This apparently is a true story from Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble’s blog, Pursued by Truth about a priest who was robbed on the subway on Ash Wednesday. It’s really very funny, and the good Sister has a nice Lenten reflection on it.
A Jesuit priest who used to say Mass at our convent was on the subway making his way to visit his mother on Ash Wednesday.
At one stop a young man entered the subway car and told the priest to hand over his wallet. When the priest explained that he did not have a wallet with him, the young man made him empty his pockets.
The priest pulled out his train pass, some change, and a little silver box. The young man demanded to know what was inside the box.
The priest said, “Well, I am a Catholic and it is Ash Wednesday so I am bringing some blessed ashes to someone who is sick.”
The young man responded, “Oh, I am Catholic, can I have some ashes?”
So the priest opened the little box, said the prayer and traced the cross on the man’s forehead.
The young man left at the next stop.
Read Sister Theresa’s little homily on how we all feel like this thief, here.