"When we hear the name Cinderella, usually we imagine the lovely princess. One should also recall the dirty maiden smudged with cinders (Aschenputtel in the Brothers Grimm). Although she was always beautiful, the grime on her face hid that dignity from sight.
"Like many other fairy talks, this tale tells a Christian message. Martin Luther famously imagined the Christian as a rank pile of dung blanketed with snow. The Catholic Church envisions us more like Cinderella. Underneath we shine with regal beauty, but overtop we bear the soot of sin. That is not the end, however. A 'happily ever after' also comes. Scripture says, From the ash heap he raises the poor. [Psalm 113:7]
"[On Ash Wednesday] the Church reminds us that we've fallen, and we walk the streets like so many chimney sweeps. But as we're blotched black with ashes and told that to ash we will return, we also confess something deeper in us than dust. We are crafted in God's Image, a royal people all his own. Before this black cross ever signed our head, the sacred chrism of baptism marked the spot.
"Above the baptismal font in the Hagai Sophia a Greek palindrome was inscribed: 'Wash the sins, not only the face.' This Lent, may we recover our royal baptismal beauty, by uncovering our souls from the stain of sin we wears."
~Father Anthony Giambrone, O.P.
I thank you who wonderfully made me;
how wonderful are your works,
which my soul knows well!