Just How Harrowing Can Lent Be?

Does anyone remember this little book, Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?, by John Powell, SJ? I remember a friend sharing her copy with me in the late 1970's, and I think we were both too young to really benefit from it. I may pick it up again, because I'm tired of being bashful, and I'm tired of feeling hesitant around people simply because in my life I have been bullied.I want to say, "screw that, so what?" and just move on, already. I want to be done with all the old tapes and learned … [Read more...]

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Anchoress Shows Up to Give Homily at Mass! Also, Fatso!

In a manner of speaking, anyway.A parishioner from a parish in Maine sent me a link to a live-streamed video of their Ash Wednesday mass, wherein the priest jumps off of the Ash Wednesday homily I have said I would give, if I ever had the chance.Check it out (homily begins at about 18:30) and let me know what you think!And since I'm talking about me and Ash Wednesday, I might as well go the full-on "shameless self-promotion" people tell me I should do more of (!) and say you … [Read more...]

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Launching a Lenten Rescue of my Brain

The other day a friend asked me what I was doing for Lent, and I immediately launched into plans for articles I hoped bloggers here in the Catholic Channel would be undertaking."No," she said. "I meant you, personally, what are you planning for Lent?"That inspired a longish reply full of lugubriously spiritual yearnings all introspect-y and lumbering gracelessly toward what passes for deep thoughts in my plebeian brain, but somewhere in there was an acknowledgement that I'm feeling a … [Read more...]

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Strange Gods & Small Groups: A Match Made in…Heaven?

I'm looking forward to using this book with my students this year. We belong to a very small English speaking group in our parish in Göteborg, Sweden. Two of my students have made their Confirmation already and two of them will be making it in the Spring. I think your book will be a huge asset to me and my class and help further our discussions and our learning. -- Sam E.I am in the process of prepping my annual Suggestions for Lenten Readings, but on the advice of a few friends, I'm … [Read more...]

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Noah and The Lent of Christian Screaming, 2014

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...]

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

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...]

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

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...]

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Pacem in Terris: Anchoress Comboxes Closed for Lent

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...]

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

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...]

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Lenten Reading Recommendations 2014

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...]

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