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...]

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...]

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...]

The Big Book of Lent and Easter – UPDATED

Ash Wednesday OOR

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...]

Benedict’s Profound Talk on Creation, Freedom, Sin, Love

Yesterday, I posted some thoughts on how the book of Genesis seems, so frequently to mirror John's Gospel, at least in the beginning, and assigned myself the task of spending Lent prayerfully reading both books, "side-by-side", so to speak.Then I read our tireless, ever-working Pope Benedict's splendid remarks to his general audience, this morning, and it seems Papa is looking deeply at Genesis this week, too! And he has some wonderful things to say to us about creation, freedom, sin and … [Read more...]

Yes We Can: the Hospitality of Lent

serving hands

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...]

Meeting Him on the Mt. of Olives

" . . . let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere … [Read more...]

How Pilgrim Monks are to be Received

Part of my Lent has been re-reading the Holy Rule of St. Benedict, pertinent to the day. It's been speaking to me in very personal and private ways.Today as I contemplate a great decision that involved travel and has me doubting and unsure, the lesson is about stability, which is actually one of the Benedictine vows:If a pilgrim monk coming from a distant region wants to live as a guest of the monastery, let him be received for as long a time as he desires, provided he is … [Read more...]

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...]

Reclaiming Lent

Comments are closed for the weekend. Let us reclaim our Lenten focus.We think that in prayer we speak to God, and we are not wrong to think so. But the heart of prayer is that God speaks to us. It is not God whose mind is changed by our prayer, but we ourselves, if we would but cease to speak, and would instead wait upon God, and listen to him. It is the prayer of silent expectation, whereby we who love God wait upon him, like the prophet Elijah who did not hear the Lord in the storm … [Read more...]


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