Didn’t realize Ash Wednesday was this close, and suddenly this college freshman isn’t at a Catholic school anymore…
The school I go to is mostly protestant, and I can’t imagine that nobody’s going to ask why my forehead is dirty. My protestant friends usually ask this sort of thing in an honestly curious way, no hostility.
So I need a 10-second summary of Ash Wednesday. I’ve got an idea - if you could check it for (a) theological correctness and (b) getting all the important points and © not throwing in anything unimportant - that’d be great.
Why do you have dirt on your forehead? Today’s Ash Wednesday, it’s the beginning of Lent, which is our season of penance. When the priest puts the ashes on, they’re supposed to be in the form of a cross, but usually they come out looking like a smudge. He says “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” which is right out of Genesis 3:19, after the fall when God is throwing Adam and Eve out of the garden. It’s a reminder that (a) we’re sinners, (b) we ought to do better and © that Jesus came to save us and he’s pretty much awesome for that. I think it’s also reminiscent of the sack cloth and ashes in the OT.