Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

A day of turning, a day of ashes...

Today was Eleanor's last El Salvador day as a long-term resident (I'm surely planning on her being back for next year's medical mission), and it felt completely appropriate that it is also Ash Wednesday, when we're asked to turn from sin and turn toward God's companionship.

We went to Mass at the Chapel of the UCA, University of Central America, the Chapel that memorializes the martyred Jesuits - and the 20th anniversary of their martyrdom is this year. Padre Dean Brackley gave a fine homily - especially fine for me, as I understood almost every word - in which he asked us all to accept this opportunity for new life and to lay down some of the things (like television, perhaps) that get in the way of God's companionship.

We were dramatically marked with ashes and came home to an omelet and the last bits of packing and the opportunity for new life that's right here to hand for Eleanor and for me.

Here's what T.S, Eliot has to say about this new life that keeps dancing in us (from Ash Wednesday):

This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

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