Is there another significance to the ashes?
Yes. They also symbolize death and so remind us of our mortality. Thus when the priest uses his thumb to sign one of the faithful with the ashes, he says, "Remember, that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return," which is modeled after God's address to Adam (Gen 3:19; Job 34:15; Ps 90:3; Ps 104:29, Ecc 3:20). This also echoes the words at a burial, "Ashes to ashes; dust to dust," which is based on God's words to Adam and Abraham's confession, "I am nothing but dust and ashes" (Gen 18:27). It is thus a reminder of our mortality and our need to repent before this life is over and we face our Creator.
Next: Where do the ashes used on Ash Wednesday come from?
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