Lenten Reflection

by Kay Stoltz

Lent; a time of reflection and fasting. Particularly fasting. We ask what is in the way of our spiritual growth? What are our guilty pleasures? As we contemplate a fast, we see two views, two sides to every coin, a yin and a yang, a black and a white. For every sin, an opposite virtue.

I propose another approach, a positive one inspired by a writing from Ann Fontaine.

Substitute feasting for fasting.



Fast from judgment, Feast on compassion. Judging’s easy, and almost virtuous. Sloppy work, unkempt appearance, surly attitude? Where are their standards? However, if I walked in their shoes? How differently would I look at them?

Feast: I share God’s love and help where I can.

Fast from greed, Feast on sharing

Fast from scarcity, Feast on abundance: I wish I had, why don’t I have . . . poor me. Feast on my blessings, and God’s abundant love, don’t look over the fence.

Fast from fear, Feast on peace
Fast from lies, Feast on truth
Fast from gossip, Feast on encouragement

Fast from evil, Feast on kindness


Fast from anxiety, Feast on patience: We are anxious about St. Catherine’s future, and we worry. Be patient and trust in God.

Fast from apathy, Feast on engagement: Don’t get involved, sit on the sidelines? No, feast on working to make our world better. This world, this church, St. Catherine’s needs every one of us.

Fast from discontent, Feast on gratitude: Our lives didn’t work out as we wished? Feast and give thanks every day for what God has given us, including this day.

Fast from discouragement, Feast on hope

Fast from pride, Feast on humility: I didn’t really want to talk about this one. Humility is not one of my strong suits. This I must feast.


Fast from criticism, Feast on praise: Fast from seeing mistakes. Feast and find the honest effort, the job well done, and heap the praise.


Fast from hatred, Feast on love: Hatred comes in many forms; intolerance, anger, hostility, ridicule, cheating. Feast on God’s Love. Does it shine from us? Do people feel it?
What will be your fast? What will be your feast?

Seeing Clearly

by Tricia Gates Brown On the surface, this Sunday’s New Testament readings in the Common Lectionary, from 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 and Mark 1:21-28, seem not to have much in common—but they actually touch on a similar theme. They are both about seeing clearly. First, the Pauline passage. 1 Corinthians 8 is part of a “letter”…

Read More

Riding Shotgun

by Kay Stoltz Riding Shotgun: That’s the name of my new journal. A picture of a bike with a shotgun strapped from the back wheel to the handlebars is imprinted on the front cover. A knapsack is affixed to the handlebars. Sounds threatening. Riding shotgun in the Old West meant sitting beside the driver, holding…

Read More

Advent 2: Thresholds

Sermon for Advent 2 by Kay Stoltz Isaiah says: “See, I am sending a messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way.” And, “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” And so the world stands at the threshold of a new life…

Read More

The reconciling power of believing you are loved

by Tricia Gates Brown As I often do, I turned for inspiration for this essay to the lectionary readings of the day. Among them: two vengeance Psalms, a grisly murder narrative from Esther, and a fire-and-brimstone ditty from the Gospel of Matthew, with its characteristic presaging of weeping and the oddly outmoded gnashing of teeth.…

Read More

School of Life

by Tricia Gates Brown Lately I’ve stumbled upon articles, books, and interviews about the origin of belief, about why we believe what we believe. It seems to be a conversation in the air these days—at least among readers, in this era marked by denial of human-caused climate-change, or the apparently widespread belief that mass shootings…

Read More

Things Missing

By Kay Stoltz I lost my necklace the other day. It wasn’t valuable, under $20, as I recall. Still, every time I wore it, I received compliments. Understated, the colors muted enough, and varied enough, it went with everything I own. Beads strung with a fishing line, monofilament, I guess you call it. Each round…

Read More

Peace is the Way: On not becoming what you resist

by Tricia Gates Brown Mark 11:20-25. In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself…

Read More

Even Amidst the Storm

  by Tricia Gates Brown Chaos makes people anxious. In fact, some people deliberately foment chaos because chaos also creates compliance. The person who created the chaos can offer to put an end to it, and thus to the anxiety, if only the subordinate will fall in line and comply with the chaos-maker’s program. Usually…

Read More

Jacob’s Ladder

by Tricia Gates Brown   I sit with Brother Martin Gonzales, over sixty years a monk and reflecting on the nearness of life’s end. We are at Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey on a summer day when the perfume of magnolias stretches across the way and birds sing, as he reiterates words he likes…

Read More

Green Leaf

by Phyllis Mannan I didn’t like my first name, Phyllis. Why couldn’t I have been called Susan or Sarah—or even my middle name, Ann? Then I read in college that Phyllis comes from a Greek word that means green leaf. I’d always liked the family story about my namesake, too. My dad grew up in…

Read More


by Kay Stoltz   Hebrews 6:13-20 The reading May 30, 2017. Verse 19 reads: We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain.  What is hope in my life? And there it is:  I hope I’m not late. I hope the roads are…

Read More

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

by Kay Stoltz Psalm 98:4-6 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, our…

Read More