Archive for the ‘Jesus Christ’ Tag

spring cleaning for the soul

How I wish it were spring. It is a dreary, cold, New England March day, and today I have made the official pronouncement: I am ready for spring.  Now, I adore New England winters. I love the cold days, the snow, the slightly ever-grey sky, the excuse to curl up with a good book and a mug of coffee. But inevitably at some point I start to pine for spring, and that time is now.

Since I can’t make spring weather appear, I decided to go to the next-best thing—spring cleaning! I found a great Spring Cleaning Challenge through Pinterest and decided to begin to ready our home for spring. I don’t know who came up with the idea of spring cleaning, but it is a brilliant concept—after a winter of being holed up in our apartment and baking almost every day, we are very much ready for a good spring cleaning.

Is Lent, perhaps, “spring cleaning for the soul?” We rush around the rest of the year, preparing for different milestones—both liturgical and non—4th of July picnics, the first day of school,  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas. Each season has its challenges and highlights. But Lent is quiet. Lent is reflective. It is sacrificial. It’s a time when we “clean house,” but in a spiritual way. Wouldn’t it be neat to make a spiritual spring cleaning list?  To think of all of the things I need to get rid of—grudges, hurt, guilt, misunderstandings—and try to work through each one before Easter?

Now is the perfect time. This Sunday is Laetare Sunday—Laetare is Latin for “Rejoice!” and this Sunday we rejoice that we are getting close to Easter.  Laetare Sunday is about the half way mark between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, which makes it the perfect time to check in with myself about my Lenten journey.  Have I been keeping up with my additional prayers? Have I been sacrificing the little things that I promised I would?  I think that I may draft a list—a “soul cleaning” challenge—and pray that I can enter into the joyful Easter season with a clean heart, fully ready to embrace the wonder of Christ’s Resurrection. And of course, the warmer weather.

Asking too much

I have been deeply saddened by the way the Catholic Church has been represented by the media in the past few weeks.  In yesterday’s edition of the New York Times, there was yet another article negatively depicting the Catholic Church. Each time I read one of these articles, I am disheartened by both the tone and the lack of knowledge of the true teachings of the Church that these articles seem to display.

In his latest column, Frank Bruni confronts the issue of celibacy in the priesthood. To be sure, there are intelligent and valid arguments for allowing priests to marry.  To clarify, priestly celibacy—that is, not allowing priests to marry—is a church discipline, which means that a future Pope, if inspired to do so, can change this teaching. Priest were allowed to marry in the early Church.  Peter, the first Pope of the Catholic Church, was married (see Matthew 8:14, in which Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law.)

Rather than focus on the genuine reasons for allowing priests to marry, Bruni cheapens the vow of celibacy.  He writes, “…let’s give a moment’s thought to loneliness. And longing. And this: the pledge of celibacy that the church requires of its servants is an often cruel and corrosive thing. It runs counter to human nature. It asks too much.”

What Bruni seems to be missing is that Catholicism, and Christianity more broadly, is based on the idea of “asking too much.”  We are about sacrifice. One needs to look no further than the cross to explain what sacrifice means to the Catholic Church. Sacrifice is everything. One could argue, “God asked too much of Christ when God asked His son to be tortured, to die on a cross.” Indeed, Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for us. So isn’t it fitting that the men who are chosen to be representations of Christ on earth, in persona Christi, sacrifice something seemingly unthinkable in our hyper-sexualized culture?

If the Church someday changes its teachings on allowing priests to marry, I trust that it is what God wants for God’s Church.  But New York Times Opinion page—show a range of opinions.  Please. This reader is tired of the same negative portrayal of a sacred institution.

Bob Rice

Catholic speaker, musician, author, teacher

domestic diva, M.D.

my mother raised the perfect housewife...then I went to med school

Faithfully Flawed

The Spiritual Evolution of a Faulty Catholic

Contemplative Homeschool

Helping the whole family grow in intimacy with Christ

The Elephant Project

one day, one prayer, one bite at a time