Fear of Hell?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011 8:00 AM Comments (42)

So, I go for a walk in the mountains. Halfway up, I come across a little unexpected stream, with bracing cold water that sparkles over the mossy stones. The sweet smell of the waving weeds intoxicates me, and for one giddy moment, the shadow of a falcon races over my path. There are berries and wildflowers, sweet breezes and a new kind of birdsong, something wild and delightful that I’ve never heard before.

So I tell everyone about it. Most people say, “How beautiful! I love the mountains, too.” But one guy sneers, “Yeahhh, I’d scuttle up there too, if I shared your primitive fear of carnivorous valley monsters.”

I go, “Huh?”

And another guy goes, “Why, I don’t blame you a bit. It’s...READ MORE

Filed under atheists, fear, hell, love

Saints Act Like, Are Human Beings

Friday, April 29, 2011 8:00 AM Comments (20)

Max Lindenman (filling in for Elizabeth Scalia as she, lucky lucky lucky duck, is in Rome for the Catholic blogging conference) asks “What saints can’t you stand?” The responses are pretty interesting: There are some saints that no one likes, because they were unpleasant weirdos. Then there are some that inspire and enchant some people, while repelling and disgusting others. For me, St. John Vianney is one of these repellant types. Every time I hear a saint quote that makes me go, “WHAT?!?!” it turns out to be St. John Vianney. Oh, well—there are plenty of other saints.

Catholics are, of course, discussing sainthood lately because of the approaching beatification of John Paul II. All of my...READ MORE

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When Kids Evangelize

Thursday, April 28, 2011 8:00 AM Comments (112)

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Something funny happened the other day. The mother of my kids’ friend brought my daughter back home after a play date, and asked if she could speak to me privately for a second. At these words, I felt a chill, because my daughter is something of a loose cannon. She is five years old, and has silky, honey-colored hair, large doe eyes, dimpled cheeks like a rose in bloom—and the mind of an unhinged baboon. Not to mention that she idolizes her brothers, ages 7 and 9, and strives mightily to keep up with their sophisticated culture of violence and poop jokes.

So I was worried. But the mother was concerned about something different: It seems that my daughter somehow found out that her...READ MORE

Filed under atheists, catholic, evangelization, faith, kids

Confessions From the Confession Line

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 8:00 AM Comments (61)

So many people came into the Church this Easter! Congratulations, my new brothers and sisters. I’m so glad you’re here. Your new faith is wonderful, and soon you’ll see how liberating, how illuminating, and above all, how much sense it makes!

That is, unless you’re going to confession. Oh, not the sacrament itself. The sacrament of confession is the greatest thing in the world, next to Cadbury eggs. Um, and the Eucharist. There is nothing better than going into a dark box all laden, dirty, and bruised with sin, and coming out lighthearted, clean and healed. Magnificent!

But the confession line. Oh, the confession line.

I love my parish. But oh lord, I hate going to confession there. It’s...READ MORE

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Good Friday

Friday, April 22, 2011 8:00 AM Comments (0)

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

from “Funeral Blues,” W.H. Auden

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Next Year In Jerusalem

Thursday, April 21, 2011 7:59 AM Comments (67)

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Have you taught your children that, while Christmas is very important, it’s really Easter that’s the greatest feast of the year? Do they buy it?

When I was little, this point of doctrine was obvious: All during Holy Week, my father could be heard practicing the Exsultet to chant at the Easter vigil, as my mother fried and ground up liver and onions in preparation for the Passover seder. The fragrant schmaltzy steam of the chicken soup, the palm leaves, bags of jelly beans for Easter Sunday and the boxes of jellied fruit slices for the seder—these were all equally essential for Holy Week. We drooled over the growing heaps of luscious Passover food as we suffered the final pangs of Lenten...READ MORE

Filed under easter, judaism, passover

All Sin Is Disgusting

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 8:00 AM Comments (73)

In my post about St. Anthony wet house, the homeless shelter which allows clients to drink, several commenters reminded us that alcoholism is an especially disgusting, shameful sin—a selfish one, one which destroys lives and displays in the sinner a brutish, willful resistance against grace.

I got the same reaction to an interview I did with a homosexual Catholic man: Most commenters were gracious, but a few were openly revolted at the very subject, and said they couldn’t stand to hear any more about this perverse and unnatural condition.

They’re all right, of course. What kind of man would choose alcohol over family, work, and even his own health? What kind of man is willing to admit...READ MORE

Filed under guilt, sin

What I Learned When My Kids Went to School

Friday, April 15, 2011 8:01 AM Comments (39)

Danielle Bean recently told me, “When God said, ‘In pain will you bring forth children,’ He wasn’t just talking about being in labor!” It’s so true: Bringing up children is a work of joy and delight, but also an enterprise fraught with so much pain, fear and anxiety, it can be almost intolerable (and there’s no epidural for child-rearing!).

One especially painful enterprise is figuring out your child’s education. After six years of home school and one year in Catholic private school, we enrolled our kids in a local public charter school. Was I nervous? You could say that: I didn’t sleep for about a month, fretting about all the things that could happen to my little ones. They weren’t used...READ MORE

Filed under catholic, education, evangelization, faith, kids

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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 at I Have to Sit Down. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and nine children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.