This year we can focus on Lent and our relationship with our Guardian Angel.
On Ash Wednesday, if we go to a church service, we receive ashes on our foreheads to remind us of Genesis 3:19: “For dust you are and to dust you shall return.”
Lent is a Most Misunderstood and Misleading Practice.
Many say that the dust is simply maya, and that the element of soul and spirit is the only reality. Others think that soul and spirit are ideology and dust is the only reality. Close examination of these statements, often made by religious leaders, reveals that they agree with both these statements. In essence they say, we are only dust and we should place more value on the spirit. The truth of the matter is that we are spiritual beings and we need the dust, then we need to divest ourselves of the dust through our cycles of incarnation.
What theology doesn’t explain is that the human being has a physical form that can only be seen when it has dust on it. When we take into ourselves the food formed from the earth (dust) we become physically visible. At death, this form divests itself of the dust and continues on its journey. Rudolf Steiner explains this process by describing the cake baking process. “The cake acquires the shape of the tin but the cake does not take the cake tin into itself.”
These are ideas that can assist us on Ash Wednesday and prepare us for the journey through Lent until Easter. We don’t have to fast or abstain from chocolate during this time. We can commit to thinking about these ideas and applying them to our life so that we understand who we are as human beings on this earth. At every moment of the day, our human form fights the natural dissolution imposed on it by the ‘dust’. This battle ends when we die. While we live, we use the dust to reach a greater understanding of who we actually are in the scheme of things.
“If you think of the natural world and take stock of everything that physics, chemistry, physiology, biology and so on have to say about it, and then think of the life of a human being between birth and death, you will have to admit that this life is in constant battle against the realm governed by those natural laws. It is precisely because the human organization does not want to have anything to do with these natural laws and fights them that between birth and death we can be human.” Rudolf Steiner July 17, 1921
Take the journey through Lent, week by week, by focusing on these spiritual ideas.
Art: Assumption of the Virgin by Francesco Botticini