...and unto dust thou shalt return
The ascent of the Easter mount is the by far the most serious and difficult climb the Christian will find in the liturgical year. This is in keeping with the fact that Easter is the high point of the entire year, the pivot on which our holy faith depends; for the resurrection of Christ was the greatest of His miracles and most strongly substantiated His claim that He was the Son of God. As St. Paul said, “if Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith also vain” (1 Cor. 15:14). More than anything else, the resurrection clearly and conclusively demonstrates that the dead Christ on the cross on Good Friday was God, and thus corroborated all His teachings as to the redemption of mankind and the institution of the one true Church. \ — Rev. Bernard Strasser, O.S.B., With Christ Through the Year
After tonight we part ways with the sensual, pagan world for awhile. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. We follow Christ into the desert for 40 days, fasting and praying with Him, spending Passiontide in preparation for the great feast of Easter. This is a time of thought and reflection, prayer and almsgiving, penitence and patience. At the far end of this journey lies the Upper Room, the Cross, and further still, the empty tomb.
In the special way particular to this season, we will enter most deeply into the Paschal mysteries, recapitulating the entire history of salvation. We will follow the Master on the road to Jerusalem, welcome him as the Messiah, and then join the crowd to call for his death. There is a place for us to stand at every step along the way.