Did You Have a R-ASH Wednesday?

“I’m giving up all tv (except for March Madness), Facebook, and coffee is a thing of the past.Super Catholic

In fact, nothing edible will grace my gullet for forty days. And I’m going to read the entire Bible front to back in Hebrew and Greek while wearing a hair shirt that would bring Bigfoot to tears.”

Sound familiar? We’re all big talkers at the beginning of Lent, aren’t we?

We’re going to get really holy, get really in touch with our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross. We’re strong enough! Who needs food! (It’s a scientific fact that most rash Lenten resolutions are made on a full stomach.)

So how’s it going? Uh-huh…thought so.

If you’ve struggled to keep up with your lenten resolutions just take a deep breath and relax. It’s hard to sacrifice. It’s meant to be hard.

And for those of us who bit off more than we could chew, it can be discouraging because we weren’t able to perfectly keep our promises. We failed!

But let’s keep a couple things in mind.

First of all, be realistic. If you’re trying to do too much, take a step back and get real. I’m not trying to get anyone off the hook, because the whole point is to be sacrificial and it’s never easy.

But at the same time, it would do us good to recall the famous line from Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry character in Magnum Force: “Man’s got to know his limitations…”

Second, the Lord is merciful. He’s not mad at you for failing. He might be chuckling at your inability to put down the Oreo and walk away, but he’s not mad. He’s the most merciful person in the world!

Remember, Lenten sacrifice isn’t for him. It’s for us. It’s meant to help us take our eyes off of this world and focus on the next. It’s meant to help us love Christ more, not get down on ourselves.

So if you’ve fallen a few times already, stand up and brush the Little Debbie crumbs off your pants. Then pick up your Lenten cross and start again…but maybe with one made from a little lighter wood.

God bless!

Matthew

 

P.S. As a special Lenten gift, I’m giving you “Beer, Chocolate & Value-Added Suffering” for FREE. It’s chapter 5 of my book Louder Than Words: The Art of Living as a Catholic. 

Click the image of the book or the link above and it will come right to your inbox. God bless!

 

074: Taking Your Lent to the Next Level

<scroll to bottom for podcast player>

How about if we do it differently this time?

I don’t know about you, but it seems like every year Ash Wednesday just sneaks up on me and I’m left scrambling trying to figure out what I’m going to do for Lent.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one.

But let’s make a change. Let’s make this Lent the best one ever. How? I’m glad you asked.

In this episode of the Art of Catholic podcast we’re going to discuss:

  • How to prepare for Lent…and keep it rolling all 40 days
  • How the Catholic liturgical calendar mimics the spiritual life
  • What the pre-Vatican II Church (and current Polish Catholic Church) did to prepare for Lent…(and it sounds like a pretty good idea)
  • Why the Crown of Thorns has to precede the Crown of Life
  • The nuclear power of redemptive suffering (and how it works)
  • The two Lenten practices to avoid

All that and more in this power-packed Lenten episode of the Art of Catholic!

God bless you!

Matthew

If you liked this episode, check out these, too:

Episode 47 – The Secret Back Door Out of Purgatory Nobody Talks About

Episode 48 – How Almsgiving Can Save Your Life…Now and Later


P.S. As a special Lenten gift, I’m giving you “Beer, Chocolate & Value-Added Suffering” for FREE. It’s chapter 5 of my book Louder Than Words: The Art of Living as a Catholic. 

Click the image of the book or the link above and it will come right to your inbox. God bless!

 

 

071: Understanding Indulgences…Finally

<scroll down for podcast>

We’re not supposed to talk about them.

They’re supposed to be like that embarrassing uncle no one mentions by name at family functions. But that’s crazy.

In this episode of the Art of Catholic podcast we’re going to unveil the beautiful theology and practice of indulgences. Far from being an indefensible leftover we’d rather sweep under the medieval rug, indulgences are a powerful witness to God’s mercy. They are an incredible help in our journey to heaven.

But we need to understand them.

So as to help us make use of the Church’s treasury of merit (and really understand what in the world the “treasury of merit” even is), I brought in Mary Moorman. She’s a brilliant lady who recently wrote a pretty thick book on the topic titled, Indulgences: Luther, Catholicism, and the Imputation of Merit.

Among other issues, we’ll discuss:

  • What an indulgence is and how to obtain one
  • Pope St. John Paul II’s insightful take on indulgences
  • The very important difference between sacraments and indulgences
  • Why indulgences can be a (very) surprising bridge between Catholics and Protestants
  • Why Martin Luther should have loved indulgences…but didn’t
  • The deep connection between almsgiving and indulgences
  • Why you can’t understand indulgences without understanding the nature of sin

As with so many topics we cover on the Art of Catholic podcast, this one is both theologically rich and eminently practical.

And just to round things out, I’m once again bringing in the brilliant Bible scholar, Curtis Mitch, to add a little “somethin’-somethin.'” It’s another incredible installment of Next Level Scripture. He provides some unbelievably cool Old Testament background on the whole subject that brings the whole topic into focus.

Any way you slice it, this is a great episode. Hope you enjoy.

God bless!

Matthew

P.S. If you liked this episode, you’ll probably like these, too:

047: The Secret Back Door out of Purgatory Nobody Talks About

048: How Almsgiving Can Save Your Life…Now & Later


 

All who have been lost were lost because they did not pray.” St. Alphonsus Liguori.

Don’t be lost! Grab your FREE copy of my quick guide to deeper prayer 8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life! 

It’s an easy step-by-step summary of the spiritual giants of the Church designed to help you rocket to God!

 

Don’t miss a show! Subscribe to The Art of Catholic by clicking this link and then clicking “View in iTunes” under the picture and then “Subscribe”!  (I listen to my podcasts on using Overcast. It’s free and works better than the Apple Podcast player. Get it here.)

Walk in the footsteps of Jesus! Check out the new video about my Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in March 2018!  It’s the trip of a lifetime!

Click here for trip details.