The How-To Book of the Mass Is a Great Gift to Catholics

04/27/2016 Comments (3)

At our house, we do a good job systematically covering the basic catechism with the kids; but after confirmation, things get a little spotty. We tend to focus more on current events-based catechisis: whatever we hear on the news, that's what we talk about. What does the Church teach about gay marriage? Why do we think IVF is a bad idea? What's the big deal about the death penalty? And so on. This is not a bad way to approach the Faith. It helps the kids understand their practical responsibilities as Catholics in the public school system, and it also leads to good discussions of basic principles of the Faith, like why are we here, anyway, and why is human life worthy of respect?

But still,...READ MORE

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The Pope’s Approach Can Be Frustrating, But He’s Still Our Pope

04/20/2016 Comments (40)

Pope Francis gives his Urbi et Orbi address to pilgrims in St. Peter's Square on Easter morning, March 27, 2016. (© L'Osservatore Romano)

Here's the full translated text of the latest in-flight interview with Pope Francis, which wasn't very long. This is the first time I've read an interview with the Pope and though, "Ohh. I see. All right, then."

Let me explain. The interviewers brought up a wide range of topics. One was a question about his brief meeting with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and what it signified. The Pope explained (and all emphasis throughout this post is mine):

 This morning when I walked out, there was Senator Bernie Sanders who came to the congress on “Centessimus Annus.” He knew that I was leaving at that time and he had the courteousness to greet me. I greeted him and his wife, and another...READ MORE

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How to Trick Yourself Into Daily Prayer

04/13/2016 Comments (10)

Do you have that "Easter Sunday's gone . . . now what?" feeling? After the Lord is risen, but before He ascends again is a great time to get in the habit of talking to Him regularly. We all know we need to pray daily, but it's horribly easy to get out of the habit.  St. Peter's list has a great little feature: 16 Practical Tips for Creating and Maintaining Your Daily Prayer Habit. "Practical tips" are my love language! These are achievable ideas that takes in to account all kinds of personalities and all kinds of lifestyles. 

I'm an idiot, and will avoid prayer if I can get away with it, even though I know it will make me miserable and weak. I'm extremely resistant to change; so for me,...READ MORE

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Love Is Never Wasted

04/06/2016 Comments (6)

Mary Cassatt (1884-1926), “The Child's Caress”

Some time ago, I came across an anguished post by a devoted mom. She had spent an entire week teaching her kids an in-depth, hands-on, cross-curricular lesson on the major watercolorists of western art. Her kids were enthralled, and seemed to really internalize not only the beauty of the work, but also some of the history, the technical side, and even the biographies of the artists they studied.

Next week? They said, "Watercolor? What's watercolor?"

Poor mom. Kids are crumbs, and that's just a fact. But the thing that struck me is that the woman berated herself over having wasted so much time with the lesson.

How wrong she was! There is no such thing as wasted time with your children....READ MORE

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For the Catholic Suffering from Scruples

03/30/2016 Comments (11)

The other day, I wrote about how this Friday is within the Octave of Easter, which makes it a solemnity, or at least a day to be treated as a solemnity. This means that we can eat meat -- and, unlike any other Friday, we don't have to substitute another penance or sacrifice. It's a feast day, and we don't fast when the Bridegroom is with us.

For most people, this news means one thing: "Yay, meat!" But for others, it's a trapdoor into a pit of scrupulosity. The rules are not 100% crystal clear, and even if we do get clarity, we may still not be at peace: what if we're not necessarily required to abstain from meat, but not abstaining feels like we're letting ourselves off easy? Might that be...READ MORE

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The Only Mistake You Can Make

03/16/2016 Comments (3)

When we get this close to Holy Week, many Catholics are looking back over their efforts since Ash Wednesday and grading them “E” for “echhh.”

Maybe your Lent hasn't been very meaningful because you’ve just been slacking off, because Lent is hard. Maybe you just don’t feel like reining in even your little bad habits. Or maybe you could probably manage to change some physical habit, but the idea of facing God sincerely is just a little too much, and you’d just . . . rather not. You're not proud of it, but your plan is to keep your head down so as not to attract attention, and soon it will be Easter and you can eat candy and feel guilty, and then you’ll be safely back in ordinary time before...READ MORE

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"Suck It Up" vs. "Offer It Up"

03/09/2016 Comments (5)

A few weeks ago, I asked converts what most puzzled them when they first became Catholics. Several people said they heard "offer it up" all the time, and had no idea what it was supposed to mean. The best they could gather was that it was Catholic code for "suck it up."

It does get used this way. Let's say (just to choose a random example with no basis in reality) that an overworked mom went to bed after midnight because she was making special cupcakes for the class party, and then the teething baby kept her awake, and then she tripped over the dog and spilled her coffee and sprained two toes and now there's broken mug shards all over the floor . . . and one of the other kids chooses that...READ MORE

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13 Things To Be Happy About Today

03/02/2016 Comments (12)

(Image Credit: Infrogmation, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

I don't have to tell you why. 

1. The average price of ground beef is down slightly compared to last year, and you know what the means: The occasional meatloaf!  

2. Seventeen days until spring! 

3. Canada has a fairly open refugee policy. I'm not saying that you should pack your bags now to be ready for election day, but I am saying, Canada has a fairly open refugee policy.

4. It's a good year for zingers, anyway. My current favorite: "[Chris Christie's eyes] were the eyes of a man who has gazed into the abyss, and the abyss gazed back, and then he endorsed the abyss.. "

5. Reading this morning about Kanye West, I realized that I don't know what Kanye West sounds like, at all. It may...READ MORE

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About Simcha Fisher

Simcha Fisher
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Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs daily at Aleteia. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and ten children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.