Tag: Lent

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Today, Catholics recall the ten Commandments in the book of Exodus. Bishop Barron is not alone in likening this time of Lent to spring training for athletes or to boot camp for soldiers. It’s a time to review the familiar basics which nevertheless challenge us still.  Here are the bishop’s very brief reflections on the […]

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See the two standards, their standard bearers, and the followers of each standard. First, look to the prominent place where the devil (the adversary) is, and see his followers. His followers possess good health, the pleasure of society, the praise of others, wealth, even fun!  Then look to the lowly place where Jesus is and […]

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Yesterday was Ash Wednesday for Catholics. It begins the penitential season of Lent. There is no clearer reminder for our neighbors than the mark of death (ashes) upon our foreheads that the will to assert claims of truth and claims of sin — identifying misbehavior so that all may flourish through right conduct — neither […]

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Ash Wednesday, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Paddy

 

You were made from dust…

Had I walked about, and run, this morning topless and with neon purple hair, I think I would have attracted fewer stares than I did today. Growing up in very Catholic Massachusetts, I’m not sure it had ever occurred to me on more than a purely intellectual level what it means to be a religious minority, especially one that (even for a day) was marked out in its physical difference. Which is not to say that I feel the victim; I am perfectly free, as so many martyrs and fathers in ‘priest holes’ were not, to practice my faith, and to giggle at the man who stopped walking his dog and turned around to watch me go by like a latter-day circus attraction. In fact, I left Mass this morning more uplifted than I had been in weeks, embracing something of the Chestertonian paradox that finds the deepest hope in the most profound sadness. On a day of penitence, prayer, and fasting, I found joy.

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This year I gave up coffee for Lent. I didn’t talk about it much because I’ve been in an “I shouldn’t speak loudly about these things all the time” mood. When people noticed me drinking tea, I’d explain why, but I didn’t volunteer the information like a cross-fitting atheist vegan who never watched Game of Thrones. Last […]

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When we hear the story of Jesus leading some of His apostles up a mountain and there being temporarily transfigured into glorified form, reflections on this scene trend toward one of two lessons. The first focuses on that moment as a revelation of Christ’s divine nature. The second reminds us that we too await transfiguration […]

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Nation’s Music Ministers Yet Again Downcast When Jesus’ Wondrous Love Fails to Lift Dreadful Curse of Daylight Saving Time

 

The classic American hymn “Wondrous Love,” first published in 1811 during the second Great Awakening, proclaims, “What wondrous love is this, / That caused the Lord of bliss / To bear the dreadful curse / For my soul.” The nation’s music ministers awoke this morning once more disappointed to discover that the dreadful curse Jesus bears for us so we don’t have to doesn’t include Daylight Saving Time.

“‘Wondrous Love’ is a great Lenten hymn,” mumbled Elmer Morgan, organist at Parkhurst Methodist, over his fourth cup of coffee, “So it’s always disheartening to realize Lent after Lent that Jesus’ wondrous love doesn’t extend to lifting the curse of Daylight Saving Time from our souls.” Down the street at Spiritstone Reformed, the worship band reportedly slammed multiple energy drinks before the main service, noting forlornly that no outpouring of the Holy Spirit had made up for that one lost hour of sleep. Only bassist Chas Tietze abstained from energy-drink consumption, “But that’s only because,” drummer Mark Lorenzo observed, “He can play these sets in his sleep, and frequently does.”

Returning on the Day of Ashes

 

During our liturgy today on Ash Wednesday (a colloquial name for the Day of Ashes), the priest made an interesting point. This is not a “holy day of obligation” for Catholics. Yet, like Christmas and Easter, it is among the most attended gatherings for worship every year.

Why do you suppose that is?

This is a time for lowly repentance. The beginning of Lent, the season in which we focus on the Lord’s painful sacrifice and our regret of its necessity, is marked by ashes to remind us of death.

Friday Food and Drink Post: Not So Fast

 

Five days to go before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lenten fasting for many Christians. Of course, that means that Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is coming up too.

We didn’t call it “Fat Tuesday” when I was growing up. We knew that the religious context of the day, the last day of Shrovetide, deemed it Shrove Tuesday. But we didn’t call it that, either. We called it “Pancake Tuesday.” And the big news story of the day was always which housewife or young lady won the Pancake Race in Olney, Buckinghamshire. (Take a look at the photo in the linked article. It seems the transgender sports craze (and I use the word advisedly) hasn’t reached this sleepy little town yet. At least, not obviously. And if it’s not obvious, it probably hasn’t.)

The Pancake Race, like another historic Spring event, the Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling, has had its ups and downs over the years with the Health and Safety authorities of the nanny-state occasionally complaining, reacting to injuries, changing the rules and banning parts of the festivities outright. But both seem to be heartily enjoyed in the closing years of the second decade of the twenty-first century, and that is nice to see.

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Social media is not an unalloyed good. Even marvelous social media sites such as Ricochet have their drawbacks. (@judgemental and @garymcvey, for instance. Those guys, I tell you…) Sometimes we just need to take a break from it all. Traditionally, I have taken my break from Ricochet at Lent every year. This last year, having […]

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Earlier this month, another Ricochet member asked Is Christianity Losing Its Way? The Church (the bride of Christ) will not lose its way, however often every church strays over the millennia. A Lutheran Lenten devotional reading, closely coinciding with the home going of the Reverend Billy Graham, prompted reflection on the irony of false teaching […]

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Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.” Reading a Lenten devotional, I was struck by the gospel’s attribution of a quote […]

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 “Unity, the Pope insisted, is built in this walking together, and it’s a “grace” that has to be asked for. It’s for this reason that he repeats: “every form of proselytism among Christians is sinful. The Church never grows from proselytism but ‘by attraction,’ as Benedict XVI wrote.” “Proselytism among Christians, therefore, in itself, is […]

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A Quick Little Sermon on Social Justice

 

37 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,

And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.