be faithful to Thy grace,
   Just for today.

And if today my tide of life
   Should ebb away,
Give me Thy sacraments divine,
   Sweet Lord, today.

So for tomorrow and its needs
   I do not pray:
But keep me, guide me, love me, Lord,
   Just for today.

~Samuel Wilberforce

Woods, Ralph L. A Treasurey of the Familiar
New York: Grolier Incorporated, 1942. Print.

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