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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

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My first Ash Wednesday as a Catholic: noon mass at Our Saviour, absolutely packed; people jammed into the narthex, spilling out the door. The line for imposing ashes stretching around the corner and halfway down 38th Street. Gratifying, this blessed company of all faithful people.

(But such a long way to go.)
And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

--T. S. Eliot

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