We start Lent humbly, close to the ground, close to our earthiness: “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return”. But the ashes are not just to commemorate the transience of creation. These ashes used this Wednesday are the residue of the palms of last year's Palm Sunday of the Passion. Jesus died and was buried in the tomb, the place of decay and the place of dust. Yet he rose from the dust to new life. Our ultimate destiny is not dust and ashes but sharing in the Lord's risen, becoming conformed to the image of Christ.

As we journey towards that destiny we hear the call to grow more fully into the image of God's Son, which is a call to turn away from sin, to repent. The ashes are a sign of our desire to do just that. The traditional practices of Lent that we would hear about in the gospels  put before us the essentials for growth into the image of God's Son. These are signs of love: a greater love of God (prayer), a more generous love of neighbour (alms giving), and a true love of ourselves (fasting). Wishing you a fruitful Lent.



All are invited to pray the Stations of the Cross followed by a reconciliation service with individual confessions, taking place in the Cathedral on Friday 23 February from 6pm to 7.30pm.