Religion: Faith for a Lenten Age

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It was Lent. On Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, a woman and a little girl were stopped by the traffic at a cross street. On the opposite curb stood a young man with an Ash Wednesday mark on his forehead. "Look," said the little girl. "Mustn't point," said the woman. "But mother," asked the little girl, "why has he got that black mark on his forehead?" "Hush," said her mother. "It's something they do in church, I think."

With prayer, with humility of spirit tempering his temerity of mind, man has always sought to define...