Suit your practice to your nature; Church Fathers: Day 117

Not everyone can fast heroically, says St. John Cassian. We need to take our own constitutions into account. The object of fasting is not the fast itself, but its effect: to keep gluttony from turning our minds away from what’s really important. No single rule can easily be set down for how we should fast, because not everybody has the same strength; nor is it like the rest of the virtues, acquired by steadfastness of mind alone. And therefore, because… Read more

Learn good habits during Lent; Church Fathers: Day 116

The Church requires every Christian to fast during Lent. We should take this opportunity, says St. Gregory the Great, to build up good habits of detachment that we can keep up all through the year. As the Easter festival approaches, we keep the greatest and most bind­ing fast. The observation of it is imposed on all the faithful without exception. No one is so holy that he ought not to be holier, or so devout that he might not be… Read more

From Radical Feminist to the Catholic Church

Review by Julie Abel I recently attended the Maryland Catholic Women’s Conference at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD.  One of the two main speakers, Sr. Helena Burns, told her story of how she went from being a radical feminist to being a religious.  Her story was fascinating and I know a radical feminist or two, so I stopped at her book table during the lunch break and asked her what could I suggest my radical feminist friend read… Read more

Be like steel, not like wax; Church Fathers: Day 115

St. John Cassian remembers the wise comparison of the abbot Theodore. Your mind, he says, should be like the steel that stamps, not the wax that is stamped. The mind of the upright man ought not to be like wax, or any other soft material, which always yields to the shape of what presses on it, and is stamped with its form and impress and keeps it until it takes another shape by having an­other seal stamped upon it; and… Read more

Love virtue for its own sake; Church Fathers: Day 114

The Syrian abbot Chaeremon, as St. John Cassian remembers, explained that it’s far better to avoid sin from love of virtue than from fear of punishment. The one who loves virtue is constant; the one who fears punishment goes back to sin as soon as the fear is removed. There is a great difference between one who puts out the inner fire of sin by fear of hell or hope of future reward, and one who from the feeling of… Read more

Time to loosen some knots

Do you find yourself struggling in life? Do the problems you encounter at work and home seem almost insurmountable to you? Do you find it hard to believe that there is any way to untangle the mess around you? Greg Willits comes to the rescue with his new book Tied in Knots: Finding Peace in Today’s World. By sharing the experiences in his own life, Greg shows that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel no matter… Read more

Trust God to bring good even from the wicked; Church Fathers: Day 113

The devil stirs up heretics to attack the Church, says St. Augustine, but God turns those attacks into good. When we Christians are attacked, we have the opportunity to exercise our Christian virtue. But the devil, seeing that the temples of the demons are deserted, and humanity is running to the name of the liberating Mediator, has incited the her­etics to resist the Christian teaching while keeping the Christian name. Even so, by their wickedness they benefit the true Catholic… Read more

Never despair of God’s help; Church Fathers: Day 112

When barbarians sacked Rome in the year 410, some pagans argued that the Christian God had been no help to his followers. St. Augustine says that no one can take a Christian anyplace where God’s help won’t follow. But (they say) many Christians were even taken away as captives. Yes, this would certainly be a pitiable fate, if they could be taken away to some place where they could not find their God. But sacred Scripture gives us great consolation… Read more

Off the Shelf 046 with Greg Willits – Tied in Knots

Greg Willits is the editorial director for Our Sunday Visitor and the author of The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid. With his wife, Jennifer, he founded the New Evangelizers and Rosary Army apostolates, authored The Catholics Next Door: Adventures in Imperfect Living, and hosted “The Catholics Next Door” daily talk show on SiriusXM. In addition to raising their five children, Greg and Jennifer also produce the weekly “Adventures in Imperfect Living” podcast at Find yourself for of… Read more

Remember that God controls your destiny; Church Fathers: Day 111

A correspondent had asked Theodoret an interesting hypothetical question. Theodoret’s answer quotes Jesus’ advice to persecuted Christians: do what’s reasonable to preserve your own life. Suicide is never an option because your fate belongs to God. You bring up the case of an unrighteous judge who gives two cham­pions of piety a choice: either sacrifice to the demons, or fling yourself into the sea. One chooses the latter and plunges into the deep with no hesitation, but the other, refusing… Read more

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