faith in action

Remember who you are

As ashes are imprinted on Christians' foreheads around the world today, we will be reminded, "You are dust, and to dust you will return."

Remember, you are dust, and to dust you will return.

It is said that in the days of the Roman Empire, following a military victory, chariots paraded the victorious through the city. A crown was held over the victor’s head while another person repeatedly whispered in the victor’s ear, “Remember, you are mortal.”

Just as the victorious Romans needed to be reminded of their mortality, we too need to be reminded of our place. We are made from the same stuff as the earth, and to the dust we will return.

Remember who you are.

Remembering what we are is as essential as remembering whose we are.

My mother would often say to me as I was going out with friends, “Remember who you are.” When she said it, she meant that I was to remember to whom I belong. It indicated that I, as a member of the Henry family, was expected to live in the world in a particular way.

We tell the truth. We are responsible for being back when we say we will. We do not disrespect our parents by creating worry, sleeplessness or embarrassment.

Remember who you are.

We forget who and what we are far too frequently.

Remember you are mortal. You will not live in this world forever. You are dust, and to dust you will return. And remember to whom you belong. You are a child of God.

Lent invites us to reflect on who we are and to whom we belong. Lent also gives us the chance to repent of the times when we have forgotten our mortality: When our victory laps have clouded our vision; when we have denied that we belong to God; and when we have denied that others belong to God.

What spiritual practices will you engage in this Lent to remember what and whose you are?