Smoke Can Blind Us (Lent 4.A)

My father and his sister both played the piano, and from time to time they would do a four-hand duet at family gatherings. As far as I remember, they always played the same thing—Jerome Kern’s popular song “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.”I thought about that tune last summer, when the smoke from upcountry wildfires made my eyes sting and even made it hard for some people to breathe.But smoke can have far more serious consequences. It can cause blindness. During a tour of a reconstructed native village in Ontario, I remember our guide saying that many indigenous women in the

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Childless Despair and Childlike Hope

This rather sad article recounts the growing movement of deliberate childlessness, in the United States, and beyond. Or, as those in the movement like to call themselves, ‘child-free’, to remove any connotations that being somehow ‘child-less’ is a negative thing, to be mourned like Rachel of old, weeping for her children who were no more.

The Church requires her priests, bishops, religious and consecrated to be ‘childless’, or at least forego those acts that would produce children. But this is for spiritual and supernatural motives, and to help families – who make up by far the bulk of the Church

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Pope Saint John Paul II’s Last Lent

Here is Pope Saint John
Paul II’s final Lenten meditation, which he finished on September 8th,
2005 – the birthday of Our Lady – just before his death on April 2nd,
2005. A fitting recollection on the joy – and sacrifice – of ageing well, as a
gift from God to ‘do good’, while we yet may.

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. Each year, the Lenten Season is set before us
as a good opportunity for the intensification of prayer and penance, opening
hearts to the docile welcoming of the divine will. During Lent, a spiritual
journey is outlined for us that prepares us to relive the Great

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The Layered Meaning of the Prodigal Son

In 1861, John William Burgon, the (Anglican) dean of Chichester cathedral, preached a sermon in Christ Church cathedral, Oxford, that included the following statement:

THE BIBLE is none other
than the voice of Him that sitteth upon
the Throne! Every Book of it,—every Chapter of it,—every Verse of it,—every
word of it,—every syllable of it,— (where
are we to stop?),—-every letter of it—is the direct utterance of the Most
High! . . .  The Bible is none other than
the Word of God: not some part of it, more, some part of it, less; but all
alike, the utterance of Him who sitteth upon the
Throne,—absolute,—faultless,—unerring,—supreme![1]

What are we as

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