Learn more about my latest book – All In: Why Belonging to the Catholic Church Matters. Available now!

Archives for February 2015

#Fast Friday in #Lent… cleaning grime outta the corners

#Fast Friday in #Lent… cleaning grime outta the corners

I’ve been at home a lot. There’s some much snow up here in New England, it’s keeping me indoors. Clutter within the four walls is starting to drive me crazy and slowly.

As part of my Lenten penances, and to grow in humility and diligence, I’m cleaning a lot of grime out of the corners. You know the kind. In the kitchen it’s the grimy places along the back edge of the stove where it meets the countertop and the wall. Or, there’s that infrequently seen part of the counter under the knife block. Just a few nights ago we moved the dog’s crate out of the corner where it usually stays put and swept up the sniggling little scraps that have fallen behind it the past year.

Last weekend, I actually took our furniture polish and cleaned up some wooden furniture needing attention. After first having to organize and dust all the shelves.

This coming week I’m staring down multiple stacks of books that I simply must categorize and place in the office or give away. Oh gosh, the office, that’s another zone crying for my attention.

I simply must manage the little piles whose girth keeps spreading.

There are many days that I lament that I do not have a cleaning service because I’m so lazy with the domestic arts. But our budget cannot afford it, so it falls to me. (Bob is a help when I ask… but he doesn’t complain much and somehow he doesn’t see the grimy build-up the way I do.)

Did you catch that previous admission? I’m l.a.z.y. Doing these little chores can become penitential for someone like me. Sure I tidy up a lot during the week…. but the deep cleaning… whoa, that’s a commitment. I can only overcome laziness and procrastination by growing more diligent. (Remember, my doing these thing without complaining and without any recognition is worth more value to my soul than talking about it in a blog post. So, you can see, I’ve still got some growing to do.)

It’s not lost on me that the penitential nature of Lent requires us to go after the grime in the corners of our souls. Those little piles of sins we’re been meaning to get to… but somehow, and I’m speaking to myself here, we’re simply willing to live with or ignore. Dat grimy gunk over dere ain’t botherin’ nobody, right?

Naturally, as a practicing Catholic, I know all the rules about venial and mortal sins. I’ve been at this long enough to try to really steer clear from the mortal ones…. but O Lordy watch me still trip over those venial ones…. especially the bad language. It’s a default code my tongue finds when I’m stressed, over-tired, or frustrated. And that’s for starters, and I already mentioned the laziness about chores…. but I don’t need to confess my sins to you here. Today I had to take off to confession and Mass, and, trust me, I was grateful to go.

Any of this familiar to you? I’m not here to nag you. Just reminding you that we’re all got stuff to confess and clean up. By all means, let’s all get to confession this Lent.

Release the grime. Make the commitment.

:::

For comic relief: Life is messy. Clean it up. 

:::

This might help: Forgiveness is Waiting for You:  8 Tips for an Awesome Confession

:::

Why #Fast Fridays?

:::

After I wrote this, I found this great advice from Chris Stefanick… loved that he mentions the corners…

 

image

This makes me think…. about fasting…

Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works. If you see a poor man, take pity of him. If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him. Do not let only your mouth fast, but also to eye, the ear, and the feet, and the hands, and all members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice [greed]. Let the eyes fast by disciplining it not to glare at that which is sinful. Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip. Let the mouth fast from foul words and criticism. For what good is it if we abstain from fowl and fishes, but bite and devour one another?

St John Chrysostom, 4th century

I’m speaking in Connecticut this Sunday! Sign up and Join me!

I’m speaking in Connecticut this Sunday! Sign up and Join me!

I’ll be at Mary Our Queen’s parish women’s retreat, 12-5pm on Sunday March 1. You don’t have to be a member of the parish to attend. Note: There will be no registrations at the door, so you must register early. 

I’ll be give talks based on my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious. Books will also be for sale.

#Fast Fridays in #Lent

#Fast Fridays in #Lent

Taking a Lenten pause from the The F.U.N. Quotient that usually appears on Fridays here at the blog. Friday’s are not just the end of the work week… they are the day our Lord died for us.

We Catholics traditionally fast from meat on Fridays, and we may be fasting from other things as well. So I’ll keep this fast personally, yes, but I’ll also try to give you a fast post to read and to reflect on in your day. Each will vary in a theme drawn from my own fasts.

 

Let’s start off with the virtue that undergirds all virtues we seek: Humility.

:::

Pray the Litany of Humility with a podcast from Discerning Hearts. (2 minutes)

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
That others may be esteemed more than I,
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I go unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Amen.

(Text by Merry Cardinal del Val, secretary of state to Pope Saint Pius X
from the prayer book for Jesuits, 1963.)


Lyrics here.

“A saint is not someone who never sins,

but one who sins less and less frequently

and gets up more and more quickly.”

St Bernard of Clairvaux

New Radio Shows with Allison Gingras and Lisa Hendey

New Radio Shows with Allison Gingras and Lisa Hendey

A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras — Catholic book enthusiast, Allison Gingras, unpacks a new book each week. Whether you read along or choose to just listen along, Allison promises that anyone with a seeking heart will always be glad they tuned in. The website says that the book selections will span all genres, from faith sharing to murder- mystery; biographical to bible study, and much more.  Listen on Real Life Radio.  I’ll be a guest on Allison’s show this Friday, talking about Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious! 

 

Lisa Hendey has re-invented her former podcast, Catholic Moments, on Radio Maria. Listen to Catholic Moments, and enjoy her first show here with guests Fr Robert Reed of Catholic TV, and author Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle.

catholic_moments-1

I’m so excited for these good women, who are good friends. Listen to them!

new-site-logo-lg

This makes me think… a merciful heart is not a weak heart…

Lent is a time of renewal for the whole Church, for each communities and every believer. Above all it is a “time of grace” (2 Cor6:2). God does not ask of us anything that he himself has not first given us. “We love because he first has loved us” (1 Jn 4:19). He is not aloof from us. Each one of us has a place in his heart. He knows us by name, he cares for us and he seeks us out whenever we turn away from him. He is interested in each of us; his love does not allow him to be indifferent to what happens to us. Usually, when we are healthy and comfortable, we forget about others (something God the Father never does): we are unconcerned with their problems, their sufferings and the injustices they endure… Our heart grows cold. As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.

I would invite everyone to live this Lent as an opportunity for engaging in what Benedict XVI called a formation of the heart (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 31). A merciful heart does not mean a weak heart. Anyone who wishes to be merciful must have a strong and steadfast heart, closed to the tempter but open to God. A heart which lets itself be pierced by the Spirit so as to bring love along the roads that lead to our brothers and sisters. And, ultimately, a poor heart, one which realizes its own poverty and gives itself freely for others.

During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord: “Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum”Make our hearts like yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.

-Pope Francis-
Message for Lent