Wednesday 21st February 2018

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Ash Wednesday… The Greatest Fool Who Ever Lived

February 6, 2018 Featured Today No Comments

By JEFF MINICK

When she learned that Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday this year, my ten-year-old granddaughter moaned, “Nooooooo.” Her dreams of cake and candy hearts had just gone up in smoke.
When I learned that Easter falls on April Fools’ Day this year, I thought, How appropriate.
The Feast of Love, February 14, and The Feast of Fools, April 1, strike me as the perfect bookends for the Lenten season and its Easter Finale.
After all, the Nazarene whose sacrifice, death, and Resurrection stamp their imprimatur on this season was the greatest of lovers. Caritas lies at the heart of His teaching. He commanded us to obey the two Great Commandments: to love God and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. He embedded pity and mercy in love when He saved the adulteress from stoning. He taught His followers to repay hatred with love. He taught love by example, by straight-up talk, and by parables: the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, and the Lost Sheep.
“Greater love hath no man than this,” He declared, “that a man lay down his life for his friends.” He then proceeded to do just that, giving Himself over to the mockery and spittle of a mob, to the lash and a crown of thorns, to die as a figure of derision, nailed to a cross beneath a sign inscribed INRI, Latin initials for “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”
And like all true lovers, the Nazarene was a fool. Only a fool for love could come into this world, preach charity and goodness, mercy and peace, and offer Himself as a sacrifice for all the sins of a wicked humanity. If, as He claimed, He was God, then He was also omniscient and so knew that those for whom He had sacrificed Himself would fail Him, that wars among nations would not cease, that human beings would hate each other for their religion or the color of their skin, that men and women would continue to break the Commandments, a prescience that doubtless explains why He established a means of forgiveness and repentance as vehicles into His Kingdom.
Like King Lear’s Fool or the jester in Edward Rowland Sill’s poem, The Fool’s Prayer, the Nazarene was the only member of the court who spoke truth to power, who by His wisdom and adept speech could turn barbed questions back onto His inquisitors. “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s,” He told one of these tricksters.
He outraged the elite of His day by dining with tax collectors and speaking with prostitutes, and performed miracles in some cases to silence His attackers. Pilate tried to portray the Nazarene as a sort of courtly fool by having Him dragged before the mob wearing a crown of thorns and royal purple, a faux king, and declaring “Behold the man,” an attempt, one philosopher has written, to turn tragedy into comedy. Pilate’s staged buffoonery failed, rousing from the mob only louder cries for crucifixion.
In the Sermon on the Mount, The Greatest Fool Who Ever Lived delivers to His listeners the heart of His teaching. Placed in the context of today’s narcissism and materialism, these teachings seem madness. Who but a fool would tell us to forgo the treasures of this Earth? Who but a fool would tell us not to worry about tomorrow? Who but a fool would tell us to pray for our enemies and for those who persecute us, to turn the other cheek?
The Feast of Love and the Feast of Fools are upon us. This year, the former brings not only hearts and flowers, but also ashes and fasting, the latter not only pranks but the resurrection of a dead man.
And what of us?
Is there a message for us in this coincidence of festivals?
Will we be fools for Love?

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FRENCH CATHOLICS TO PRAY NATIONAL ROSARY

PARIS (ChurchMilitant.com) – Catholics in France are rallying for a nationwide Rosary on April 28. In the past five months, Church Militant has reported on about a half dozen national Rosary rallies organized in countries such as Poland and Ireland. Inspired by…Continue Reading

Told he has not long to live, Catholic Studies founder Don Briel reflects on dying well

Don Briel, founder and longtime director of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, was diagnosed in mid-January with two forms of acute leukemia. He was told the cancers were untreatable and he had a month…Continue Reading

Pope Francis says Paul VI will be canonized this year

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Pope reappoints O’Malley to head further work of safeguarding commission

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The Latest: Trump to visit Florida after school shooting

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U.S. bishops: federal budget should not be balanced ‘on backs of the poor’

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Planned Parenthood sticker stirs controversy at Connecticut Catholic high school

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Mississippi state house votes to ban abortion after 15 weeks

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All But Three Democrats Voted to Allow Unlimited Abortions Up to Birth

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Athanasius Schneider invites world’s bishops to sign Profession of Immutable Truths

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Cardinal Eijk Asks Pope to Clarify Questions About “Remarried” Divorcees

As Katholisch.de, the official website of the German bishops, reports today, Cardinal Willem Eijk, the Dutch cardinal and Metropolitan Archbishop of Utrecht, requested that Pope Francis bring light into the confusion concerning the question as to how to deal with…Continue Reading

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Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

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  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

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Today . . .

Catholics urged to affirm ‘liberating truth’ of Humanae Vitae

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Correcting Fr. James Martin

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Dozens of U.S. bishops sign up for Amoris Laetitia seminars at dissident Catholic colleges

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Fulton Sheen’s Final Resting Place Not Yet Final

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Blessed Paul VI Revisited

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President Trump Bans U.S. Aid for International Abortions

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

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The Effects Of The Sacrament Of Matrimony

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Catholic Replies

Q. Concerning what our Blessed Mother said in Fatima about the rosary, I am confused as to whether or not she meant us to meditate on the mysteries while we are praying the Hail Marys or whether she meant us to meditate on the mysteries right before we say the Hail Marys. The consensus seems to be that we are…Continue Reading

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Catholic Heroes… St. Agnes Of Bohemia

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Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Cortona

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