Square Zero

Archive for March, 2006

Money “Wasted” on Coffee?

Posted by Eric (March 29, 2006 at 2:21 pm)

Cappuccino (Spring 2003)I listen to a lot of public radio. The political bias drives me mad, of course, but nowhere else can you hear people consistently speaking in complete paragraphs and employing polysyllabic words. The freedom from ads is another plus, and with your liberal-bias-filter set to 11, you can actually learn quite a lot from public radio.

(As to why there is no conservative version of public radio, I would suggest that there is no viable market for any intellectually rigorous radio; such programming must be subsidized to exist at all, and whereas liberals tend to embrace government subsidy, conservatives tend to eschew it.)


Posted in What Not | 3 Comments »

Forgive Us Our Debts

Posted by Eric (March 21, 2006 at 5:54 pm)

The unforgiving servantThis morning I walked down the block to the local Latin Rite church for Mass and Confession. The Gospel for today was Matthew 18:21-35, the parable of the unforgiving servant.

I wonder why the servant whose massive debt was forgiven was so ready to demand repayment of the debt he was owed by his fellow servant. I would think he’d be walking on air after his interview with the master, whose mercy gave him a new lease on life. But he’s not—somehow, his heart is full of bitterness.


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“By Bread Alone”

Posted by Eric (March 20, 2006 at 7:03 pm)

“He humbled you and let you hunger . . . that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)

Loaf of BreadWe are nearly at Mid-Fast, and I’d like to return to Alexander Schmemann’s comment, quoted in my last entry, that “fasting is the only means by which man recovers his true spiritual nature.”

At first this statement might appear contradictory. Doesn’t fasting make ever more present to us the fact that we do, indeed, rely on bread most utterly? Doesn’t fasting show us that we are but flesh and bones—hungry flesh and aching bones?


Posted in Byzantine, Faith | 2 Comments »

A Bit Slow on Fasting

Posted by Eric (March 10, 2006 at 4:45 pm)

“There is no Lent without fasting.” —Alexander Schmemann

HogsheadLately I’ve heard some interesting discussion on Catholic radio about fasting and abstinence. It’s encouraging to hear people talking about fasting and even proposing to restore the tradition of abstinence from meat on Fridays throughout the year. But some of the discussion seems to miss the mark.


Posted in Byzantine, Catholicism, Faith | 5 Comments »

Clean Week

Posted by Eric (March 3, 2006 at 12:21 am)

Original image by Davide GuglielmoThe first week of the Great Fast is traditionally known as “Clean Week,” which is a euphemistic way of saying “Severe Gastro-Intestinal Disquietude Week,” as the body adapts to a diet free of animal products. I’ve got some friends who have decided to do a bread and water fast for the entire period of Lent. I can only image what they’re going through.

I’d love to say more about fasting right now, but I’ve got a pretty nasty cold on top of the rigors of Clean Week and I’ve already stayed up too late trying to learn the Lamplighting Psalm in Romanian Tone 8, a doozy. Tone 5 is even worse—like, say, a vegan fast compared to a bread and water fast.


Posted in Byzantine | 10 Comments »