Desperately Seeking Spring

03/20/2014 Comments (11)

Somewhere underneath the dark, jagged crust of ice outside my window, my crocus and daffodil bulbs are waiting.  Maybe they're even sprouting, but I'll never know, with all that snow.  Suspended somewhere in the middle of that same snowbank is the sled we abandoned halfway through the winter, because it was too cold to go sledding; and frozen to the top of that snowbank is the bag of garbage we flung there when we couldn't find the garbage can, because it was buried in an even bigger, awfuller snowbank.  Bag of gargage as white flag:  you win, winter. You killed us all.

But no! It's the first day of spring. It's International Happiness Day! I refuse to mark this day by writing about frozen...READ MORE

Filed under

Why We Can't Have Baptisms During Lent

03/18/2014 Comments (44)

Did you just have a baby?  Did you call the rectory to schedule a baptism?  Did you hear that you'll have to wait, because they don't do baptisms during Lent?

At first, this may not make sense to you, but I assure you, there is a very good reason for this policy.  You see . . .

Lent is all about acknowledging our fallen nature and appealing to the Holy Spirit for help in conquering sin. Lent is about remembering that sin has wounded and weakened us, and that we are in desperate need of God's grace and salvation. We can gain this grace by engaging in ancient practices which engage both the body and the spirit, and we emerge refreshed and reunited with God, humbly giving thanks for His...READ MORE

Filed under

Beyond Ashes

03/13/2014 Comments (19)

It has come to my attention that many parishioners, and even many music directors, are not especially happy to find themselves singing "Ashes" every Ash Wednesday -- but they feel that there is no alternative. It's sort of like the way we eat turkey on Thanksgiving at our house. Nobody really enjoys it, but it's hard to imagine doing anything else on that day.

But no.  There are lots and lots of wonderful Lenten hymns to be found, even if your church isn't trained in polyphony.  Best of all, these hymns not only avoid heresy, they are actually rich lessons in doctrine and even in Bible history, if you pay attention to the words. Here's an example, where the first verse gives you a quick...READ MORE

Filed under

Jesus Isn't Fair

03/11/2014 Comments (59)

Teaching catechism to little kids is a deliciously straightforward enterprise. You get to tell them wonderful, captivating stories, and then drop the bombshell:  "And guess what?  It's all true!"  And they are delighted. When those same kids get older, though, you will find yourself stretching your apologetics muscles a bit more -- at least, you will if you're doing it right!  If the kids have no questions, it means you're not conveying the urgent, glorious strangeness of our Faith.

As I prepped the younger kids for their first confession, one of my seasoned students started to scowl.  She knew all about original sin; but, from the vantage point of her teenage years, it suddenly struck her...READ MORE

Filed under

Making Ashes Out of You and Me

03/06/2014 Comments (32)

What a shame that Ash Wednesday comes but once a year. For many of us, that's the only opportunity we have to experience what many people consider the lyrical poet Thomas Conry's masterwork. Let's take a closer look.

The first lines are something of a ruse, are they not? Listen:

We rise again from ashes, 
from the good we’ve failed to do.
We rise again from ashes, 
to create ourselves anew.
If all our world is ashes, 
then must our lives be true,
an offering of ashes, an offering to you.

We are lulled by the conventional rhyme scheme, ABABABB, into expecting that the theme will be conventional, as well.  The speaker cannily completes the rhyme by using the same word, "ashes," three...READ MORE

Filed under

Allow Me to Inspire You This Lent

03/04/2014 Comments (24)

Our college chaplain used to encourage us to take on thoughtful penances for Lent -- but not to tell everyone what we had chosen.  "It's not . . . " he would say, carefully, screwing up his cherubic face (and we knew he was going to bring out the big guns). . .  "It's not helpful."

And he is right.  A sacrifice is a personal thing, and nothing good can come of telling other people what you've decided to do for Lent.

He had nothing to say, however, on the subject of telling other people what to give up for Lent. So that's what I'm going to do. 

  • To anyone in the secular media attempting to write a story about the Catholic Church: give up winging it.  Listen, the Church is complicated....READ MORE

Filed under

Reading Suggestions for Lent

02/27/2014 Comments (12)

If you're going to find a book for Lent, you have less than a week left to find it!  Here are a few suggestions:

Through the Year with Pope Francis:  Daily Reflections A collection of short excerpts from the talks and writings of Pope Francis, paired with questions and reflections that draw out an encouraging or challenging idea for the day.  A good accompaniment for daily prayer -- or a "bathroom book" that anyone in the family can pick up and browse through.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis What I'm currently reading aloud to my kids, ages 11 and up. It's a bit over the heads of some of them, but it's lively and entertaining and full of "Ouch, that's familiar" moments.


Filed under

Don't Shoot Those Helicopters Down

02/25/2014 Comments (50)

Oh, there was lots to hate in my post from last week, "Gay Man Denied Last Rites?" Some people hated the idea that homosexual behavior is sinful; some people hated the idea of homosexual people calling themselves "gay" (why? It's just descriptive). A few people pretty clearly just hated homosexual people, period.  And several readers really hated two specific lines I wrote:

The Church is just taking its first steps in developing a compassionate, humane approach to serve gay people.  The Church's history in this matter isn't pretty.

This comment sums up readers' objection to those lines:

There is an effective pastoral approach. it is called confession. Just like the rest of humanity.


Filed under

Page 25 of 77 pages ‹ First  < 23 24 25 26 27 >  Last ›

About Simcha Fisher

Simcha Fisher
  • Get the RSS feed
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.