This, rather, is the fasting that I wish

Friday after Ash Wednesday   This, rather, is the fasting that I wish.    The Israelites had such reverence for the holiness of God that they were careful to follow specific rules when they came to worship in the Temple.   Before prayer, for example, they had to perform certain cleansing rituals.   They abstained from certain foods to set themselves apart from the surrounding nations.   They fasted on the Day of Atonement to demonstrate their...

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Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live

Thursday after Ash Wednesday   Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live.    Do you want Lent to be fruitful this year? Try thinking of it as a journey you’re taking with the disciples as Jesus prepares for his passion, death, and resurrection. You will hear Jesus preach and tell parables; you will see him heal and feed the needy. How will you respond? Each day, each step of the journey gives you another chance to choose to...

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Return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning

Ash Wednesday   Return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning.    Lent begins each year with this reading from the prophet Joel (Joel 2:12-18).   It’s clear that the Church chose this passage so that we too would return to God with our whole heart during Lent. For the Israelites, returning to God meant that everyone gathered together and begged the Lord to save them.   Together they also fasted, including those...

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God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble

7th Week in Ordinary Time   God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.   Some years ago, a parish priest and one of his deacons had a heated and open disagreement in front of many members of their parish.   They eventually worked out their differences, and after fully reconciling, they decided to stand up in front of the congregation and explain that they had forgiven each other.   They also asked everyone to forgive them for their...

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This kind can only come out through prayer

7th Week in Ordinary Time   This kind can only come out through prayer.    Rock climbing can look awfully easy from below.   You just find the next place to grab and then hoist yourself up.   But anyone who has done serious climbing will tell you how challenging it is—especially the higher you go.   One little misstep could be disastrous.   You need to be cautious about every hand grasp and foothold you use. This is one way to understand the...

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Quote of the Week | February 24, 2020

“Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.   Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.” –Anonymous

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Faith without works is dead

Saint Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)     Faith without works is dead.    It’s too bad.   Ever since the time of the Reformation, believers have had a hard time reading this verse of Scripture without feeling they have to defend their interpretation of it.   Are we really justified by faith alone?   Or does faith need to manifest itself in actions? James wasn’t embroiled in such theological difficulties when he...

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