It is an astounding how many come for ashes on Ash Wednesday.  They remind us of our mortality and call us to repentance and a desire for transformation.  It’s good for us to reflect on that call  during this Lenten Season but I am also reminded of the beautiful quote by Carl Sagan in his book Cosmos:  The Nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars.  We are made of stardust.  We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands.  The cosmos is within us.  We are a way for the universe to know itself.  So, whenever I receive ashes I also remember my connection to this beautiful self-creating universe that God has given us and our oneness with all.  My hope is that my lenten journey will be a heart renewed enough to remember my responsibility to care for others and for the earth and to thank our magnificent Creator for all that is.