Some Notes on Fasting (Or Why Doing "Something Extra" for Lent is Not Enough)

The conversation starts as Ash Wednesday approaches: “What are you giving up for Lent?” Over the years I’ve heard people respond, “I’m not giving anything up this year. I’m doing something extra.” I used to be one of them - that is, until I realized that isn’t enough. That “something extra” can be a great…

How to Choose a Lenten Penance

Lent is a great experience of spiritual solidarity for Catholics. We fast together, pray together, and fall in love again with the central beauty of our faith: suffering never has the last word, and always has meaning in light of the cross.  The spiritual practice of fasting has the unique capacity to remind us of…

The Key to a More Contemplative Advent

I’ve always wanted to be a runner. Despite my lack of skill or experience, the romance of a morning run appealed to me: simple, solitary, and powerful. I wanted to emulate that. When I finally started running, it was hard - harder than I expected. It still is sometimes. In my enthusiasm, I start out…