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...]

CRS Rice Bowl [App o the Mornin']

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Remember getting your little cardstock rice bowls each year at CCD class, folding them into shape, and dropping in change to support Operation Rice Bowl? You can still do that (and you should) but you can also bring the practice into the 21st century with Catholic Relief Service’s Rice Bowl app (iPhone/Android: free). CRS has [Read More...]

All Depart In Silence

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Last night was the most striking moment in the Church year for me: the sanctuary lit only by candles, the priest processing with humeral veil and monstrance to the altar of repose, the Pange Lingua echoing in the church, the altars being stripped, and then the final instruction of the missal: “all depart in silence.” And so [Read More...]

9 Ways To Keep Lent

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Pope Benedict gave us a gift yesterday. He gave us a Lent that would focus our minds on Christ, the Church, and His People in a way no one has ever experienced. I awoke yesterday at 6am to learn–on Facebook–that the pope had resigned. The news spread across the world almost at the speed of [Read More...]

Hyenas Eat Donkeys For Lent

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In Ethiopia, hyenas normally just eat whatever they can scavenge from the garbage leftoutside of inhabited areas. But what happens when there are no meat leftovers in the garbage due to the strict Ethiopian Orthodox Lent? Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to be a donkey: Hyenas will eat just about anything organic. They’ll chow down on mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles. [Read More...]

“God is dead, and we have killed him”

The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb by Holbein (Click to enlarge)

  “Descended into hell”—perhaps no other article of the Creed is as alien to our contemporary mode of thought as this one. And yet, does not this article, which, in the course of the Church year, is liturgically ordered to Holy Saturday and which is especially significant for us today, express in an eminent degree [Read More...]

Saturday Song — “Dark Was the Night”

Blind Willie Johnson’s wordless meditation on the death of the savior is based on loosely on a few lines from old spiritual “Gethsemane”: “Dark was the night, cold was the ground/on which my Lord was laid.” Its melancholy tone is well-suited for this day between death and resurrection. [Read more...]

“That is the Good Friday of the twentieth century”

  In the great Passions of Johann Sebastian Bach, which stir our hearts anew each year during Holy Week, the terrible event of Good Friday is steeped in a transfigured and transfiguring beauty. These Passions do not, it is true, speak of the Resurrection—they end with the burial of Jesus—but in their eminent purity they [Read More...]