The Choices We Make Determine Who We Are

Drawing by St. John of the Cross

This morning I was reading St. John of the Cross, and came across this passage.An act of virtue produces and fosters in the soul mildness, peace, comfort, light, purity, and strength, just as an inordinate appetite brings about torment, fatigue, weariness, blindness, and weakness. Through the practice of one virtue all the virtues grow, and similarly, through an increase of one vice, all the vices and their effects grow.—John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, I.10.5 from The C … [Read more...]

A Celtic Lenten Story

Once, St. Brigit and two of her sister nuns were travelling during Lent, and it so happened that they were offered hospitality by a pagan chieftain whose land they were passing through. They gathered at the chieftain's house, only to be surprised by a dinner including pork. The two sisters immediately protested, explaining that their Lenten fast prohibited them from eating any type of meat. At that, Brigit stood up, grabbed each of her sisters, and roughly threw them out of the house. She … [Read more...]

Christmas Every Day, Easter Every Day

When I was a teenager I used to attend the Fisherman's House charismatic prayer and praise meeting in Hampton, VA. This was a non-denominational, neo-pentecostal Christian youth group, evangelical in its theology. On the meeting just before Christmas, the leader of the group commented that "we don't particularly observe Christmas, because any day can be the day when Christ is born in someone's heart."That observation has always stuck with me. And even though I love the liturgical year and am … [Read more...]

Bono: “Lent is upon us…”

That incorrigible Irish rocker Bono has just written a guest Op-Ed column in the New York Times. And he dares to proclaim that "Lent is upon us whether we asked for it or not."But wait a minute? Isn't it Eastertide? Even the Orthodox Churches have celebrated Pascha! Where is Bono coming from, declaring Lent in the middle of April?Oh, I get it... Bono is one of those pesky Christians who thinks there is no separation between spirituality and the rest of life. And he's daring to suggest that … [Read more...]

A fistful of dirt

Here's a wonderful story recounted by John Shea in Daybreak: Daily Reflections for Lent and Easter: There was an old Celt who loved his wife, his children, his friends, and his jar. But most of all he loved the land he trod and fought for food. So when his time came, his sons carried him from the stone cottage and laid him on the stone earth. He clenched a fistful of Ireland and was gone.When he arrived at the gates that only swing in, God appeared in the long robes of judgment. He noticed the … [Read more...]

A Joyful Lent

To all my readers and friends, I hope that you will join me in seeking to keep a joyful and holy Lent. Lent is an invitation to embrace simplicity, silence, and prayer. If you are a person of faith in Christ, may this be a time in which you more fully enter into union with him. If you do not consider yourself a Christian, I hope you will join me and all other people of goodwill in praying for peace in the world and in our hearts, and especially for peace between those who are divided by … [Read more...]


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