All posts tagged: Feasts

Celebrating the Easter Season, Part 4: Food

We fast for the forty days of Lent. It stands to reason that we should find ways to feast for the entire fifty days of the Easter season. Most people are pretty adept at enjoying the extravaganza of Easter Sunday with chocolates, jelly beans, even Peeps (which, as my grandmother taught me, are really only good for Peep Jousting), but what happens after the inevitable stomachache and the ensuing sadness that the Easter baskets are empty? How can we truly keep the Easter feast for fifty days? We can BAKE. As my lifelong love of creating delicious treats has been reignited of late by my being introduced to the joys of The Great British Baking Show (watch and revel—you’ll thank me later), it seems to me that baking is a fairly simple way for people to continue their celebration of the Easter for the entire season. By baking something once each week, you can sustain a sense of joy and newness throughout Easter, and if you’re concerned about your waistline, you can use this as an …

The Feast of the Holy Family: Not Just a Model

Those of us suspicious of the pious platitudes that too often make their home in Catholic homiletic practice know that the feast of the Holy Family is a “code-red” day for such platitudes. We families assemble in our parishes and are exhorted that we should conform our domestic life according to the peaceful, loving relationships of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The image of the Holy Family that we receive is one pictured on holy cards where perfect beauty and order and attention are mutually given by Mary, Joseph, and Jesus (I suppose there were no smartphones to distract attention . . . otherwise Christ would have been found wandering around Jerusalem playing Pokémon GO instead of in the Temple). Those of us with toddlers normally do not hear this point of homiletic insight (ironically) because our children want to take up their vocation as amateur arsonists by playing with the candles placed before the statue of the Blessed Mother or to take a swim in the baptismal font. But for those of us able to attend to the preaching this …

Weeping with Rachel, in Sorrow and Hope

There are some stereotypes that often accompany the college stage of a woman’s life. Some (like loving babies, studying in coffee shops, etc), I embraced. Others I did my absolute best to avoid (and we’ll leave those ones to the imagination). My friends and I all proudly took up an affection for and gravitation toward all infants and young children within a mile radius as our stereotypical banner of choice. In fact, we had an unspoken arrangement that involved immediately informing each other of the presence of any nearby bundle(s) of joy. My girlfriends and I reveled in the wonder that small children have; we discussed how there is nothing on this earth more precious than tiny fingers, toes, and noses; we felt the urge to play peek-a-boo with any and all small children who crossed our paths. And if we saw a little tyke just wobbily learning to walk, it was absolutely the game-over-highlight of our day. Not having children of our own yet meant that we certainly still had a somewhat romanticized view of young children …

Advent Fun and Festivity: St. Lucy’s Day

Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Lucy, a third-century Sicilian girl who pledged her virginity to Christ and endured a martyr’s death when she refused to renounce her faith. Numerous versions of St. Lucy’s martyrdom are told: one version says that she miraculously became unmovable when a group of soldiers tried to drag her off to a brothel in order to violate her virginity. Another version relates that, when even a team of oxen couldn’t move Lucy, soldiers piled kindling around her and attempted to set it ablaze, but the wood could not be lit. Still another version states that the soldiers gouged out her eyes before beheading her (hence her symbol of eyes on a plate and her patronage of those suffering from blindness or other eye ailments). Of course, these varied versions are more the stuff of legend than of fact; however, at their core, they all present us with the witness of a courageous young woman who chose to suffer and die rather than betray her beloved spouse, Jesus. In many …

A Dogma of Consent

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception is a doctrine that continually mystifies me. Each year as December 8th rolls around, I annually struggle to understand what exactly is so significant here that elevates this feast to a holy day of obligation. The meditations of last year never seem to have borne discoveries that adequately satisfy my questioning. What is so important that it merits mandatory Mass attendance? Why is this doctrine one that Pope Pius IX felt infallibly imperative to declare solemnly a dogma in 1854? Currently, a pressing topic in sexual ethics on college campuses is the term “consent.” There are seminars, talks, trainings, and various programs all centered on teaching undergraduates the importance and value of consent. The moral imperative of obtaining the consent of one’s sexual partner is impressed upon students as an avenue towards helping the students understand the gravity of a sexual encounter, and inviting the students to step into another person’s shoes, envisioning the encounter through the eyes of the other. Accordingly, students are taught to be mindful of …

Snowfall in August

Imagine a quick snowfall on an otherwise brutally hot day in August. By all accounts, that’s exactly what happened on the morning of August 5, 352 upon the Esquiline Hill in Rome! Legend tells us that a childless aristocratic couple had asked the Blessed Virgin Mary to show them a worthy cause to which they could donate their fortune. This couple, John and his wife, was privileged to be visited by Our Lady in a dream in the night from August 4 to August 5, during which she asked for a church dedicated to her. As a sign, the exact location would be marked out in snow. During that same night, Pope Liberius (352-366) received the identical message in his sleep; so that at dawn, the pope—accompanied by his entourage, the couple, and many others—witnessed the unusual event of snow glistening in the August sun on the highest peak of Rome. Not only did the snow indicate the location of the church, it also allegedly marked the contours of the future church which was completed …