"You are dust, and to dust you shall return." -Genesis 3:19
These are the words every Catholic hears on Ash Wednesday as we receive the sign of the cross on our foreheads. Think about this: if we are dust, and God loves us, then it follows that God sent Christ to die for the love of dust.
What is dust? Flakes of dead skin, molecules of dirt, lint and fluff. Nothing much to look at, and usually not welcomed. We buy vacuums and dust clothes and feather dusters to get rid of the stuff. Just a nuisance, a pest, a plague on our daily existence. Another chore on a long list of chores, always accumulating where we least expect it and least want it.
So humble, the little dust speck. So small, so fragile, so easily pushed this way or that by the least little breeze. Hard to believe, but this stuff can be dangerous. Gather enough of it together and it can choke off fans, kill computers, damage hardware, and make our lives miserable. I can see that Lucifer, while still an angel of light, must have furrowed his brow in disgust when God chose dust to be the element of man's construction. This is the stuff that God loves? This is what God chose to use to fashion human life?
Yes, dust. We are dust. God chose to become dust for the love of dust, and then He allowed Himself to be killed by that same dust so that He could build a bridge that would carry them to Him. How much He loves us, His little dust particles. How much He is willing to do, and all for the love of dust.
When I am tempted to think too highly of myself, to take myself too seriously, to look down on others, I will remind myself that I am nothing more than a speck of dust. God’s dust, perhaps, but just dust regardless. When I am tempted to complain because life seems to be sweeping me along and I’m caught up in one air eddy after another, I will remember that perhaps I have stayed too long where I am at and the place I am resting is being smothered because of it. When I feel overwhelmed because my enemies are so many and my friends so few, I will remind myself that dust can go places even cockroaches cannot. There is power in being dust.
Today, I will wear ashes in reminder that I am dust and to dust I will return. I have no fear of being dust. I know how much God loves dust.