Music for Lent

03/23/2012 Comments (66)

I don’t hear people getting all giddy about being able to crank up their Lenten music, the way they did with Christmas songs when it was Christmas time (or mid-October, whatever).  That’s a shame, though—Lent is a wonderful reason to really wallow in some gorgeous harmonies that just don’t sound right any other time of year.  And no, the terminally lame and casually heretical “Ashes” theme song (I can’t bring myself to call it a hymn) doesn’t count. 

I do wish I knew more old Lenten hymns.  There is, for instance, one called “The World Is Very Evil” which intrigues me, but somehow we never seem to sing that one at the 11:15 mass. 

Here is some of my favorite Lenten music:

O Sacred...READ MORE

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The Religious Freedom Rally: My Predictions

03/22/2012 Comments (60)

Are you going to the Religious Freedom Rally tomorrow? 

I desperately wish our family could be there, especially because I think it’s very good for kids to get caught being Catholic in public.  But my husband has to work, and the rest of us are spending the day in parent-teacher conferences.  I’m sorry to miss it, and I hope you can make it. 

But I won’t have to be there to know how it’ll go down.

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Prayers Answered, Darn It

03/20/2012 Comments (112)

You’ve heard the saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”  I was surprised to discover that this quote is attributed to Woody Allen.  I imagine Mr. Allen telling God his plans, and God not having not so much a good chuckle as a massive coronary.  Even if our personal lives aren’t the screaming debacle that Woody Allen’s turned out to be, we can probably relate:  if a loving marriage requires flexibility, then a loving relationship with God demands it on a Cirque du Soleil level.  Seriously, you are going to want to do some stretches first, before turning some aspect of your life over to God.

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I'm Sorry, WHO Do You Say That I Am?

03/16/2012 Comments (52)

It’s time to come clean:  I have no idea who you are.

Yes, you, the one I’ve been corresponding with for several months.  You, the one I see four times a day, five days a week.  You, who know all the names, ages, talents, foibles, shoe sizes, birth weights and breakfast cereal preferences of each of my children.  Perhaps you think I recognize you because my face lights up when I see you, and I appear delighted to be spending time in conversation with you, one of my favorite people.

Well, that’s not delight.  That’s sheer panic.  On the inside, I’m thinking, “Oh, lord, give me a clue here.  Short woman, dark hair, dark eyes.  Something to do with kids.  Either my pediatrician, or the...READ MORE

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A Little Proof of a Large Thing

03/15/2012 Comments (47)

Here’s a photo of a young man struck by lightning. 


His arm has been exquisitely branded with a Lichtenberg figure, the visible pattern left by an electrical discharge.

I’ve seen photos of Lichtenberg figures in the sand (fulgurites), formed when lighting strikes the ground and actually fuses the sand into tubes of glass in a characteristic branching fractal.  There is even a theory that mountain ranges themselves were formed by some immense, cataclysmic electrical discharge.  Here is a view from space of the Alps:


The other day, as it started to get warm, I saw the thick ice of the turtle pond start to give way, and the water below began to move and breathe again. 


I saw that...READ MORE

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Forgiveness, Cell By Cell

03/13/2012 Comments (45)

My kids learn first that Jesus died for our sins.  Then, when they’re old enough, we discuss exactly how He died.  Finally, for a question I hope they’ll be pondering for the rest of their lives, I ask them why He suffered and died.  Why did He do it this way, when He could have chosen any number of other methods to save our souls?

My son, who is seven, ventured a guess:  “Was it just easier that way?”  Nope.  Harder.  Much, much harder.

First, we discuss how sacrifice makes a gift more precious.  The kids could understand that something won through sacrifice is more meaningful than a gift given easily:  if someone has 100 pieces of candy and gives you one, you might enjoy the candy, but...READ MORE

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Good For You vs. Just Plain Good

03/08/2012 Comments (50)

I hope everyone’s seen this excellent piece by Emily Stimpson—and not only because she appears to have hated There Be Dragons as much as I did.

Stimpson investigates why Catholic media, especially entertainment, stinks so bad, and what can be done about it.  Among the problems is a fundamental (and fairly recent) misunderstanding of what can reasonably be achieved, quoting Dominic Iocco, provost of a Catholic university for communication arts:

[Catholic moviemakers] want every film to be ‘The Passion [of the Christ]’ and expect people to walk out of the theater converted,” Iocco told OSV. “But we’ve already had ‘The Passion’ and the whole world hasn’t converted. Nor are they going to...READ MORE

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How To Find Yourself

03/06/2012 Comments (105)

For some reason, divorce stories fascinate me.  Maybe I’m hoping to reassure myself that, as I read, I won’t recognize anything at all about my own marriage.  (I’m not actually afraid that my husband would ever leave me.  Over the years we’ve worked out an understanding:  whoever leaves gets custody of the 15-passenger van.  That keeps us both pretty close to home.)

Anyway, this author, writing for the Huffington Post, stands out for her astonishing lack of self awareness.  Jennifer Nagy considers herself an unusual and fascinating specimen: newly divorced, she wonders why there is not more help out there for people who aren’t victims of divorce, but perpetrators.  Why doesn’t she get more...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.