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We are love, we are one…

A little musical inspiration on this first friday of March and first friday of Lent. I love this song, and when I heard it again yesterday as I was driving kids all over town, it felt like the perfect Lenten meditation. Here’s “Nothing More” by The Alternate Routes:

We are Love
We are One
We are how we treat each other when the day is done.
We are Peace
We are War
We are how we treat each other and Nothing More

Lent, Day 2: It’s not too late to tweak your plan

So we’re into our second day of Lent and maybe you’re already thinking whatever you planned for Lent could use a little boost or support. Maybe the fasting part of Ash Wednesday was fine but you felt lacking in the prayer department. It’s not too late to gather up some resources to keep things moving in the right direction or to find a new direction even now, after Lent has officially begun. No one said you can’t change the plan once you’ve started on the path. You can always change the plan, especially if you’re not feeling spiritually fed by what you’re doing. This isn’t about meeting some earthly marker but about growing closer to God. Read more

Ashes to ashes: the journey begins…

I usually enter the Lenten season like gangbusters. Armed with books and plans — overly ambitious plans — I typically approach Ash Wednesday in spiritual attack mode. And by the second or third week of Lent, I’m totally deflated and disappointed. This year has been very different, and I haven’t yet figured out why. I sort of backed into Lent, still pondering my plans right up until I headed to church for Mass and ashes early this morning. Read more

Why you need Strange Gods this Lent

For I don’t know how long now, I’ve been carrying around Elizabeth Scalia’s book, Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life. It’s in my purse, on my desk, in my suitcase, on my nightstand, on the coffee table, on the counter. It had become a little like a permanent appendage, and still I hadn’t read more than a few pages here and there because I wanted to wait until I could give it my undivided attention, but I don’t have undivided attention. Ever. Read more

Fasting: A Lenten primer

This story originally appeared in Our Sunday Visitor in 2010, which amazes me because it was years before I had even thought about writing Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God and yet I can hear the spark of that book within this story. But I digress. Perhaps you’d like to enjoy this post with a greasy burger or a big piece of chocolate cake while you still can.

By Mary DeTurris Poust

Fasting and abstinence were once staples of Catholic life. There was a time not so long ago when you could spot Catholics in a restaurant simply by looking at what was on their plates on a Wednesday or Friday. But, with changes in Church rules and individual mindsets, fasting slowly began to fall out of fashion. Today, in popular Catholic culture at least, fasting is often considered a quaint practice of days gone by, something that pales in comparison to doing charitable works. Read more

Going gray: Showing my true colors

I don’t like fake things. Never have. I guess that’s why ever since I started regularly coloring my hair a little more than a year or so ago (before that I would do occasional color “rinses”), I felt a little bit like an impostor, like I was wearing a mask. I’m lucky, in a sense. I inherited my mother’s hair genes (as opposed to her colon genes, thank God), and so my hair didn’t even begin to gray until I neared 50, and even then, it was just a sprinkling of silver strands in a riot of curls. Not very noticeable. But our culture tells women to fear the gray. Any gray. Read more

Brokenness lets us see where true beauty lies

My “Soul Seeing” column, running in the current issue of the National Catholic Reporter:

If you look around my office prayer space or on my bedroom dresser, you’ll notice one constant: broken conch and whelk shells everywhere. Small and blue-gray, large and sun-bleached, twisting, turning, spiraling in that gorgeous and mysterious way that seashells do. Although I have one perfect channeled whelk shell that I purchased in Cape May, N.J., years ago, my prized possessions are broken shells of every shape and size because, as far as I’m concerned, they are far more beautiful than the ones that are perfectly intact and so lovely on the outside. Read more

Italy 2014: Order coffee like an Italian

So you’re going to Italy and you want to know how to order a coffee. Okay, well, first things first. If you ask for coffee, “un caffé,” you will get an espresso. It will be “short” and dark and may have a lovely golden rim around it. If you want something more akin to what you drink at home, you could ask or caffé americano or caffé lungo, and they’ll water down your espresso, but why would you want to do that? Caffé macchiato is an espresso “stained” with a little milk. Read more

Pregnant Montana teacher deserves to keep her job

Either we’re pro-life or we’re not pro-life, and firing an unwed pregnant Catholic school teacher is not pro-life no matter how you slice it. I don’t care what her contract said. I don’t buy the notion that children will be scandalized. None of it washes. Let’s face facts. We are all sinners. Some of us, unfortunately, sin in ways that are much more public than others, and so we are called out while everyone else slides by with their private sins rolling merrily along. Read more

Oceans of grace: keeping my eyes above the waves

This is one of those songs that stopped me in my tracks. I happened to have on K-LOVE, when I heard these words sung so sweetly:

You call me out upon the waters

The great unknown where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery

In oceans deep

My faith will stand Read more