Monthly Archives: October 2020

Ep34 The Surprising Origin of Halloween and Its Purpose



Father Len reveals that Halloween actually began as a Catholic Church holiday celebrating our mystical connection with all those who have died.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Most of our holidays have Catholic origins. There are exceptions like Columbus Day, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving.
  • Halloween is the Catholic feast of All Saints who are in heaven and calling us to join them.
  • Father Len shares his love of giving people a “little bit of a scare.”
  • From the very beginning of Christianity it has been a custom to remember and celebrate the anniversary of the death of all Saints.
  • The idea for Halloween costumes began in France where they would dress up as Saints to celebrate their virtues.
  • Kids receiving treats on Halloween originated in England. Kids and poor people would go from house to house singing or “souling” and promising to go to church and pray for deceased family members of the household. In return, they’d receive either candied apples or “soul cakes.”
  • Father Len shares the story of “Stingy Jack” to explain how Jack-o’-lanterns became part of Halloween.
  • “Stations of the Sun” by Ronald Hutton
  • Halloween as we know it today is a combination of various European customs that we’ve mixed together here in the United States.
  • The modern world tries to unhinge the profound truth of the original celebration of Halloween and the feast of All Saints. That is our mystical connection with the dead who are trying to pull us into the great feast of love in heaven.

Ep33 The Relationship between Grit and Success



Father Len explores how grit helps us get through difficult times and succeed in life.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len explains why he is grateful for the COVID 19 pandemic.
  • Father Len explains how the pandemic helps reveal the existence of God and why God allows suffering in the world.
  • Father Len introduces the spiritual virtue of grit and illustrates how and why it helps us mature as human beings and succeed in life.
  • Father Len explains the dangers of living life as a “perfect fragile.”
  • Father Len explodes the myth of “talent” as the primary predictor of success in life.
  • Grit in the religious world is fortitude. It’s one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  • Grit is learned and earned through sacrifice, pain, and a little bit of suffering.
  • “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth
  • Life is sacrifice.
  • Father Len offers concrete ways to increase grit and determination.
  • Father Len shares the moving story of Adm. James Stockdale and how grit helped him and his fellow prisoners survive years in a Vietnam War concentration camp.
  • “The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero” by Timothy Egan
  • “Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined” by Scott Barry Kaufman

Ep32 What Is Love?



Father Len shares some remarkable love stories to illustrate what true love is all about.


Ep31 What Death and Funerals Teach Us about Life



Father Len and Irish explore the life-changing benefits of death and funerals.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len shares his moving and powerful tradition for commemorating the victims and heroes of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and what it reveals about life and death.
  • Father Len explains how funerals make us better human beings.
  • Father Len spells out the difference between a funeral and a “celebration of life.”
  • Father Len tells the story of how comedian Garry Shandling’s parent’s decision not to allow him to attend his older brother’s funeral screwed him up.
  • Father Len shares the story of what comedian Stephen Colbert learned from his mother at his father’s funeral.
  • Funerals are incredibly healthy because they provide closure, a sense of meaning, and a perspective on what’s really important and enduring in life.
  • “Something about death makes us wise—we suddenly become high-minded, forgiving and focused on the best in people. How can we do better at seeing living people through the “eulogy lens”? – Tim Urban Twitter: @waitbutwhy
  • Funerals reveal human connection and the value and importance of community.
  • Father Len tells the story of a funeral for a young father’s dad that revealed what kind of dad he wanted to be for his three boys.
  • Funerals are an essential tool for passing on important values from one generation to the next.
  • Funeral rituals have been around for 10,000 years as a means to say goodbye, mourn what has been lost and to forgive.

Ep30 Guilt and Shame Are Not the Same



Father Len explains why guilt is a good and shame is evil.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len reacts to the pain and suffering inflicted on Tarana Burke, founder of the “Me Too Movement,” by the shame she felt after being raped and sexually molested as a child.
  • Shame is evil because it mars the image of our being made in the image of God and crushes our self-worth.
  • Shame is dangerous and correlates to increased incidence of addiction, eating disorders depression, and suicide.
  • Guilt is about amending our behavior and increasing our self-worth.
  • Guilt is a tool for self-improvement; becoming more loving, more kind, more patient.
  • Shame is a tool of oppression, racism, and sexism.
  • Guilt is based on love and shame is based on evil.
  • Father Len shares a fun story about catching kids stealing dark chocolate from him to illustrate why guilt is good and guilt and shame are not the same.
  • Religion should be a force for inflicting guilt and healing shame.
  • Both guilt and shame make us feel bad, but for different reasons. Guilt makes us feel bad because we realize we could have done something better. Shame makes us feel bad because some horrific event causes us to define ourselves as trash.
  • Brené Brown’s podcast: “Unlocking Us”
  • Brené Brown’s TED Talk: “The Power of Vulnerability”
  • Shame loves to hide in the dark and doesn’t like being named. Privately and sadly, the lives of many people are controlled by shame.
  • Healing shame is not easy, but working through the process brings wisdom, compassion, and joy.
  • The Catholic Church is like a good mother who teaches her children guilt to help them grow and become better and more loving human beings.