Ember Days: What They Are And Where They Went

Photographer Credit: Tyler Parks

Today is the first Ember Day of autumn, the week after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

A long time ago, in a world that seems so very far away, Christian traditions rooted in simple faith thrived among the flock. One such tradition is the celebration of what are known as Ember Days. Traditionally, the first Wednesday after Guadete Sunday is the first Ember Day of Winter.

What are these mysterious days of penance and fasting? Their name alone evokes thoughts of a glimmer of light shed upon a dark world. And yet the story of the practice of this devotion has nothing to do with embers, kindling, or ashes, though it is true that the image of glowing splinters of hot coals did appear in my mind’s eye when I first learned of them. They still do. [Read more…]

Because of Thomas Merton, OCSO (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968)

This is part VII of my conversion story, tagged as 2BFrank in the Tag Cloud. I run it every year on this day to commemorate the death of Thomas Merton, who was also known as Father Louis.

Yes, I am well aware that he is not a canonized saint, but the salient point about Fr. Louis’ life is not whether he was a good Catholic, or a bad Catholic. The main thing isn’t even that his writings helped bring me into the Church. [Read more…]

For the Incorruptible, Bilocating, Blue Nuns’ Vision of the Immaculate Conception UPDATED

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary

I’m always the last one to know. And that is pretty much because I keep my head down, my blinders on, and just keep plowing. You know, as if everything I needed to know about anything can be conceived of, and imagined, inside my little head, or from my limited experiences.

But then I woke up after a very long slumber. [Read more…]

Because Takashi Nagai Said Stuff Like This…

It’s just another reason to throw a few bucks towards helping bringing the story of his life to film in All That Remains. [Read more…]

Because The Prophet Francis Didn’t Sugar Coat the Faith for Politicos

St. Francis Giving His Mantle to a Poor Man
Giotto de Bondoni, 1297-99

It’s the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. You might have noticed this, as he is one of the most popular of the fellows in the Communion of Saints. You can read better posts about Francis elsewhere, for sure. I just wanted to share a brief open letter he wrote to the powers that be.

Francis, see, was a lot like Jesus. He even had the wounds of Christ to prove this. But he also had the temerity to tell it like it is, much like John the Baptist and Jesus did. In short, Francis was a fine example of the prophet, priest, and king, as all Christians are called to be.

Here’s an example of his prophet side. [Read more…]

For Solid Food Like This (Hold the Milk)

Once I met up with Thomas Merton, it didn’t take long for him to introduce me to St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Not exactly the founder of the Cistercian Order, as that distinction belongs to the trio of monks Robert of Molesme, Alberic, and Stephen Harding, all in the Communion of Saints now too, he nonetheless grew the Cistercian Order into a powerhouse of prayer.

Bernard, a Doctor of the Church, was indefatigable in his allegiance to Christ and to the Catholic Church. He was a contemplative, but was constantly being called into action, attending Church councils, while providing counsel to monarchs, and even preaching the Second Crusade. Repairing schisms and matching wits with Peter Abelard (and others constantly), it’s a miracle he had time for prayer, or anything else for that matter.

Personally, I don’t think he slept much. [Read more…]

For The Thoughts Of (And a Prayer For) My Favorite “Friendly” Atheist Who Believed in Hell


Let me preface this post with an acknowledgement of the fact that philosopher George Santayana died as an atheist. But as an atheist, Santayana put pen to paper on some Catholic ideas that lack only one thing, really. And that one thing is the simple faith of a child in order to believe them.

As minds of adults go, George had an intellect that was top notch. But as Our Lord said,

Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

[Read more…]

For the Wisdom of St. Thomas More in Times of Tribulation UPDATED


I take it for granted that you’ve heard of Sir Thomas More by now. Maybe you know of his political classic Utopia, or that he is the patron saint of lawyers, and politicians. Perhaps you remember him as that character that was beheaded for treason while you were watching The Tudors on Showtime. Or maybe the film A Man for All Seasons replays in you minds’ eye the tale of this storied saints’ life.

Here’s the quick recap of his life for those of you who may not know. [Read more…]

Welcome Aboard the Ever Persecuted Church!

Of the many reasons that have been written in this space for answering the title of this blog, this is one answer that I’ve rarely mentioned, but I do so now. Persecution. You would have to have your head solidly buried in the sand to miss the fact that of all the great religions known the world over, Christianity, and her members, are constantly bashed, battered, and attacked. Perhaps more so than any other faith group. [Read more…]

Abraham Lincoln on the Importance of Freedom of Conscience and Religious Liberty

Everyone knows how easy it is in the age of the internet to cobble together a saying that meshes with the popular mood of the times, and then attribute it to a giant of philosophy, art, or politics. Often times these alleged quotes seem too good to be true. And after a little cursory check, you know, actually looking for a reference that verifies said quote, you come up empty, and toss it in the trash.

This practice is so prevalent that the following quote “attributed” to Abraham Lincoln has become a joke all it’s own, [Read more…]


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