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Hope from ashes

Hope can rise from ashes

We step into another lenten journey (from cross to resurrection) in appreciation of the opportunity it offers to simply and hopefully reconnect to that deepest knowing of what resurrection actually means and how it is, and can continue to express itself in every encounter of our lives.

Christian joy flows from listening to, and accepting, the Good News of the death and resurrection of Jesus. This kerygma sums up the mystery of a love “so real, so true, so concrete, that it invites us to a relationship of openness and fruitful dialogue” (Christus Vivit, 117). Whoever believes this message rejects the lie that our life is ours to do with as we will. Rather, life is born of the love of God our Father, from his desire to grant us life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10).  ~ Pope Francis (from his Message for Lent, 2020).

This poem by Malcolm Guite expresses the inter-connectedness of our lives as ‘sowers of hope’.

Ash Wednesday 

Receive this cross of ash upon your brow,
Brought from the burning of Palm Sunday’s cross.
The forests of the world are burning now
And you make late repentance for the loss.
But all the trees of God would clap their hands
The very stones themselves would shout and sing
If you could covenant to love these lands
And recognise in Christ their Lord and king.

He sees the slow destruction of those trees,
He weeps to see the ancient places burn,
And still you make what purchases you please,
And still to dust and ashes you return.
But Hope could rise from ashes even now
Beginning with this sign upon your brow.

by Malcolm Guite

As Malcolm wrote (in an introduction to the writing of this sonnet 10 years ago:

“As I set about the traditional task of burning the remnants of last Palm Sunday’s palm crosses in order to make the ash which would bless and sign our repentance on Ash Wednesday, I was suddenly struck by the way both the fire and the ash were signs not only of our personal mortality and our need for repentance and renewal but also signs of the wider destruction our sinfulness inflicts upon God’s world and on our fellow creatures, on the whole web of life into which God has woven us and for which He also cares”.

See link to full text of  Lenten Message from Pope Francis, 2020

Note: See Blog Link sharing Malcolm’s full introduction to this poem the initial few lines of which were written ten years ago  HERE

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