discipline

Scruples and Moderation: Understanding the Advice of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Near the end of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises is a curious section titled, “Some Notes Concerning Scruples.” Scrupulosity is one of those pesky spiritual problems that we don’t always recognize but can give us a lot a grief if left unchecked. Believe me, I know! Never heard of scrupulosity? How about Catholic Guilt? Scrupulosity is Catholic Guilt run […]

What Does the Bible Teach About Fasting?

"Into the Wild" © by Jef Murray—(Click sketch for artist's gallery.)

Lent is fast approaching, so I thought we should revisit self-denial. Fasting and other forms of self-denial, as spiritual practices of materially subduing and controlling the physical appetites of the body, help us, by God’s grace, to enable the soul to more perfectly and freely pray.  This leads to a deeper union with God and thus we become better stewards of the […]

Is Tardiness a Vice?

I am trying to finish this post, well after my deadline, and just emailed Deacon Mike an apology about not having it finished yet. I am submitting a post about being late… late. The irony of this is not lost on me. There is an increased tendency in my life to run late, and it’s not something of which I […]

Does Life Feel Like a Chore?

Photography © by Andy Coan

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus makes the statement “my yoke is easy, my burden light.”  For many of us who follow him, this does not seem to square with our experience.  This post discusses the reasons for this.  And also tells us why the key to rest involves discipleship—coming under the discipline of the Lord’s strong but gentle heart. Reflection on […]

Post-Lenten Snooze

  Every other year or so, I give up my snooze button for Lent. Some years it goes well and some years I fail repeatedly.  But every year, I abandon the good habit after Lent. That’s not how it’s supposed to be—whenever we cultivate good habits during Lent, it doesn’t make much sense to discard them once Easter comes.  I don’t […]

Set Your Teen Up for a Life Of Virtue

In the style of Dorothy Sayers, I write this post to help parents raise their teenagers to be virtuous adults. While my kids are younger, I was once a teen myself. Furthermore, I teach eighth and ninth grades, which means I am around teenagers a lot. Still, I find myself lower in degree of experience of those who are tasked with educating […]

My Number One Parenting Tip

A friend of mine came to visit last week with her small army of young children. We chatted while I slathered peanut butter and jelly on slices of wheat bread and threw them at the masses. Every five minutes, we filled requests for cups of water and changed diapers and broke up scuffles over broken toys. In between the commotion […]

The Biblical Basis for the Catholic Practice of Fast and Abstinence

"Christ in the Desert" by Kramskoy

Last week, I asked the question, “Are you looking for the secret to a better, deeper, more joyful life in Christ?” and responded by exploring the reasons for the Catholic practice of self-denial. We saw that “fasting and other forms of self-denial, as spiritual practices of materially subduing and controlling the physical appetites of the body, helps us, by God’s grace, […]

A Mom’s Reflection on Bench-Warming and Basketball

For nine years my son has practiced basketball for six to nine months out of every year. Usually at the end of the season we, as a family, wonder why we allowed him to do it! All those long days at school for practice time. All those even longer days of C team, JV team and then Varsity games. All […]

What Every Mother Needs to Know About Raising Catholic Kids

The Blessing of Children

  It was early winter, 1987. I was 24. I slipped into the bathroom for a blessed moment alone, just days after the birth of my first-born son. His had been a difficult birth. He was a challenging baby, not sleeping for more than an hour at a time, and fussy when he was awake. He didn’t nurse well. Or […]