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March 28th, 2012
Giving up something extreme, like your car, provides spiritual benefits

Since I was a teenager, I’d always been a heroic sacrificer of chocolate, candy, or sweets come Lent. I heart sugar, so it was genuinely hard. But looking back, I was probably doing it as much for my looks as for God.
In 2010, I took a slice out of my vanity by giving up Facebook. Robbed of the chance to check my profile and see how great I looked on the outside, and how much everyone wanted to post messages to me, I soon realized how little those things had to do with the person I was made to be.
Well, the next year I hit upon the idea of sacrificing something even tougher: my car. Giving up driving isn’t possible for everyone — not with the way our cities and small towns are designed — but a JustFaith course on social…

March 27th, 2012

When I started writing for Busted Halo, the first piece I wrote, “What Sticks To Our Fingers,” was about death and what is left to us after a loved one passes on. It was pretty intense. And sad. I’ve been told, also moving. My editor suggested that for my first Busted Halo post I might want to write something a tad less saddening. (Is that a word? Is it theological?) We ended up running “What Sticks to Our Fingers” after all, but here’s the other piece I came up with:
We are in the run-up to Easter, and it always makes the hair on the nape of my neck stand up. It is so definitely not fun.… I’m one of those people for whom saying the Stations of the Cross is the equivalent to getting a root

March 23rd, 2012

If you haven’t read The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, then you know some one who has. The books and the movie adaptation, which opens today, have been the subject of an enormous amount of buzz for some time now. The series was hugely popular with young adults almost as soon as the first novel was released. Critics, writers and readers alike have been raving about it.
Set in a not-so-distant dystopian future, The Hunger Games… is essentially about survival in the worst of conditions. A totalitarian government controls the nation of Panem — what was once North America and is now a vast nation of 12 “districts” and the Capitol. To keep its subjects in the districts in submission, this

March 22nd, 2012
A March Madness update and a look at the ethics and morals that “rule” college basketball

March Madness continues and I can hear brackets busting all over the country. I doubt that very few people predicted the outcomes of last Friday’s games. As of right now my bracket is fine, but I have already lost two of my final four teams and will therefore struggle mightily as the tourney continues. As you already know there are several religious institutions in the men’s and women’s tournaments this year, and some of them are doing quite well. Three such schools have made it into the Sweet 16 — Baylor, Marquette, and Xavier. Unfortunately, this number is guaranteed to shrink due to the fact that Baylor and Xavier will play for the right to enter the Elite Eight, while Marquette will battle Florida for…

March 21st, 2012
Why giving up an unexpected but targeted trapping of modern life -- like Facebook -- could be the best thing you do spiritually all year

My boyfriend and I were in Mass last month when an announcement reminded me: Lent was coming. I nudged him, stage-whispering, “Oh no — what am I going to give up? I have two weeks to figure it out!”
He gave me The Eye. “Don’t you dare try to give up something even more extreme,” he said.
For the past few years I’d been on a path I nicknamed “Lent This Year: Extreme Edition.” I started out as a teenager by giving up a little bit more each round: candy, then chocolate, then all sweets. In 2010, I took it to another level, dropping out of Facebook completely for six weeks.
Yes, I know the “Giving-Up-X-for-Lent” model has been looked down upon in recent years by some earnest Catholics. Instead of sacrificing…

March 19th, 2012

I have a confession to make. I am horrible at fasting. Epically horrible. My Lenten fast usually devolves into me eating precisely that from which I have vowed to abstain in a shameful and ridiculous display of my apparent lack of self-mastery. And then (good Catholic that I am) I feel guilty. Epically guilty. There are some for whom this sort of fast (minus, of course, my aforementioned pre-Easter meltdown) is spiritually gratifying and meaningful. To you I say a hearty and sincere, “Huzzah!” It just does not suit me. It does not make me feel any more prepared to walk with Jesus on his way to Calvary and it does not call me to joyful anticipation of the Resurrection. It makes me feel cranky… and ashamed.…

March 18th, 2012
March Madness with a Catholic twist (UPDATED BRACKETS)

Football season is over, the start of the baseball season is still a month away, and yet this is my favorite time of the sports year — March Madness. Aside from the joy I get from any use of alliteration, the NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament offers 68 different teams the opportunity to compete for the championship trophy. (Scroll down to read the rest of the article!)
Click the bracket below to view a larger version or if you’d like, click here for a downloadable PDF. And click here for the women’s bracket.…

It is not unusual to see schools with religious associations competing extremely well during the college basketball season and championship tournament. That’s not the case in college

March 17th, 2012
Do they know why they're celebrating?

At Busted Halo we believe everybody has a halo, some are just a little more busted than others.
This St. Patrick’s Day, we’re hitting the streets to see whose faith trivia halo is nicely polished, and whose is a little less shiny.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17, and is the traditional religious feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The Irish have observed St. Patrick’s Day as a religious holiday for over a thousand years. On St. Patrick’s Day, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon.
Today, people of all backgrounds around the world recognize St. Patrick’s Day, but even though they’re celebrating,…

March 17th, 2012
Why we celebrate a Saint with song and drink

It’s March. The air is getting slightly less frigid, the wind is blowing, the snow is (God willing) starting to melt. This can only mean one thing: it’s time to start rocking the green and drinking the beer. In other words, it’s time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Whether you’re Irish and Catholic or anything else imaginable, March 17 is a day of revelry and fun, where everyone takes part in the traditional celebratory green beer and expects kisses simply for being “Irish” (even when they’re not). All this revelry is understandable in celebration of such a wonderful saint, but the question has to be asked: Why do we celebrate a man of God with excessive drinking, songs, and the color green? It might…

March 16th, 2012

Dear readers, donors,and friends:
Ten years ago BustedHalo.com made its debut and began reaching out to young adults who were discovering and re-discovering the Catholic Church. Through the years, Busted Halo® has grown and adapted to meet the evolving needs of 20- and 30-somethings and today continues to help young adults explore their spirituality. Click the interactive timeline below for a stroll down memory lane. We celebrated recently with a gala fundraising dinner in New York City. Click here to read more details.
(Message from Fr. Dave continues below the timeline)

With the addition of the Busted Halo Show on SiriusXM and a growing presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, we are reaching more…

March 15th, 2012

It seems that every year around this time I’m inspired to write about renewal and fresh starts. That’s not surprising, of course. The vernal equinox (March 20) is just days away and where I live in the American Northeast, the annual cycle of natural rebirth is starting to Spring into high gear. Last Tuesday, I saw my first snowdrops on the ground, on Saturday I came across an apple tree covered in buds, and now suddenly there are day lilies everywhere. This is the time of Easter (April 8), Passover (April 6-14), and the Persian/Iranian New Year (March 20). (I realize not all my readers are in a temperate climate, so forgive that I’m talking about it now. It’s my experience.)

Christianity is full of messages of rebirth, most notably the semi-comical exchange between Jesus and the Pharisee Nicodemus in John 3, from which comes the term “born again.” The whole thing centers on the fact that the Greek word anothen can mean “again” or “from above” depending on context. After Jesus says we must be born again/from above, Nicodemus is confused and says,”How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus patiently explains that he doesn’t mean being born again physically, but rather born “of the Spirit.”

I wrote once before about former Intel CEO Andy Grove’s ideas concerning inflection points. Grove says that much of the harm is done not by wrong decisions but by people’s unwillingness later to change direction. Even though they may know in their heart that they’re on the wrong track, they stick to their course rather than admit error. Yet, Christianity offers us — demands of us! — the opportunity to do exactly that. Whether its a full blown conversion, an annual renewal along with the rest of the church community at Easter, or an individual act of confession and rededication at any time, Christians have many ways to turn around (con-vert) and get back on the path at any time.

My own life has been shaped by several conversions. My turning from addiction to recovery not only physically saved my life but, more significantly, set me on a new path of growth and harmony. My baptism, after having been raised atheist, was the result of a spiritual conversion that in many ways grew from that earlier “turning.” And my decision to devote my work life to spiritual projects was another change of direction.

March 9th, 2012

Do you ever wish that you knew then what you know now? Ah — the beauty and magnificence of hindsight, especially in marriage. Mine has certainly been an adventure. My husband and I ended up doing all the things you aren’t supposed to do in the first year of marriage, including changing jobs, buying a house, and having a baby. Our biggest test to date was seeing our youngest daughter through cancer, but we did; together!
We are still the people we were on our wedding day, only a little wiser and a lot more understanding. In honor of our 10th anniversary on May 4, I’ve written a letter to my newlywed self in the hopes that it will keep me accountable to what worked for the 10 years to come.
Dear Tiger Lady,
You have it …

March 1st, 2012
Go easy on yourself this Lent

I broke my Lenten commitment on day one. On Ash Wednesday, after a difficult day, I trudged right past two people asking for change on my way home, remembering my commitment but in my aggravation willfully denying it. I felt entitled to do the wrong thing because I’d had a hard day. I’m not proud of this, but does it mean I’m a bad person? Does it mean I failed at Lent? No, it means I’m human. The next day, I recommitted and haven’t slipped since.

February 28th, 2012
The results are in!

Thank you to all the Busted Halo readers who participated in our fourth annual ash contest last week. We used a new web app this year, which allowed you to upload and vote for images on both our site and our Facebook page. You chose the overall winner from the 139 photos submitted, and the editors gave out some special category honors.

So, without further ado, the prize-winning 2012 Best Ash goes to…

February 22nd, 2012
Asking young adults why they attend church on Ash Wednesday

Every year on Ash Wednesday, Catholic churches are filled with people receiving ashes. More people attend church on this day than on any other throughout the year.
We hit the steps outside of New York City’s St. Paul the Apostle Church to ask young adults why they made the effort to get out of bed early and receive their ashes before their work and school days began.
Care to find out more about Ash Wednesday? Check out our video: Ash Wednesday in Two Minutes.
If you need help this Lent with your fasting, praying and almsgiving, visit our Fast Pray Give Calendar every day. And check out Phil Fox Rose’s latest column, What Are You Giving Up for Lent?, for a serious challenge to consider.
Originally published…

February 22nd, 2012

“What are you giving up for Lent?” is not a question I heard growing up in my atheist home. It’s second nature for most Catholics, though — to give up some favorite thing (like chocolate or ice cream) for Lent. But if you have an addiction to alcohol, a drug or cigarettes, I want you to consider using this Lent as a turning point. If you don’t have a dependence on a physically addictive substance like those, then broaden the definition a bit: How about something nonessential like caffeine or sleeping pills? (I’m not talking about prescribed medicines that balance you.) Consider seeing if you can live without it of the next 40 days. If you want to broaden the term addiction further in the now-trendy way for things like the internet and pornography, that’s OK too.

But understand that something isn’t an addiction just because you use it a lot. For it to be an addiction, it should be that your use interferes with your life, you wish if didn’t, and you can’t stop. If you have an addiction problem, odds are you already have a suspicion, though you may refuse to accept it. Or maybe friends or family have been telling you that you do.

Make a commitment to abstain from something you have a problem with — alcohol, smoking, gambling — starting Ash Wednesday and continuing for the duration of Lent. Not the rest of your life. Just about seven weeks.

It might become a turning point. You might discover you like your life better without it and gain a real willingness to let it go. And if you don’t manage to stay stopped, you will have learned an important lesson — that this “habit” is maybe something more; that it has some measure of control over you…

February 14th, 2012
Busted Halo's Lenten Calendar

Traditionally, Lent was a time for personal conversion leading up to Easter, during which Christians practiced the spiritual disciplines of fasting, praying and almsgiving to strip away all that is unnecessary and become more mindful of their ultimate dependence on God. Let’s recapture the true meaning of Lent in ways that are actually relevant to your life. Each day throughout Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday, the calendar’s link for that day will become active, revealing a Daily Jolt for spiritual contemplation relating to Lent, and new and practical ideas for fasting, prayer and almsgiving.

Oh, and we’ll have weekly prizes and a grand prize. By filling out a brief survey and sharing your contact info with us, you will be entered into random drawings for the weekly and grand prizes. (You can enter once a week, which also increases your chances of winning the grand prize.

Busted Halo’s® Fast Pray Give Calendar is completely unflunkable, entirely relevant and totally inspiring. The idea isn’t to be perfect but to continue on our path, so if you slip up one day, don’t give up; simply begin again the next day. We hope you’ll join Busted Halo this year with our Fast Pray Give Lent calendar.

February 8th, 2012

The night before I traveled to my brother’s wedding I was putting the finishing touches on his wedding gift: a hand-crocheted tablecloth. After four years in the making, it was wonderful to finally work on the last part — blocking it. This task was the most tedious. Stretching the tablecloth and pinning it at every small point on the edge would ensure its beauty — otherwise it would look like a crumpled up, tired mass of string.
This was time consuming, and I didn’t have much time left. So I asked the two other sisters living with me if they would help me. Both of them agreed. As we were kneeling on the floor, backs bent over the tedious work at hand, I told them what I had learned while crocheting the tablecloth.…

February 6th, 2012

Next month Busted Halo® turns 10!… BustedHalo.com was founded 10 years ago in order to help young adult spiritual seekers explore their faith and connect with other young adults on their own journeys toward God. We’re still at it with thought-provoking articles, blogs, and columns, engaging videos, informative podcasts, and “The Busted Halo® Show with Father Dave” on Sirius XM Radio.
Since we’re turning 10, it’s time for a party. And we want to celebrate with the Busted Halo® community. We’d like to invite you to share your personal story of how Busted Halo® makes a difference in your life. What does Busted Halo® mean to you? What’s your favorite thing about Busted Halo®? Create a short

January 30th, 2012

Not a football fan? Neither am I. But in a country where football is more or less a religion, it’s hard to escape the clamor and commotion surrounding the holiest of holy days — Super Bowl Sunday. I’ve managed to circumvent The Big Game for the past few years (one of the perks of attending a women’s college), but now that the Giants have made it to the championship and New York is teeming with football mania, I’ll have to try a lot harder to dodge the Super Bowl bullet. To help me — and you — get through this football-filled festivity, I’ve come up with a few ideas.
1. Puppy Bowl VIII
For more than two hours, beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday February 5, Animal Planet offers the most brilliant solution…

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