Self-denial

The Not-So-Best Sellers

It would be no problem at all to list a dozen themes that are both prominent in the New Testament and are rarely spoken of from most pulpits. Among these we may mention self-denial, temptation, sin, evil or idle talk, sparing-sharing way of life, virginity, detachment, continual prayer, hell, heaven. Factual poverty is one of […]

Oh, Happiness

[W]hat if I decided that to each thing I gave up I would attach a certain prayer?  God, my fast from desserts today is my prayer for the freedom of the Chinese from religious persecution. The fruit of this small sacrifice is at least two-fold; firstly, it teaches self-denial, which, inasmuch as it teaches contentment, is […]

The “You Shall Nots”

The “you shall nots” are less a list of restrictions and limitations than an invitation to keep turning back to God, who will “satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Ps 145:16). The “shall nots” say, “Don’t steal that; look at me. Don’t objectify her with lust; look at me. Don’t nurse your anger unto […]

Love Beyond the Call of Duty

Love is manifest in self-giving, self-sacrifice, and self-denial. God is commanding us to an absolute unswerving commitment to holiness, because He knows that our happiness and fulfillment depend on it. If we obey completely and totally, all we’ve done is pay the minimum requirement. “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our […]

Some Other Yes or: When Something Comes Alive

There is celibacy that is a calling, freely chosen outside of religious life. And there is celibacy or periods of abstinence even within marriage. They all share an important trait: in saying no to one thing, you open your whole world to some other yes. —from May Crowning, Mass, and Merton And Other Reasons I Love Being Catholic by […]