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The Temptation of Mardi Gras

Posted by Eric (February 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm)

From the Vesperal Stichera of Forgiveness SundayToday is Mardi Gras—Fat Tuesday—the day of feasting before Lent begins in the the Western Church. For a Byzantine Catholic, whose Lenten fast began Sunday evening with Forgiveness Vespers, Mardi Gras presents a particular temptation. But not what you might think.

It is not that one is tempted by the indulgence of Mardi Gras going on in the rest of the culture, even among those who do not know that Fat Tuesday is followed Ash Wednesday.

In fact, it is the opposite temptation: the temptation to be like the Pharisee who, in the Byzantine Rite we recalled three weeks ago on the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee, one of the Weeks of Preparation in advance of the Great Fast: “God, I thank thee that I am not like other men . . . (more…)

Posted in Byzantine, Catholicism, Culture & Society, Faith | 2 Comments »

Repave My Soul!

Posted by Eric (March 28, 2007 at 6:19 pm)

Click for larger versionWhile looking for pictures for a forthcoming post on boys and girls at play, I came across this photo that I took in downtown Chicago last November. We were protesting abortion at Daley Plaza that day, and they were repaving Clark Street.

Rough Grooved Surface. Sounds about like how I feel right now at this point in the Great Fast. Come, Holy Steamroller, and repave my soul!

Posted in Faith, Photos & Art | Comments Off on Repave My Soul!

Spirituality for Grown-Ups

Posted by Eric (March 22, 2007 at 12:22 pm)

Mary of Egypt, written by Eileen McGuckinToday we chant the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, one of those landmarks of Great Lent like last week’s observation of Mid-Lent. Of Mid-Lent, by the way, one might be tempted to say, “It’s all down hill from here!” but in fact it’s all very much uphill from here, with the air thinning at every step.

The fifth week of the Great Fast is difficult, I find. Somehow, it feels as if it’s the sixth week—as if Great and Holy Week is just upon us. But it is not; there is another whole week of Lent to go, after this one, before that week that, because of its intensity, is actually more endurable. Pascha is in view, and already in the midst of deeper prayer and more rigorous fasting the chords of paschal joy are beginning to vibrate softly within the soul.

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Posted in Byzantine, Faith | 3 Comments »

Fast Food Is Slow Food

Posted by Eric (March 16, 2007 at 2:03 pm)

VeggiesThis Lent I’ve been taking a lot more time with my food, eating more carefully—this at the urging of my wife, who has not liked to see me living primarily on almonds, dried fruit and Clif bars.

It may seem contradictory to the whole spirit of fasting to pay more attention to one’s food. Perhaps it would be better to be like St. Francis, who ate whatever stale hunk of brown bread might be dropped into his bowl. But even Francis would eat that hunk of bread with true pleasure.

In any case, I’ve been making an effort to eat well, even while eating less—to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and natural whole grains, and to take the time to prepare my own meals rather than packaged, prepared foods. It’s been a good experience, not only for me but for the whole family, since I’ve taken over some of the cooking (especially on Sundays), and left-overs mean more meals we can eat together.

I find that I have a much greater appreciation of food when I take the time to prepare things myself—which opens up the possibility of deeper gratitude to the

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A Long and Sustained Effort

Posted by Eric (March 5, 2007 at 1:00 pm)

Blessing Hand by Fr. Tom LoyaWe are now in the third week of the Great Fast. I wrote several posts about the Fast last year, but as yet I don’t feel called to write much about it this year. However, I do want to address the question of whether one ought to fast on Sundays during Lent.

My short answer is: Yes.

(more…)

Posted in Byzantine, Faith | 2 Comments »
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