A Prayer for Hope in the Darkness

We've given up a lot this Lent, haven't we? Mostly, I've been struck with gratitude for what we do have: a comfortable home, enough food to eat, a yard for the kids to run around, financial stability. Still, even for our family whose sacrifice in staying home is minimal - This. Is. Hard. It's hard…

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…

Redeeming Our Relationship With Food

For something so essential to our survival, food poses challenges for many of us. Our society oscillates between a perspective that glorifies food, and one that demonizes it. And that does not remain external to us; we often place a moral value on food that we transfer to our sense of goodness or worthiness.  I…

Mercy for the Outcast: The Story God Wants Told

Mere moments on Twitter are enough to alert us that our culture is plagued with demons.  We live in a culture that responds to polarized politics and social values with contempt and hateful accusations that serve only to drive us further from one another, rather than seeking common ground.  Even voices claiming to speak for…

The Body of Christ According to Edith Stein

Today is the feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, a religious sister who died in a concentration camp in Holland on August 9, 1942. She began life as Edith Stein, a Jewish atheist, philosopher, and professor. After her conversion in 1922, Stein spent 11 years writing, teaching and living as a witness to…

A Slice of Solidarity

We are all hungry, and we all have the power to feed one another. It’s the simplest thing, to turn to one another and offer the gift of ourselves. But we’ve made a habit of withholding. We have the opportunity to be God’s tenderness and mercy for one another; how often we choose otherwise. We get in the habit of building up walls, counting our merits instead of our blessings.