self-denial

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 […]

Flourishing and Dying

About two months ago, our family moved to a new city and home. Life was on the cusp of a spring breakthrough, though we couldn’t yet perceive all of its wonder and glory. Our new backyard was riddled with sticks and brown, parched grass. Heavily pruned and unidentifiable bushes adorned the brick pathway through the side yard. Life was dormant, […]

Daily Reflection—Laying Down Your Life

"The Parable of the Good Samaritan" (detail) by Jan Wijnants

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). You may never have to actually die for someone you love. You may never have to die for a stranger. But you and I are called to die each day in countless ways both for our good and the good of […]

Fast so as to Feast

Photography © by Andy Coan

“But the goal is to save our appetite so that we can feast on other things… the Word of God… the Eucharist.” Some think Lent is a time for fasting.  I see it as a time of feasting. I come to this conclusion based on the story of the fig tree in Luke 13.  Three years without bearing fruit.  What […]

Daily Catholic Quote — from St. John of the Cross

"St. John of the Cross" (detail) by Francisco de Zurbarán

“Souls will be unable to reach perfection who do not strive to be content with having nothing, in such fashion that their natural and spiritual desire is satisfied with emptiness; for this is necessary in order to reach the highest tranquility and peace of spirit. Hence the love of God in the pure and simple soul is almost continually in act.” (St. John of the Cross, Doctor of […]

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, […]

Pray for Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty

It can be surprisingly easy to forget at times that Catholics and other people of faith are living in an increasingly hostile secular culture. But, we must never forget; we must remain watchful. The U.S. Bishops have called Catholics to prayer, fasting and abstinence for Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty. From the “Call to Prayer” Video produced by the United States […]

The Necessity of the Cross

Most of us in the Catholic world began our annual observance of Lent this past Ash Wednesday, although Sunday of the First Week of Lent officially starts the season. So, if you are off to a slow start, you are not as far behind as you might think! I provided some general, practical thoughts for approaching Lent in an article published on […]