Just How Harrowing Can Lent Be?

Image by David Shankbone via wikimediacommons

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!

Eliz EWTN

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

Image mine, click to enlarge

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?

Twitterpraise

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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Gethsemane at Penn Station

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...]

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Noah and The Lent of Christian Screaming, 2014

Hubbell Image adapted here via here.

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

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...]

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