"Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return."
These words, spoken on Ash Wednesday as the priest smudges your forehead with ashes in the shape of the cross, are pretty sobering. In the Christian tradition, they mark the beginning of Lent, a 40-day season of reflection and self-examination.
Why begin with this grim reality? The words remind us that life is fleeting. That we have a limited amount of time to do right by God and our neighbor.