Ash Wednesday

The Man of Sorrows by William Dyce

As, when upon His drooping head
His Father’s light was pour’d from heaven,
What time, unsheltered and unfed,
Far in the wild His steps were driven,
High thoughts were with Him in that hour
Untold, unspeakable on earth.

When William Dyce’s painting, The Man of Sorrows, was exhibited in 1860, those words were inscribed around the frame, taken from the poem Ash Wednesday written by his friend John Keble.

Another excerpt from the poem reads:

Thus oft the mourner’s wayward heart
Tempts him to hide his grief and die,
Too feeble for Confession’s smart,
Too proud to bear a pitying eye;
How sweet, in that dark hour, to fall
On bosoms waiting to receive
Our sighs, and gently whisper all!
They love us–will not God forgive?

The greatest way to begin our Lenten journey is to make ourselves vulnerable before God, not hiding our sins or our failings (He already knows what they are anyway) but bringing them to Him in confession.  Then we can feel that sweetness of which the poet speaks.  When we pour out our broken hearts before God, He, in return, pours into them the healing balm of forgiveness, mercy and grace.

One thought on “Ash Wednesday

  1. What a beautiful post. The artwork is especially touching. Since I’ve only recently returned to the Church, your words are particularly encouraging. My education in the arts and literature is sorely lacking, and I’m not at all familiar with Dyce or Keble, but this has prompted me to begin research. Thank you for the educational, as well as spiritual inspiration. I know this Lenten season will be a very meaningful one for me! Doreen

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