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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Morning Prayer so often aligns with the headlines…

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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The Big Book of Lent and Easter – UPDATED

Every Ash Wednesday I put away Book III of the Liturgy of the Hours, and pull out Book II for the Lenten and Easter Season.Book III is pretty big, but Book II is "the big book." It's a book that carries a little bit of penance for me, on days when the arthritis in my hands is acting up, because just holding it in prayer sometimes makes me aware of pain. The book gets heavy, but Lent is a heavy time; as my prayer is distracted, I simply offer it up -- I look at the crucifix on my oratory and … [Read more...]

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Prayer and Penance: Did Twitter Hasten Benedict’s Retirement?

In hindsight, we're seeing clues, now, and reading words he uttered indicating that Pope Benedict XVI has clearly been thinking of renouncing the papal throne for some time.Forgive me if this sounds absurd on the face of it, but I am wondering if, despite these pieces of evidence, Benedict's recent entry into Twitter has had anything to do with the seeming abruptness of his announcement.Before you scoff, consider: the pope's interest in, and support of, the church's engagement with new … [Read more...]

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Who Knew? John 3:16 Answers Genesis 3:1-6 – UPDATED

Hmmmm, one of those weird, "cue the Theme from the Twilight Zone" moments.Maybe this is something everyone else already knows, but I didn't know it. In fact, I just figured it out for myself.So, I'm either a genius, or just so unstudied that to further remark would be pathetic.I'm figuring the latter.But it occurred to me this morning that we Christians take great refuge in John 3:16:For God so loved the world that he gave 7 his only Son, so that everyone who believes in … [Read more...]

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A Gentle, Encouraging Voice for Lent

When I invited Margaret Rose Realy to develop her beautiful blog here at Patheos, I did it for the authenticity and clarity of her contemplative voice, as with this voice:I remember a couple of months ago several Goldfinches rocketing across the backyard. I wondered if there was a disagreement about whose yard it was. Typical of these lively little birds, they are unconcerned about my purpose or presence in what they have claimed as their territory. They continued to dart about and I … [Read more...]

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“Salt and Light”: Tasty, Clarifying stuff for Lent!

So, I have a pile of books that have come my way, freebies--gifts from publishers or authors hoping I will read their book and recommend it--and I am feeling terrible that so many books have come in and received nothing but silence on this end.Since I really do need a little downtime from the ordinary routine, I think I will spend the rest of January trying to get at least a good sense of some of these books and letting you know about them. Tonight, this book was on top of my pile, so I … [Read more...]

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Yes We Can: the Hospitality of Lent

When God, in the beginning, created man, he made him subject to his own free choice. If you choose you can keep the commandments; it is loyalty to do his will. There are set before you fire and water; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. Before man are life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given him. -- Sirach 15:14-17Read in conjunction with this, and in light of all of my pathetic failings of which I moan to God in prayer, it occurs to me that I've spent my whole life … [Read more...]

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Difficult Lent – Love, Pain and Balance

It's been a difficult Lent, for me, at least. Lots of things to ponder, and so little free time to really do it. One thing I've learned this Lent is that I am lending more time to work than to the things that matter. Not that work doesn't matter. It certainly does, and I love my job, and I am grateful, every single day to be able to make a living as a writer. But too much work has taken time away from people, from prayer and from the simple duties I have to the people I love and the God I … [Read more...]

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