We have a very ecletic selection of web browsing this week:
The Public Appeal of Ash Wednesday (First Things)
Simcha Fisher reminds us that the all our efforts during Lent are pointless unless you Just Pray.
The Beauty of Lent and Sin - If we can't admit we sin, we will never know the beautiful thrust of forgiveness that lands us within God's embrace
John Allen at NCR has Three myths about the church to give up for Lent.
Amy Becker has a Lenten reflection on What does drinking wine have to do with needing God?
Want to explore the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem?
Ireland and Poland: the two rebel daughters - Once regarded as the most Catholic of countries in Europe But on the diplomatic level, this is only a memory. The respective governments are on a war footing with the Holy See.
In this weeks Irish Catholic, Nuala O'Loan reflects on Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's comments that the Church in Ireland is at breaking point.
Memory can be a tricky thing, but Laurence Freeman reminds us that sometimes "we must remember that it is always easier to forget".
Carl McColman considers A Medieval Mystic Superstar and discusses will Hildegard of Bingen be canonized this fall? If so, not only Catholics should rejoice.
Kevin Myers has a reflective peace on the great Irish fascination - the weather - and notes that We have no proper terms for the seasonal hybrid that now waylays us. Is it sprinter? Or wing? Possibly it is sumter or winmer.
BBC recently had a three part series on Catholicism in UK and the first of the series looked at Why do men become Catholic priests?
Salt + Light has a short video on what it means to be a priest today - "The Hands of Christ in a Broken World".
Elizabeth Scalia has a challenging article - A Mass less Ordinary - in this weeks First Things where she discusses the need for silence and space in places of worship and contrasts the open acceptance of silence in a yoga studio compared to the market place like approach to gathering in some catholic churches on a Sunday. Is there a via media somewhere? - "Out of curiosity, I recently visited a yoga class with a friend. It was held in a simple, unadorned room. Outside of it, there was a great deal of socializing and chatting, but once people entered the room, all talking ceased. People moved carefully, so as not to disturb others who, having placed their mats on the floor, were sitting or kneeling in postures that suggested recollection. This oasis of calm remained until the instructor arrived, and then—silent, still, but for the teacher’s voice—the class began to move through their forms: forty-five to fifty minutes of focus, silence, and shared striving. At class’ end, the students bowed respectfully to each other, and made their exit, and in the lobby the chatter started up again—friendly, hospitable talk, some encouragement; someone complimented my friend on something she’d improved. Amid the “see you next time’s” it occurred to me that this little class was successfully “being community”—the goal of so many Catholic parishes—but without giving up its reverences."
From NPR an interesting interview - "“Spiritual but not religious,” is the box that an awful lot of Americans are checking these days. Into God, as they define God. Into soul. Into spirituality. But not, very often, in a house of worship. In church. Big church historian Diana Butler Bass as been watching the trend, along with a whole lot of worried church-goers, for many years. Now she’s ready to call it, in her faith and beyond. The end of the old. The birth of something powerful and new. This hour, On Point: God after religion. The end of church, she says, and the birth of a new spiritual awakening."
For those interested in iconography a short piece about a Romanian nun who is leading a renaissance in her countries history of iconography.
It is Seachtine na Gaeilge here in Ireland in the week before St Patrick's Day and across the "pond" there is renewed interest in learing the Irish language.
Over at A Seat at the Table, Claire reflects on how struggling with the institutional church may actually be good for our faith.
At the same time Christian Wiman reflects on how By love we are led to God - Faith is found in the mutable and messy process of our lives.
Meet Hilarion Alfeyev, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, Vicar of the Moscow diocese, and chairman of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Department for External Church Relations. He is an interesting man who while being a bishop is also a composer!
From the Catholic Herald - How I became a medieval-style anchorite.
Gazing into the Abyss - The sudden appearance of love and the galvanizing prospect of death lead a young poet back to poetry and a “hope toward God”