Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

By Mike Punzal

On February 22, the universal Church celebrates once again, Ash Wednesday.

We think that Ash Wednesday is more about death than life as we are reminded of Jesus’s suffering and death. But If we take a closer look, though, we find that the message of Ash Wednesday has far more to do with life than with death. It’s much more about what it means to be human—on this side of death’s door, not only beyond. Being human means being both blessed and broken, and Ash Wednesday is a special invitation to look at our own brokenness in a way that can bring healing, strength, and courage.

Of course, brokenness is never the goal, even if we can encounter God through the process. We don’t set out to come up short, make mistakes, or feel “less than.” But we often do, a reality that is one mysterious thread within the intricate tapestry of human life. We have another word for this kind of brokenness, one that captures our essence as incomplete all on our own. That word is vulnerable.

Vulnerability has become something of a buzzword in recent years. A simple online search of the word turns up countless videos, articles, and book titles. But what does it really mean? To be vulnerable is to be exposed, to be open. Being vulnerable means that the parts of ourselves that are not strong and beautiful are visible to others. Let us embrace our vulnerability and be humble to seek God’s grace.

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