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ASH WEDNESDAY by Philip Quirke

Time presses humus to turf, turf to coal,

and coal to diamonds.

In the furnace of the galaxies the elements were forged.

Earth formed from the dust is graced with these elements.

Out of the earth, its clay and dust we emerged.

Our glory arises from the humility of dust.

‘Remember that you are dust, and to dust return’

is our dispensation from the beginning.

Our return will be to God’s earth,

to be held in God’s compassionate embrace.

We are but dust, but dust divine,

who pray, fast, and give charity,

and in God’s time we will be pressed

into indestructible diamonds.

This is the ineffable Grace which is given to us.

This is the good news we are called to receive

when we hear the Lenten invitation:

‘Repent, and believe in the Gospel’.

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