Gethsemane at Penn Station

Gethsemane

It is Holy Thursday, and that is a good thing. Even amid the controversial back-and-forths taking place over foot-washing and liturgy and women and the pope, I really, really need this Triduum. I. Personally. Me. And I'll tell you why. Something happened to me on Tuesday and nothing has been good or right since then. I went into Manhattan to address what I thought would be a group of Catholic communicators. Instead, I found myself talking, in a rather intimate setting, to a group of … [Read more...]

Noah and The Lent of Christian Screaming, 2014

noah snakes

How is your Lent going? Are you feeling like you're making some spiritual progress, with the fasting and the alms-giving, and the extra prayer-time? Well, Lent is almost over and if you think you've been working hard on your faith in these forty days, know that the evil one has worked even harder. He always does. Every Lent, it's something; every Lent the evil one exploits a matter, with four reliable effects: It impacts the culture-at-large It foments doubt about precepts of faith It … [Read more...]

“Rem acu tetigisti, Sir.” Freaking Lent. – UPDATED

rem acu tetigisti

Nothing is more annoying than being correctly judged, even in a small way. A broad or inexact hatchet thrown at one's defects often just-misses the target, but a tiny arrow of truth, aimed and fired at precisely the most tender spot within the conscience, can devastate. It is as discomfiting as a poppy seed caught in one's bridgework. You can try to ignore it, but you know its there, and you also know if you don't address it -- if you let the thing remain trapped and hidden beneath the … [Read more...]

“Christ was there! And I missed him!”

Doorman

Just because I prefer, on Sundays, to attend the Mass of the Very Old Men doesn't mean I often make it. It's a very early mass and despite my love of the silence, and the prayerful examples of the regular attendees, abandoning my warm bed for it -- particularly this winter -- has not been a priority. Having turned the clocks ahead last night, the chances of my making early mass today were even more reduced, but a restless husband -- oddly kicking the bedcovers and stealing the pillows -- more … [Read more...]

The Weirdly #Ashtag “Look-at-Me” Lent of 2014

Seriously, guys, this is no hardship!

Maybe it's me but there seem to be a lot of "oh no! It's Lent! We're going meatless for a day and how shall we endure it!" sorts of posts showing up on the 'net this year, and I'm puzzled about it. I mean, it's one meatless day. I'm betting many of us experience them at least once a week, without thinking about it. We might get up and have cereal or waffles in the morning, and then an egg-salad or tuna sandwich for lunch, and then decide on a veggie pizza for supper, without stopping for a … [Read more...]

Pacem in Terris: Anchoress Comboxes Closed for Lent

Lent header

What I am already discovering in this first day of Lent is that I am being drawn out, into the desert. The first word in the Holy Rule of Saint Benedict is "Listen" and I am being asked to rediscover silence and learn to listen again. To slow down and look at beautiful things, too. Because this is so, I have already let folks in social media know that -- while I will still be posting Patheos work and interesting headlines to Facebook and Twitter -- I will not be participating in FB discussion … [Read more...]

“SNAP OUT OF IT!” An Ash Wednesday Sermon I’d Give

snap out of it

The Ash Wednesday wake-up call is the start of a spiritual spring-cleaning I always love, even when the spiritual work is heavy and messy. I love the mass readings (Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart. . .). I love the sense of ancient tribalism that accompanies the smearing of ashes onto foreheads -- this outward sign of penance, of belonging, and self-revelation: I belong to Christ, and I am a sinner. I even love being reminded, as the priest or deacon marks me, that … [Read more...]

Lenten Resources: Apps, Links, Music and More – UPDATED

Lent at ephesus

The sun is beginning to set. We're just a few hours away from quietening down for Lent and it's odd, but all day I have felt -- alone in my office, as I am -- a sense of party. I've nibbled at chocolate all day, even though I shouldn't, because it's Fat Tuesday and a worldly sort of day. Even so, I've been collecting some interesting resources to share with you all -- things to help you achieve at least a small measure of interior calm, to start; things to put some heart into your Lenten … [Read more...]

Lenten Reading Recommendations 2014

books lent

In Chapter 48 of his Holy Rule, Saint Benedict says "During this time of Lent each [monk or nun] is to receive a book from the library, and is to read the whole of it straight through. These books are to be distributed at the beginning of Lent." The books an Abbot or Abbess might choose for the benefit of a particular monk or nun were not always religious; sometimes fiction or secular books were given, too, and so I'm including a few of those in here, too. That collection of books above … [Read more...]

Morning Prayer so often aligns with the headlines…

russia meteor

Today's reading (slightly enlarged) from Morning Prayer, Isaiah 53:11-12 "Because of his anguish he shall see the light; because of his knowledge he shall be content; My servant, the just one, shall justify the many, their iniquity he shall bear. "Therefore I will give him his portion among the many, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, Because he surrendered himself to death, was counted among the transgressors, Bore the sins of many, and interceded for the … [Read more...]


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