Easy conversations about things that matter

posted by Mike on February 20th, 2006

On page 19 of the new book The Catholic Worker Movement: Intellectual and Spiritual Origins is an old Peter Maurin piece that I hadn’t seen before, or at least didn’t remember:

Easy conversations
about things that matter
would keep people
from going to the movies,
from talking politics,
from cheap wisecracking.
Easy conversations
about things that matter
would enable Catholics
to understand Catholicism,
to give an account of their faith,
and to make non-Catholics curious
about Catholicism.

Going to the movies, talking politics, and cheap wisecracking are three of my favorite pastimes. But just tonight I got to know a stranger by having an easy conversation about things that matter, and it was better than any movie, debate, or wisecrack I’ve indulged in this week.

Lent is the period of preparation for Easter. This week is my period of preparation for Lent. I’ll observe Lent with fasting, penance, prayer, Darfur work, and a renewed effort to have easy conversations about things that matter.

(Pace Peter Maurin, I’ll also be showing movies at the house with a Lenten spirit. Breaking the Waves is on my short list, though I admit it may traumatize some of our guests. I hereby solicit suggestions for other films.)

The pope’s Lenten message:

Yes, even today the Lord hears the cry of the multitudes longing for joy, peace, and love. As in every age, they feel abandoned. Yet, even in the desolation of misery, loneliness, violence and hunger that indiscriminately afflict children, adults, and the elderly, God does not allow darkness to prevail. In fact, in the words of my beloved Predecessor, Pope John Paul II, there is a “divine limit imposed upon evil”, namely, mercy.

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