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By Fr. Mark Thibodeaux, SJ

This prayer, along with other Ignatian prayers, poems, reflections and art, first appeared in our free e-book, “Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: Through the Year with Ignatian Spirituality.” Sign up to receive it at

Dear God,

As we begin our Lenten journey, ashes are smeared on our foreheads, and we hear the words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

St. Ignatius of Loyola calls us to the grace of the First Week of the Spiritual Exercises — to remember that we are not the people that you created us to be. We need you, God, to rescue us and return us to Eden. We return to dust so that, as you breathed life into the dirt that became Adam and Eve, so you will do again with us.

We remember that we are dust, Lord. But we also remember that we are stardust — carbon dust from which all life in the universe comes. Breathe new life into our dusty souls, Lord. With your strong but gentle hands, lift us up from the ashes. Then we shall be recreated. And you will renew the face of the Earth.


Fr. Mark Thibodeaux, SJFr. Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ, is the author of “Ascending with Ignatius” and many other titles.