From The Ashheap by Father Anthony Giambrone

“When we hear the name Cinderella, usually we imagine the lovely princess. One should also recall the dirty maiden smudged with cinders (Aschenputtel in the Brothers Grimm). Although she was always beautiful, the grime on her face hid that dignity from sight.


Like many fairy tales, this tale tells a Christian message. The Catholic Church envisions us … like Cinderella. Underneath we shine with regal beauty, but overtop we bear the soot of sin. That is not the end however. A ‘happily ever after’ also comes.

Scripture says, From the ashheap he raises the poor.


Today the Church reminds us that we’ve fallen, and we walk the streets like so many chimney sweeps. But as we’re blotched black with ashes and told that to ash we will return, we also confess something deeper in us than dust. We are crafted in God’s Image, a royal people all his own. Before this black cross ever signed our head, the sacred chrism of baptism marked the spot.

This Lent, may we recover our royal baptismal beauty, by uncovering our souls from the stain of sin we wear.”

Heavenly Father, wash away my transgressions. Through the grace of this season may the glory of your Image shine more perfectly through my flesh. Amen.

Father Anthony Giambrone, O.P., is a Dominican priest of the Province of Saint Joseph, and a doctoral student in Sacred Scripture at the University of Notre Dame.

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