Failing…in love again

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love." - First reading at Mass, from 1 John 4:17-18(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com)As Popeye would say, "well, blow me down."I fail at love all the time -- grievously -- and when I consider how often that failure is connected to fear, I have to say, this is pretty spot-on.There is a great deal I do not fear; usually for me fear is … [Read more...]

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Cravings: New Personal Perspectives for a New Year

I have been waiting for a long time for the release of Mary DeTurris Poust's latest book, Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image and God, and here it finally is:Before I had read a word about the book a glimpse of the cover spelled out a central aspect of its message: we see a luscious berry, so overripe it's almost bursting; you want to just grab it and indulge in it, but note the thorns that warn against mindless excess. It brilliantly conveys the essential message of the … [Read more...]

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Les Mis: Just Men, Minimized Women and Immodesty?

Two very different women, coming from very different perspectives, are unhappy with Les Miserable. Their unhappiness reminds us that though we polish and burnish our preferred lenses, we obscure our own capacity to see.Feminist author Stacy Wolf takes to the pages of the WaPo to report that as a feminist, all she could see was the bad men and victim women who populate her daily thoughts; width and breadth are just words:. . .in “Les Miz,” female characters are there only for the men to sa … [Read more...]

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The Muscular Spirituality of Leah Libresco – UPDATED

In its end-of-year issue, Our Sunday Visitor has profiled 9 Outstanding Catholics of 2012 who have been particularly effective "examples of leadership, service and witness in the past year."Three of those nominated for consideration blog here, at Patheos -- Marc Barnes (Bad Catholic), Lisa Hendey (A Good Measure) and Leah Libresco (Unequally Yoked) -- and another, Sister Lisa Marie Doty, of Nunspeak Blog has contributed several pieces, to our Habit of Witness series.It was my pleasure … [Read more...]

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“LOOK WHAT YOU DID!” Toys, Toys, Toys!

Isn't it nice to hear those words and know that what you did was something good, and not something bad?I can't wait to stop posting and to shut down for Christmas, but I can't do that without telling you folks what you have done!That pic (which I have cribbed from the Facebook timeline of the wonderful Leslie Cascone Rohrbacker with her permission) is just a portion of toy deliveries that made it to Straight and Narrow of Paterson, New Jersey in time for Christmas.You people are … [Read more...]

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What the hell is WRONG with these people? – UPDATE

If you ever doubted that there is a battle going on all around us -- a true battle -- between good and evil, and that that battle engages every single one of us whether we are aware of it or not, the events of the past week really ought to clarify that point for everyone.In the face of the unspeakable evil of the slaughter of children, good broke through, and the stories are legion -- good people of all faiths and of no faith at all have moved with generosity and concern to do whatever … [Read more...]

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You Balance Out the Keening Pain of Newtown – UPDATED

“In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from PrisonMy goodness, you guys, I'm not easily moved to tears but the response to this request for toy donations on behalf of an outreach that had none to give -- and the kindness and generosity that is so e … [Read more...]

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Newtown and New Media: must we “do better” on big questions? UPDATED

That's the question I'm asking in my column at First Things, this week. More correctly, I suppose I am wondering, does the Pope (and the church) need to do better with the "hard" questions of faith that are now subject to New Media?Or do we -- and especially the non-believers who are pining for "big" questions -- simply not understanding the depth of the answers?It all started with a tweetback from...a self-described “Agnostic Atheist, Freethinker, Skeptic . . . ” called the Pon … [Read more...]

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O Sapientia! O Wisdom! Antiphonal Healing

Tonight, it begins; at Vespers, before the Magnificat, we take up the gorgeous "O"Antiphons. We chant them in full solemnity, with their wandering air, their voice of deep longing.We have been wandering, and longing, for a long, long time; we seek an end to the journey, and the wanting.As the whole nation is gripped in mourning and wondering what first to correct in ourselves, in our laws and our society, have we ever needed these powerful antiphons more than this week?Tonight: O … [Read more...]

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Newtown and the God who Knows

"In the face of horror ... there is no other answer than the cross of Christ: Love that descends to the abyss of evil." -- Pope Benedict XVIWords fail at this terrible news, somehow made all the more tragic for the season.Christmas is coming. These beautiful children, who likely had written their letters to Santa, or perhaps had opened a new window in an Advent calendar before going to school, are lost to us -- now -- in these weeks where nothing gives us a better sense of promise, a … [Read more...]

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