Out of the Ashes

One of my favorite images for Lent comes originally not from the Catholic Tradition but from ancient Greek mythology: that of the Phoenix. Here is a creature, beautiful and full of potential, who cyclically must die to itself to be regenerated, reborn. In a burst of flame it is cast in a heap of ashes, and from the ashes emerges as a new bird, ready for the life that awaits it. Like this creature, we too are beautiful and full of potential. Yet, to have the fullness of life, we must die to ourselves so as purging those things that we have allowed to corrupt us, that take us away from God. On Ash Wednesday, we are plunged into the ashes. For a period of 40 days, we recommit ourselves, through fasting, alms-giving, and prayer, to God. We trust in his mercy, forgiveness, and powerful grace to cleanse and remake us, so that we may emerge from the ashes on Easter, reborn, full of new life. God beckons us to him, invites us into this period of ashes. How will we respond? This Lent, how will we emerge from the ashes?