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Repentance and Cleaning House

I am the father of three children four and under. It is always startling to me, though it shouldn’t be at this stage, how quickly things can spin out of control. A perfectly clean house that took a great deal of effort to tidy up can nearly instantly be destroyed by our children with hardly any effort at all. Cheerios...

Lent, Suffering, and the Death that Brings Life

Lent is here, and quite frequently the weather suits the sombre tone of the season. Ashen gray skies and the bare reaching arms of trees create an atmosphere that is at once stark and solemn. Yet this season is not entirely bleak or without hope. Warmer days replete with sunshine break up the gloom, and bird songs welcome the green buds...

Liquid Bread: The Top 5 Bock Beers for Lent

So you gave up dessert for Lent? Good for you, you wimp! Once upon a time, German monks ate nothing for the entirety of the Lenten fast. No bread, no salad, no fruit---nothing. Beat that. How did they survive, you ask? By imbibing large quantities of heavy, calorie rich beer, of course! Around 700 years ago, German monks in the town of Einbeck developed a specific style...

A Johnny Cash Lent

For you partake of that last offered cup, Or disappear into the potter’s ground. When the man comes around. -Johnny Cash, The Man Comes Around  Yesterday would have been Johnny Cash’s 83rd birthday. In years past, when I was thin enough to fit into it (thanks food binges and booze!) I would wear my black suit on that day and find a...

This Lent, Prepare Yourself for a Marian Consecration

Want to drop a V6 engine into your Volkswagen Bug prayer life? Would you like to battle sin and Satan and sabotage like the mighty saints of yore? Then gird your loins, get on your knees, and prepare yourself for Marian Consecration. Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary… Today, Friday, February 20th, is not only a day for fasting and...

Catholicism and the Cross

St. Peter was riding high. Jesus had just asked the disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" While the rest of the disciples stumbled around in confusion, Peter hit a home run. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Then, moments later, Jesus blesses him and entrusts him with the keys of his kingdom, giving him far more...

Don’t Waste Your Lent: 7 Ways to Have a Good Lent

Lent is a season of penance and ascetical warfare. The enemy is concupiscence, the world, and the devil. The goal is pure hearts so that we can joyfully celebrate the resurrection of our Lord at Easter, the greatest feast of the liturgical year. In a way, Lent should be a microcosm of our entire struggle on earth, just as the Paschal...

A Lenten Giving Opportunity

"It is more blessed to give than to receive." - Our Lord Jesus Christ As a rule, I don't promote giving to specific causes, but I recently wrote about the importance of almsgiving during Lent, and now, I've become aware of an opportunity to do just that. Allow me to break my own rule and share a little about this opportunity. The Need The...

Why is Lent 40 Days?

In the English language, the special season before Easter is called “Lent.” The word comes from the “lengthening” of daylight hours as we progress from the darkness of winter to the new light of spring. But other languages, such as Spanish, have a name for this season that is derived from the word for forty. It is the season of...

Preparing for a Good Lent: Almsgiving

"We should strive to keep our hearts open to the sufferings and wretchedness of other people, and pray continually that God may grant us that spirit of compassion which is truly the spirit of God." - Saint Vincent de Paul Believe it or not, tomorrow is already Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Today, we finish our series on preparing...

Preparing for a Good Lent: Penance

"How beautiful, how necessary is penance." - St. Francis of Assisi Penance is an unpopular topic these days. Perhaps it is because we have become soft, even wimpy, valuing comfort over anything else. Maybe it's due to a misguided attempt to seem less rigid and legalistic. Then again, maybe it's really because we don't think we have any sins over which to be penitent. Whatever...

Preparing for a Good Lent: Prayer

Today, we continue our series on how to prepare for a good Lent by focusing on the first of the three pillars: prayer. "Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to Heaven." – St. Ephrem of Syria Other...