"You, my dear human being, are not God. You, busy person, are not immortal. You, who can do so much and command so many, will go back to the dust. Thank God.
While human mortality can be stunningly difficult to accept, especially the mortality of those we love, it is a blessing.
We, frail creatures, are not all powerful; we're not even very powerful. We're really rather fragile, helpless. Without one another, we would very quickly wither away. Without God, we would simply cease to be.
Ash Wednesday, and Lent, is perhaps God's best way of telling us to set down the world.
Set it down, and let someone infinitely more qualified carry it instead."
This second extract is from " In Shades of Death: The Lenten Journey," from here, and has some powerful reminders of what "raw vulnerability" Jesus was exposed to in the wilderness.
"Jesus’ pilgrimage began in exile.This wandering after God is a paradoxical sort of thing. We know oh so well these places of vulnerability that Jesus experienced in the wilderness.
And we think that setting off on our own pilgrimage will bring us new life. Somehow, if we leave behind all we know and wander after God, we will be transformed, renewed, and invigorated. This is all true.
But we sometimes forget (or more likely deny) an essential part of the journey that Christ participated fully in: death. In order for that transformation, renewal, and invigoration that we long for to be realized, something must die.".....