teh_elb's posting of Ash Wednesday made me look back through my LJ to a post I made a few years ago. Since today I have been sadly lacking spiritual vim, preoccupied instead with mundane thoughts (marking; job applications), this will do in lieu of new writing!
Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree
In the cool of the day, having fed to sateity
On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been contained
In the hollow round of my skull. And God said
Shall these bones live? shall these
Ash Wednesday. A day of penance. And oh, what things we have to make penance for! At mass, just before communion - which, for those unfamiliar with Catholic rites, is what makes the mass; there is no mass without communion - we say Lord, I am not worthy to receive you; but only say the word and I shall be healed. I have said them time without memory, sometimes by rote, sometimes with my forehead pressed into my knuckles, knowing no obesiance is deep enough, but still that all can be forgiven. For there is nothing that cannot be forgiven; no sin so great that God cannot take it from us. That is not to say we are left as blank slates; sin changes us, and if we believe we are but wax to be shaped we can easily form ourselves into moulds that are unworthy of us. If we do not remember, we will sin again. And even when we do remember, we still sin. The same trite and dull sins again and again, so often that after a while we forget we are doing wrong. Sometimes we must let the yew be shaken and reply. Ash Wednesday is here to shake us out of our complacency. To let our hearts open up and to call out into the wilderness. It is frightening, because out there is the desert and the wind and the pain that comes with faith, and with hope. It is sometimes more comfortable to sit in the shadows of our own errors. I should know; I do it often. But instead we should try - I should try - to call out, not just murmur along with those bleached bones.
Let my cry come unto Thee.