Today we begin the season of Lent by receiving ashes to remind us that we are dust and "we shall return to dust" as the blessing prayer over the ashes reminds us. In receiving the ashes we are told "Repent, and believe in the Gospel." We begin Lent in humility remembering that we are dust, but as Cthrine de Hueck Doherty pointed out in her "Season of Mercy: Lent and Easter:"
"You are dust that is going to be one with God. Isn't that enough to make you dance right into the middle of this ash business? We are not ordinary dust-- we are dust that is going to be eternal, a dust that is going to be glorified, a dust that is going to be with God. So let us prepare ourselves to receive that "dust" with joy-- a joy based on discipline -- and let us enter the corridor of Lent."
Here is a quote from Pope Francis yesterday in his text to prepare World Youth Day:
"First of all, we need to appreciate the biblical meaning of the word heart. In Hebrew thought, the heart is the centre of the emotions, thoughts and intentions of the human person. Since the Bible teaches us that God does not look to appearances, but to the heart (cf. 1 Sam 16:7), we can also say that it is from the heart that we see God. This is because the heart is really the human being in his or her totality as a unity of body and soul, in his or her ability to love and to be loved.
The Pope is speaking to them about happiness that is found in the pure of heart. More from this text later, but I think Lent is a special time to turn to Christ and be happy because we make more effort to live the Beatitudes!