Today at noon I went to a local Roman Catholic Church for an Ash Wednesday Prayer Service. It was short, solemn, and thought-provoking.
The Priest explained the journey of Lent as something that began during Advent -- when we prepared and learned how valuable God thinks we are. After Christmas, we spent eight weeks responding to that knowledge by hearing God's call to discipleship. And now that we've responded to the call, saying, "Here I am, Lord", God gives us Lent: "Come into the desert with me."
He likened it to the Hindu expression of "Renounce and Enjoy," explaining that during Lent, we give up the things that keep us from living our lives as disciples of the Christ and then go on a journey of preparing for the celebration of Jesus' resurrection.
I'm good with that.
I had ashes placed on my forehead too.