Just in Time for Lent: Fr. Longenecker Brings Back the Master Tempter Slubgrip

Slubgrip Instructs

Lent is a season of penitence:  Giving up chocolate.  Turning off the TV.  Fasting from between-meal snacks, and abstaining from eating meat.It's also a season for personal growth:  Prayer.  Reading.  Reflection.So who says you can't enjoy it, too? *     *     *     *     * If you're a fan of the writings of Fr. Dwight Longenecker, as I am, you'll want to rush out before Lent starts (that's February 18, so hurry!) and get your hands on a copy of his newest book, Slubgrip Instructs: Fift … [Read more...]

The Lord’s Jester and the Pig’s Feet: The Story of Brother Juniper

The Little Flowers of St Francis

In the Middle Ages, followers of St. Francis of Assisi collected legends and anecdotes about the lives of Francis and his followers, which were assembled in a spiritual classic entitled The Little Flowers of St. Francis.  One of the popular figures in the book is Brother Juniper, one of Francis' original followers, who has sometimes been called "The Jester of the Lord."Francis thought very highly of the friar, at one point exclaiming, "Would to God, my brothers, I had a whole forest of such J … [Read more...]

Giving Up Poetry for Lent: Gerard Manley Hopkins’ Quest for Perfection

Gerard Manley Hopkins (Photo: Wikipedia Commons,  work by Rowan Gillespie, used with permission)

For the English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, the year 1866 was marked by introspection and transformation.  On January 18, 1866, he composed his poem The Habit of Perfection, which hailed the virtue of ascetism.  Five days later, on January 23, he included poetry in a list of things he planned to give up for Lent.  And by July, against the wishes of his family, he had decided to leave his native Anglicanism for the Catholic Church.That September, he traveled to Birmingham to consult with John … [Read more...]