To Break My Fast From Being Merciful

Peter Chrysologus, master of the succinct homily.

I came across some wise words of a Doctor of the Church I had never heard of the other day. The subject? The importance of being merciful.

For the longest time, and long before I became a Catholic, I thought being merciless was the correct tack. After all, that is the way of the world. So I was, in an upside down way, fasting from being merciful. [Read more...]

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Thoughts On Lenten Sacrifice (A Modest Proposal)

St. Anthony the Great tempted in the Desert

I may be a newbie Catholic, but I have an idea about Lenten fasting that might alarm you. Ordinarily, see, we “give up” something pleasant for Lent. Then, at the end of the season, we once again indulge in whatever it was that we “gave up” in fasting.

What if we just went “cold-turkey” and never took up again that which we gave up for the Lenten fast? [Read more...]

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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...]

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