Happy New Year! You're Going to Die.

01/01/2015 Comments (20)

And my five-year-old can't wait. It's possible that this eagerness comes because I did a little bit too good of a job of helping her get over her fears about death, which were coming to haunt her every evening when she got tired. But when you're dealing with a weeping kindergartener, the right choice is to err on the side of reassurance. 

It's a difficult balance to strike, when our kids worry about death. We want to comfort and reassure them (and stop the howling!), but at the same time, we don't want to lie to them, and give the impression that there's a guaranteed happy ending on everyone's final page. Death may be a beginning, not an end -- a doorway to eternity, not a trap door to...READ MORE

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Happy Old Year!

12/30/2014 Comments (14)

The Liturgical New Year actually begins at Advent, so that's the day when things were supposed to start fresh for us Catholics, and not January 1. So here's what I'm thinking. Want to see some changes, but want to sneak them in without attracting much attention? The non-liturgical new year is the perfect time to switch things up, and you'll have plausible liturgical deniability. Here are a few ideas to grease the wheels of the bark of Peter and make it straighten up and fly right:

The CHLORIBULE. Oh yes, chloroform in the thurible. Seriously. What priest, parent of berserking toddlers, or crotchety old usher wouldn't like to see everyone just . . . settle down a little bit? I wouldn't...READ MORE

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Mother and Child: A Christmas Gallery of Original Art

12/25/2014 Comments (11)

Merry Christmas, everyone! As a gift, nine artists have graciously shared with us their original images of the Virgin and Child. Enjoy!



This fresh, bright watercolor-and-acrylic Madonna and Child by Noyuri Umezaki, who is sixteen years old. Just look at those open faces. Lovely.



Mother and Child by Michael O'Neill of 365dayswithMary.com. This montage was constructed out of 100 smaller images of the Virgin Mary. 



From Aneta Minkel of California, this cozy, organic Madonna and Child. I love the layers of tender protection in this image. 



A Christmas card painted by Katherine Marsella of Massachusetts. Katherine is in second grade, and her...READ MORE

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Christmas Music I Can't Wait to Hear

12/23/2014 Comments (8)

Am I lucky, busy, or just out of the loop? Either way, I haven't heard much Christmas music yet this year. Here are ten hymns and songs I can't wait to hear.


1. Of the Father's Love Begotten

Tell me again how there's this wide, unbridgeable gulf between people who love theology and people who just love God. This is a pure love song, stuffed to the gills with doctrine. Read all the verses here


2. Creator of the Stars of Night

I don't know the musical term for this, but notice how each verse ends on a note that goes up, instead of down? But it doesn't feel unsatisfying. Instead, it creates the impression that here is a song we could continue singing forever. Here we see the...READ MORE

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Gift-Giving Is So Catholic!

12/18/2014 Comments (18)

Many Christian parents spend Advent agonizing over how to preserve the true spiritual meaning of Christmas. They want to give their kids a happy day without turning them into materialistic little monsters, but it's not always easy to strike that balance.  In a recent conversation online, Jaclyn Ruli put her finger on one of the wrong ways to do it. Noticing a disturbing theme in many Christmas videos designed for kids, she said:

Why are Christian videos for children condescending? "Christmas isn't about gifts, it's about Jesus!" There's almost a chastising tone in so many of these shows. They start out with a scene by a Christmas tree, passively showing how this scene is flawed, and then...READ MORE

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Loving the Adult Jesus

12/16/2014 Comments (11)

When kids are very young, their needs are intense, but very simple. In the best moments, it's easy for us parents to love our babies and little ones, because what they need is what you want to give them, and what you want is to be needed by them. In the good moments, at least, there isn't much of a gulf between what you enjoyed doing and what you needed to do. In the best moments, it's extremely easy to love a baby.

But when kids get older, there are more steps to love. It's not that we love them less. In many ways, learning to raise older kids teaches us how to deepen and diversify the way we understand love. But it's just a fact of life that older kids are sometimes unreasonable,...READ MORE

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If It Saves Even One American Life . . .

12/11/2014 Comments (105)

After reading the CIA's report on interrogation techniques, here is what many Americans are saying:

"If it saves even one American life, then I can live with it."

Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says in Chapter One: The Dignity of the Human Person:


1755 ... There are some concrete acts ... that it is always wrong to choose, because choosing them entails a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil.

1756 It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts...READ MORE

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It Was a Beautiful Confession

12/09/2014 Comments (12)

On Saturday, we went to confession. Mine was a pretty standard operation: "Bless me, father, for I have sinned. It has been two months since my last confession. I did that thing I always do, and that other thing I always do. I also did that other thing I always do, except more so than usual. And I stopped doing that thing I usually do, but then I started again.  And I was mean on the internet. For these and all my sins, I am truly sorry."

And the priest said what this particular priest always says: "Thank you for that beautiful confession." He says this when I have a long and sordid list, or a short and sordid list, or when he can barely understand me because my nose is running from the...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 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.