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Hungry For God!

Last week I went without any food!

Was I starving myself?
Was I trying to loose weight, I mean, I lost 6 pounds?
Was I trying to save money?
Was I trying to be tough or show off?
Was I getting ready for surgery?

No, none of the above are reasons that I did not eat for one week. I was on a fast! This is the only reason that I did not eat any solid foods for five days then only one meal a day for two days. The reason I am telling you all this is because I feel more people need to fast.

I started reading about fasting in the scriptures more and more and I realized how many things the disciples in the early church fasted for. Then I start to read the lives of the Saints and I was able to see so much good and so many graces come from fasting. I started to yearn for those graces, my soul wanted more. It needed a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. Yes, I have a relationship with Him, but even in my great relationship with my wife or kids, I still want more time, love, understanding and knowledge of who they are. It was just the same with my God, I wanted more in my relationship with Christ, so I decided to give something up for Him and started fasting.

Sure I could give up TV or the computer, two things that probably would not be to bad to give up. But no, I know and you know that we can live perfectly fine without TV, computers, ipods and even cell phones. I am not saying it is not good to give up TV or even video games, but it was not enough. Plus, you don’t see the prophets of the Old Testament giving up their Dradle! No, they fasted from food. I wanted to fast from food because we all seem to think we cannot live without it, but Christ said, “It is written: ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.'”-Matthew 4:4. He said this in his battle against Satan, during his 40 day fast before He started His ministry.

The reason I point this out is because so many of us have things we are going through whether it be a rough spot in our marriage, an indifference in our families, a porn addiction or some other type of addiction, job trouble or maybe no job at all, someone sick in our family or group of friends or maybe even death. We are all suffering, some great and some small, but we are all inflicted with evil. This is why we need to fast to deepen our relationship with Christ, to receive and understand the graces we have received from God, to discern, and to become holy.

I was fasting for direction and understanding, so that I may be a better husband, a better father and a better son of God. Not that I was a bad husband, father or son of God. It is just that I think you would all agree we could all do a little better, or sometimes a lot better. So I encourage you to join with me in some type of food fast. There are many types and you do not give up all solids in all of them, I am just an extreme person so sometimes I need to be extreme for God. For instance my wife gave up meat and cut back on snacks. Pray about it and then join me and millions of others who fast for whatever the may need to fast about.

To lean more about fasting, “Why and How?” you are welcome to join me tonight, Wednesday, at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center where I will be doing a talk on “Fasting and Prayer – God’s Plan for You” The information is below. Remember fasting can help you with whatever you are going through, it can even cure diseases and help you when you are lost or need the help that no one else can give.

Faith Unplugged Speakers Series
Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center
5440 Moeller Ave
Norwood, Ohio

February 11, 2009 7:00pm
Topic is Fasting and Prayer God’s Plan for You


Get Organized: The Liturgical Garden Calendar

p80700111Since it is now over a month since the commencement of the secular new year, it is safe to say that if you haven’t used that hopefully beautiful parish calendar you picked up with the bulletin late last year, you’re not going to…

That is, unless you utilize it for the amazing garden calender you’re going to make right after you read this.

See, a parish calendar is perfect for organizing all the information to make your garden a true victory this year, and not only because you’ll schedule when to sow and potentially harvest, but also because you’ll be able to line all those green thumb dates up with some important liturgical ones.

First, use the unseasonably warm weather we are currently experiencing in Cincinnati this week to go and scout around your yard for  your 2009 seed needs.  If possible, use graph paper to make a plan of your 2009 garden, especially if you are looking to expand it or experiment with some new fruits or vegetables.

Then, buy your 2009 seeds, as well as any materials you will need for starting seeds inside!  We got ours at a local hardware store here in Hartwell.

Then, schedule on the calendar when you will be:

  • starting your seeds inside
  • moving the prospective transplants to a sheltered area outside about a week before transplanting (in order to acclimatize them)
  • planting the seeds and the transplanted seedlings
  • expecting to harvest (this info is usually listed on the seed packet) the fruits and veggies of your labor
  • sowing some seedlings with more frequency, in order to extend the harvest

Some other important dates to note are:

How the Economic Downturn Is Making Me a Better Human (And In Turn a Better Catholic)


1. Getting back to the ground level with a Victory Garden – even with the “snow bomb” of Tuesday afternoon still blanketing the earth here in Cincinnati, I can proudly say that there are 60 jalapeno plants germinating in my living room, just waiting to be transplanted, tended, and made into salsa.

2. Staying in – while we’re called to preach the Gospel out in the world, there is something homely, in the best possible sense of the word, about a good Agatha Christie or Dorothy L. Sayers book and a glass of wine on a Friday night, not to mention roasted root vegetables over ziti.

3. Staying in at the homes of other people – bars are over-rated, home-cooked meals almost always taste better, and dishes aren’t so painful when everyone chips in.

4. DIY home detailing – why did I not think to wallpaper my breakfast room in a 1950s era book on France before this?

5.  Considering the ramifications of my consumption –

6. Making tithing a bigger priority – because there are people with bigger issues than mine.

7.  Getting Snuggie.

8.  Getting serious about ways of forming authentic Christian community.

9.  Figuring out the city ordinances on keeping small, edible, animals

10. Listening to more of my husband’s (live) music, and buying less of the (however nicely) recorded stuff.


What have you been doing differently lately?  Do tell in the combox.

An Official Call for More Fish Fries

According to this morning’s Enquirer, the City of Cincinnati may soon call on residents to skip one meat meal a week.

Believe it or not, we have an official city Food Task Force — part of (again, believe it or not) our official Green Cincinnati “climate action plan.” Stay with me here. The food task force met for the first time last week, and its members are considering numerous recommendations about eating more fruits and vegetables. They say cutting down on the city’s meat consumption would reduce global warming, and they have great ideas for t-shirt slogans, including my personal favorite: “Cooling the Earth… With My Fork!”

Consider this my pre-order.

Anyway, once I stopped laughing, I realized the great potential this has for Cincinnati’s parishes. We’re all still supposed to abstain from eating meat on Fridays, which may come as news to those of us (perhaps most of us) who never heard that if you choose not to refrain from eating meat on Fridays, you are supposed to perform another small act of penance instead.

This is our opportunity to bring back the Friday fast, make some money for our parishes, AND be environmentally friendly! Far be it from me to tell Archibishop Pilarczyk what to do, but if I may make a suggestion, His Excellency might want to look into a joint press conference with Mayor Mallory. When the official recommendation does come out from the mayor, the Archbishop can suggest that all Catholics resume the Friday fast and all parishes put on perpetual Friday Fish Fries, which he can then invite all Cincinnatians to attend.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone, one that would ease many strained parish budgets. We could even sell t-shirts: “Cooling the Earth… One Fish Fry at a Time.”

Channel 12 Newsmakers

Channel 12’s Newsmakers program featured Archbishop Schnurr a few weeks ago.  The fifteen minute program can be found here.

Top Ten

Over at the Son Rise Morning Show Blog, I’ve jumped on the Catholic blogwagon by listing what I think are the Top Ten Most Fascinating Catholics of 2008. Here’s an excerpt:

1. Pope Benedict XVI:Inexplicably charitable in his decimation of the dictatorship of relativism, I’m still waiting for this guy to disappoint me. His visit to the United States this year put the Leader of the Free World in schoolboy mode. He’s reviving interest in liturgy, Scripture, and the Church Fathers. I heart my German Shepherd.
5. Chase Hilgenbrinck: It’s not the kind of thing you hear about every day: a Major League Soccer star leaves a professional athletic career to start seminary, but that’s exactly what this young man did. After a successful soccer career in Latin America, he was traded to the New England Revolution. However, after less than a year with the Revolution, he left it all to pursue a vocation to the priesthood. We’re excited to hear about what God does with this young man.
9. Tim Russert: When Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden argued on “Meet the Press” that the Catholic Church has held ambiguous views on abortion through the centuries, I’m sure I wasn’t alone in wishing that Tim Russert were still alive to put a holy smack down on them. Among political journalists, he had no equal. He had a knack for sifting through jargon and getting the truth out of politicians, which is a significantly more daunting task that most people realize. Requiescat in Pace.

For the full list, click here. Please feel free to add your own nominations in the combox below…

M. Swaim

Pumpkins for Life

Several youth in our Minster, Ohio parish of St. Augustine have once again organized a Pro-Life Pumpkin Memorial to be displayed on the steps of our church.  400 pumpkins are carved with a cross and lit to represent the children killed by abortion.  It will take place this Sunday, October 26th at 7:30pm.  What a unique and amazing show of support for life!  I am truly inspired by these amazing teens who work so hard to get the message out.  You can see pictures of last years event at  Hope to see you there!    ~jamie