The Ashes! They Burnses!

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So this story flitted across my feed today: Ashes Burned and Blistered Parishioner’s Foreheads On Ash Wednesday, parishioners of Saint Joseph’s church in Newtownshandrum, Co Cork received their cross ashes on their forehead as many Catholics around the world did, but something different happened at St. Joseph’s. The parishioner’s foreheads began to burn and blistered [Read More...]

The Daily Capybara, And a Bit of Legend

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The capybara is my favorite animal, and not merely because they’re the only red meat you can eat on days of Lenten fast. Well, that’s the legend at least. Supposedly, when the missionaries encountered the capybara in South America, they weren’t sure if it qualified as a mammal or a fish. It has webbed feet [Read More...]

Electronic Resources for Lent

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I’m rediscovering today just how incredible a single piece of wheat toast can taste when you’re fasting. This effect is not incidental to the practice.  In the meantime, I just want to point you to a few electronic resources for making your Lent more holy: Verbum Bible Software is offering a free copy of Lenten Grace: [Read More...]

A Middle English Poem About the Assumption

As a footnote to my posts about the last days of Mary, here’s a lovely little Middle English poem about the Assumption. It’s a pretty easy read, but I translated it anyway to clarify a couple of obscure words. Crist sayde to hur: “Com, my swete, com, my flour, Com, my culver, myn owne boure, Com, [Read More...]

The Dirty Little Secret About Ellen’s Oscar Selfie

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You know, this one: It was a wacky, seemingly spontaneous moment in which Ellen and a bunch of stars took a selfie, and then she urged people to make it the most retweeted photo ever. And they did! I think it got almost 3 million retweets. That’s the only reason I even know about: it [Read More...]

When WH Auden Helped Dorothy Day

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Edward Mendelson, WH Auden’s executor, offers this anecdote in his article “The Secret Auden”: At times, he went out of his way to seem selfish while doing something selfless. When NBC Television was producing a broadcast of The Magic Flute for which Auden, together with Chester Kallman, had translated the libretto, he stormed into the producer’s [Read More...]

What Happened to the Virgin Mary After Pentecost? (Part 2)

St. Luke Painting the Virgin Mary, 1602, Marten de Vos

In Part One, I retold the major tradition associated with the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This tradition is attributed to various sources depending upon where the writer first encountered it. The most widespread version was that told (twice) by Jacobus de Voragine in the Golden Legend. This lengthy chapter in the Legend shows various signs [Read More...]

What Happened to the Virgin Mary After Pentecost? (Part 1)

Assume, 15th century, Sano di Pietro

What do we really know about the life of Mary beyond what the Bible tells us? Scripture gives us only glimpses of the Blessed Mother before she vanishes from history, only to reappear in the Book of Revelation as the “woman clothed in the sun” (Revelation 12:1-6). We have the last words she speaks, resonating [Read More...]

7 Quick Takes: Personal Edition

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Regular readers know that I’m not really a confessional blogger. I don’t talk about my personal life or use this is space as a kind of public diary. So, in the interest of slightly correcting that, I’m using Jen’s 7 Quick Takes format to share 7 things about me, personally. –1– During the period when [Read More...]

Someone Finally Finds a Good Use for “The Message”

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Stopping a bullet: Rickey Wagoner told police in Dayton, Ohio, that he was repairing an electrical fault in his bus early yesterday morning when unknown attackers approached him and shot him three times. One bullet struck the 49-year-old’s right leg and the other two hit him in chest, reports the Dayton Daily News. Sgt. Michael [Read More...]