"Incipit Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae. Aleph. Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena populo: facta est quasi vidua domina Gentium: princeps provinciarum facta est sub tributo. Beth. Plorans ploravit in nocte, et lacrimae ejus in maxillis ejus: non est qui consoletur eam ex omnibus caris ejus: omnes amici ejus spreverunt eam, et facti sunt ei inimici. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.”

"Here begins the Lamentation of Jeremiah the Prophet. Aleph. How lonely sits the city, full of the people: the mistress of the Gentiles becomes as a widow, and princess among the provinces has become a slave. Beth. Weeping, she hath wept in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: there is none to comfort her among all who were dear to her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return unto the Lord thy God.”

"Lent is a complex reminding of our own power. By fasting, we allow ourselves to feel the mighty stimulus of hunger — and ignore it. By fasting, we feel within ourselves the urge to react — and then we don’t. This denial is a powerful approval of the person, for if we can say “no” to stimulus, standing outside of the observable mechanics of nature, surely we have a unique place in the universe, a certain transcendence of the material world?"
Lent is for Everyone,
Marc Barnes



Overheard by a friend: “I like Pope Francis. He goes to confession and doesn’t believe in this Papal Infallibility BS. I bet Pope Benedict never went to confession.”

As any cursory Google search will tell you, papal infallibility was dogmatically defined at Vatican I (c.1870) and is only applicable in instances when the pope defines a teaching, moral or theological, that is to be held by the entire church. This is not an everyday occurance, but is most clearly seen in instances when the pope speaks ex cathedra (in his teaching capacity as the Bishop of Rome and successor of Peter) to define already-held Catholic beliefs. Two examples are the declarations of the Marian dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary. Theologians disagree over other instances, but many major scholars would argue that papal infallibility has never been formally exercised aside from those two.

So, papal infallibility has nothing to do with: the sins of a pope, whether or not he would participate in the sacrament of reconciliation, or whether or not the pope can ever be mistaken or say something that is incorrect. The pope is not immune from sin, nor is he unerring: he is human, and we are none of us perfect.

Lenten Reflections - Excerpts from Greats

Ash Wednesday, T.S. Eliot

Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying

Lent, George Herbert

It’s true, we cannot reach Christ’s forti’eth day; 
Yet to go part of that religious way, 
Is better than to rest: 
We cannot reach our Saviour’s purity; 
Yet we are bid, ‘Be holy ev’n as he,’ 
In both let’s do our best. 

Who goeth in the way which Christ hath gone, 
Is much more sure to meet with him, than one
That travelleth by-ways: 
Perhaps my God, though he be far before, 
May turn and take me by the hand, and more: 
May strengthen my decays. 

Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast
By starving sin and taking such repast, 
As may our faults control: 
That ev’ry man may revel at his door, 
Not in his parlour; banqueting the poor, 
And among those his soul.

"To be alone is the fate of all great minds - a fate deplored at times, but still always chosen as the less grievous of two evils."
— Arthur Schopenhauer, Counsels and Maxims
Florence Nightingale

"Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art,

It requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation,

as any painter´s or sculptor´s work; for what is the having to

do with dead canvas or dead marble,

compared with having to do with the living body,

the temple of God´s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts:

I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts.”

There is indubitable admiration for someone who can take the “dead canvas or dead marble” and bring motion to it; who makes something still resemble the living, and consequently, brings the living to gaze upon its body. The artist interacts with his work, bringing perspective, emotion, and direction to its spine. The work is an extension of him, and he accepts his role then, as caregiver.

As Florence hints, the body of a nurse’s work is that of the living and, like all artists, nurses are meticulous, ever bracing for the canvas’s cries, and acting for the sake of that beauty. Its spirit is real, it is felt, it is summoned, it is interpreted, charged, fed, and it is treated. It is an end.

"Anyone drawn to Catholicism primarily on the basis of political considerations, whether they come from the right or the left, is destined to be frustrated. Catholicism simply isn’t a political party, and it has enough internal diversity to give ideologues of any stripe a serious case of heartburn."
— John L. Allen Jr.,
National Catholic Reporter