When Self Care Is About Other People

05/25/2016 Comments (6)

In devout circles, it's common to speak of putting oneself third: God comes first, and then we serve anyone who needs us, and finally, we tend to ourselves. It's a good formula, and a much-needed check on the aggressive selfishness of our age. 

At the same time, there's a subtle temptation that comes with putting oneself last. We forget that, as members of the body of Christ, there's not really any such thing as "just me." We are all thoroughly intertwined with each other. It really doesn't do the head any good when the arm is bleeding unchecked. The heart doesn't appreciate it if you ignore an infection in the foot. For better or worse, we're stuck with each other, and we must be sure...READ MORE

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Resounding Gongs and Clanging Cymbals Are Worse Than Blaring TVs

05/18/2016 Comments (4)

(Image: “The Hunter of Happiness” by Harry Popoff, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Do your kids watch too much TV? There is, believe me, such a thing as too much screen time, for kids and for adults, too. It's something I panic about every so often, because my kids do spent time almost every day watching something or other, so I can get some writing done.

There are screen time guidelines from various pediatricians' groups, and they usually tell you that if you kid is within such-and-such ages, he should watch no more than such-and-such number of minutes of TV. It's not the worst approach, but, like many broad guidelines, it's rather reductionist.

This essay takes a different approach. Rather than focusing on the number of minutes of screen/eyeball minutes, it asks...READ MORE

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Giving Birth? Who DOES That Anymore?

05/11/2016 Comments (50)

(Image Credit: “WiLPrZ”, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Indiana has installed two Safe Haven drop boxes for unwanted newborns, and the Knights of Columbus have pledged to fund the installation of one hundred boxes in the state. There are safe haven laws in all fifty states, allowing parents to leave their unharmed newborns in a designated spot without being prosecuted for abandonment. 

I first saw the story in reported in Gawker. The title and tag are defensively jocular, but the story itself is delivered fairly straight:

Republican state Rep. Casey Cox told the AP at the time that the book drop for babies was a “natural progression” of safe haven laws that permit parents to give up their newborns at hospitals and police stations without fear...READ MORE

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

04/27/2016 Comments (5)

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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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.