Fr. Thomas Ryan, CSP

Fr. Thomas Ryan, CSP

Fr. Thomas Ryan, CSP, is the author of Reclaiming the Body in Christian Spirituality

For Catholics, the practice of fasting has by and large fallen off the screen, due in large measure to the minimalistic interpretation of what Church members are told “fasting” means: “Take only one full meal. Two smaller meals are permitted as necessary, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted.”

Francis of Assisi is one of the saints in the Catholic calendar honoured by different religions around the world. And with the election of our new Pope, people everywhere are hearing the name Francis now more than ever.

Mary is often considered to be a major stumbling block on the road to Christian unity in terms of doctrine and devotion, but that is less and less the case. Today Mary is appearing more frequently in Anglican and Protestant liturgical hymns and calendars and her image is hanging on their church walls.

The event we celebrate at the feast of Christmas is mind-boggling: the Incarnation, the enfleshment of God in a historical person, Jesus of Nazareth.