Let’s talk impossible penances. From this morning’s readings: If you hold back your foot on the sabbath from following your own pursuits on my holy day; if you call the sabbath a delight, and the LORD’s holy day honorable; if you honor it by not following your ways, seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice, then you shall delight in the LORD . . . And now for a quick peek at the Catechism before anyone starts in with… Read more

Taylor Marshall has some good suggestions for going meatless without losing your mind. My favorite quote: Nothing says “penance” like fish-sticks. So true.  So very true. Now let me be a tiny bit contrary, and give you a little encouragement on the penitential living.  Marshall writes: A couple of years ago, Joy and I prayed about it and switched our family over to meatless Fridays all year long. Now I agree: Decisions to take on greater penance for your family… Read more

A longtime colleague of mine, who is gay, thinks I hate him.  We’ve always gotten along fine, but now that our state is considering legalizing same-sex unions, he’s convinced my opposition to that law must be fueled by hatred.  How do I convince him I don’t hate him? I’ve changed the details to protect the privacy of the friend who asked, but it’s a question many Catholics are facing these days. The hierarchy of sin and public opinion goes something… Read more

It’s okay to be hungry today. Read more

Monday morning I swallowed hard when a post popped up on a small internet discussion group I run: Latin Mass trouble in Texas.  I don’t need this. A flame war over this could get my group shut down. I didn’t ask the original poster to delete. I did ask that we refrain from discussing the situation until the purloined letter could be authenticated, and the diocese had time to issue a counter-statement. Meanwhile, I did a little poking around to… Read more

Meat Demon reports to duty at midnight tonight.  He prowls around every Lent, quietly working behind the scenes six days a week so that come Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays, all you can think about is meat, meat, meat. You are not helpless in this fight.  In addition to the grace of God, you also posess the ability to think, plan, and act. 1. Have a cheeseburger on Thursday. Meat demon will try to convince you that you are… Read more

What is the Christian response to suffering? We can take the question from any number of angles, and in time I’m hoping to hit most of them.  It’s a thorny — meaning, “Ouch!” — topic, and as Joe Paprocki observed, it always comes up. Sooner or later everyone passes by way of the Cross. Today’s topic: What do you do when it’s your turn to hang? I’m going with the straight-up What Did Jesus Actually Do? answer on this one: 1…. Read more

Heads up for those who didn’t follow me over here from the Happy Catholic Bookshelf: We’ve got a book discussion group underway for Papal Economics.  Theodore Seeber has gotten the discussion rolling with this post.  He’s way ahead of me, but I’ll work through his thoughts bit by bit, and we’ll leapfrog each other as real life dictates. Seeber writes of the parable of the workers in the vinyard: This reading gives us a very basic idea of what Christian… Read more

  Ash Wednesday’s around the corner, and you can go all over the internet to find out How To Do Lent Exactly Right.  Not my territory.  We’re much more beginner than that around here.  To which end, I want to put to rest the four biggest Ash Wednesday fears that seem to come up every year. 1. Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation.  You, the ordinary lay Catholic pew-sitter, don’t have to go to Mass.  You do… Read more

When is your parish like my garden?  Most of the time.  Now up at New Evangelizers, my latest installment in the Rethinking Religious Education conversation: This is how God sees us.  Not because He’s a lousy gardener, but because we’re lousy gardeners.  He gives each of us free will, and He gives each of us a share in the work of the Kingdom of Heaven.  And He lets us do that work, even though it means we’re going to forget… Read more

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