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"Dust you are and unto dust you shall return": This is God's "invitation to penance, humility, and an awareness of our mortal state. We are not to despair, but to welcome in this mortal state of ours the unthinkable nearness of God who opens the way to Resurrection, to paradise regained, beyond death", said Pope Benedict in his homily at Mass on Ash Wednesday, in the Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine. Benedict XVI explained, "this announces a just punishment, but also the way to salvation which passes through the earth, through dust ", that same dust, that same flesh which will be assumed by the Word Incarnate." Before the Mass Benedict XVI presided over the penitential procession which starte ...