43 of Simcha Fisher's Most Witty and Inspiring Articles from the National Catholic Register – EpicPew

43 of Simcha Fisher’s Most Witty and Inspiring Articles from the National Catholic Register

Did you click for the puppies or for Simcha? Be honest.

Simcha Fisher is a phenomenal writer. With her natural love for telling others about the trials and triumphs of daily life as a Catholic, to her fecund ability to make us spit out our food while wondering how her mind comes up with what it does, Simcha, we love you. Here’s a collection of her best pieces in recent memory from the National Catholic Register:

1. The Pope’s Approach Can Be Frustrating, But He’s Still Our Pope


“[Francis] is setting an example of immediacy which we would all do well to follow. He responds directly to the person and the need in front of him, putting other concerns on the back burner, and he seems to expect us to do the same when we’re confronted with his words and his behavior: responding to what is immediately in front of us.”


2. Love Is Never Wasted

Mary Cassatt (1884-1926), “The Child's Caress”
Mary Cassatt (1884-1926), “The Child’s Caress”

“There is no such thing as wasted time with your children. There is such a thing as time spent badly — time you spend belittling them, for instance. But there is no such thing as loving, attentive time that is wasted. This is true even if the kids have no conscious memory of the event, even if it’s only five minutes later (see: Kids are crumbs).”


3. We Shall All Be Changed Into Soup

ROYALTY FREE Shutterstock Stock Photo: Monarch Butterfly on a Mexican Sunflower Image ID: 57609622   Release  information: N/A   Copyright: James Laurie   Keywords: appealing, attractive, beautiful, beauty,black, bottom, butterfly, calm, color,colorful, elegant, feeding, floral, flower,garden, giant, good, gorgeous, insect,looking, lovely, magnificent, mexican,migratory, monarch, natural, nature, nice,orange, pattern, petals, pretty, queen,serenity, silence, spring, striking,stunning, summer, sunflower, sweet,tranquility, underside, wing, yel

This is maybe my favorite Simcha piece ever at the Register. Profound, disgusting, profound, and probably just the kind of association my brain would come up with. Did I mention profound?

“Change will happen to all of us, sooner or later, no matter what our state in life.  If we don’t allow it to happen in our lifetimes, it will happen in purgatory, if we’re lucky.  Better by far to understand that it will happen, and not to panic when things do start to change.  It is still part of the plan, when things get all weird and unfamiliar — when God seems to be asking things of us that we never would have asked of ourselves, or for ourselves.  At some point, God will grab our attention by hanging us upside down on a limb, trapping us inside our skins, and turning us into mush.  It’s okay.  It’s part of the plan.”


4. Lord, You Said There Would Be Wine

wedding at cana painting
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682), ”The Wedding at Cana”

“This is a theme you will find throughout the Gospels: first you follow the rules, and then you get the point — and the point is a doozy. A wedding party, and a big one. A wedding night. First you fulfill your obligations, and then you become aware of God’s generosity. First you “do whatever He tells you,” and then you are amazed. First Jesus is baptized, and then the Holy Spirit descends, and Jesus is revealed as the Son of God, in whom the Father is well pleased.”


5. Let the Grouchy Lady Come to Me

let the children come to me

“In other words, any time you go to Mass and think, “What am I going to get out of this?” you’re doing it wrong. Any time you meet another human being and think, “What am I going to get out of this?” you’re doing it wrong. And, dare I say it, any time you read an article about a guy who’s challenging himself and everybody else to be more charitable toward difficult people, and your first impulse is to leave a nasty comment about how awful the author and his kids are . . .”


6. Give It Away, But Give It Some Thought

Frans Francken the Younger (1581-1642), "The Seven Works of Mercy"
Frans Francken the Younger (1581-1642), “The Seven Works of Mercy”

“Do we give until it hurts, or do we just shuck off our extras? Are we thinking of the poor as a bin to receive our useless items, or are we thinking about what the poor might really want as people?  But the question Jane is asking is really about the receiver’s needs and desires: Do poor people really need useful items, which keep them alive, or do they need extras, which comfort them and remind them of their humanity?”


7. How to Help Young Siblings Grow Up to Become Lifelong Friends

Albert Anker, “Schreibender Knabe mit Schwesterchen” (1875)
Albert Anker, “Schreibender Knabe mit Schwesterchen” (1875)


“Well, there is no such thing as a foolproof way to make your children do or be anything. Kids have free will, and they will exercise it. Kids who are raised in the exact same conditions have a variety of temperaments, personalities, and mental fitness, and they will act on them. Horrible things happen. Incredible things happen. Other people exert their influence. People die. Events that bond one group of siblings will fracture and alienate another.”


8. Giving Birth? Who DOES That Anymore?

(Image Credit: “WiLPrZ”, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
(Image Credit: “WiLPrZ”, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)


“Babies come from women, so we know who to blame when babies keep turning up. We tell women over and over and over again that the worst thing that can happen to you is to have baby. The worst thing that can happen to a baby is for it to be born. The worst thing that can happen to the world is for your baby to be in it.”


9. Should We Smile, Smile, Smile?

Bl. Mother Teresa

“Many Catholics will tell you that we must smile for the sake of the kingdom. We are all evangelists of one kind or another. If we want to sell the Good News to other people, we need to present it in an attractive package — and so smiling and looking happy is the best way to show that our Faith is something worth having.

Is this so? What if we’re not actually happy, because of temperament or circumstance? What if the person we’re dealing with is repulsive? Isn’t it a form of deception to smile when we don’t feel it?”


10. Rogue Laughter in a Flippant Society

Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin (1878-1939), "Farce"
Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin (1878-1939), “Farce”


“Whether you call it a defect in our understanding of tragedy, or a defect in our understanding of comedy, it amounts to the same thing, because a society that avoids tragedy is a society that does not understand comedy — and so it has no idea when to laugh and when to cry.”


11. Who’s Your Monster?

David R. Tribble, "Gargoyle and Girl" (CC BY-SA 3.0)
David R. Tribble, “Gargoyle and Girl” (CC BY-SA 3.0)


“Want to learn something about a society? Then take a look at what sort of fictional monsters are currently in vogue. What we fear tells us what kind of people we are.”


12. An Uninvited Pope and the Power of Words

Pope Francis walking to the hall of the Synod of Bishops on October 12, 2015. (© L'Osservatore Romano)
Pope Francis walking to the hall of the Synod of Bishops on October 12, 2015. (© L’Osservatore Romano)


“To the Pope, everything is personal.

This accounts for why he takes the trouble to call individual people, and why he can’t help chatting with reporters, even while his press office does a collective face palm every time he puts his prepared remarks down. If there are people there, he treats them like people. Everything is personal.”


13. Shush, Your Mother Is Trying to Listen

St. Peter's Cathedral

“… I think it’s worth remembering that if we’re going to call each other brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to behave like decent siblings: demanding to be heard, yes; but also remembering to listen to each other if only because we’re supposed to love each other. And most of all, we need to give some credit to the authority of our Mother Church.”


14. Blessed Are the Useless


“This is the connection that we need to hear over and over again: we’re not here, in this world, to get ahead. We’re not here to prove how useful we are, and we’re not here to use other people. We’re not beloved by God because of how useful we are to Him!”


15. Why Does the Church Make Things So Complicated?

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682), "The Good Shepherd"
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682), “The Good Shepherd”


“People need guidance. Jesus referred to us as “sheep” more times than I can count, and if you’ve ever met a sheep, you know that you can’t really count on them to just be sensible and do their best. That is a recipe for a dead sheep. Sheep need a shepherd and a sheepfold: somewhere that the leader can lead them to, so that they will be safe and sheltered.”


16. How About Post-Cana Counseling?

epSos.de [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
epSos.de [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
“I believe that even a small, regular notice in the bulletin could ease some of the strain — something acknowledging that even good marriages aren’t always easy, and reminding married couples to pray together every day. There are many beautiful prayers specifically for married couples.”


17. Discernment of Amoral Issues

Nicholas Mutton [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)].
Nicholas Mutton [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)].

“I’m a little uncomfortable with using the word “discernment” for things which are, in the long run, trivial and transient. I don’t “discern,” for instance, what to make for dinner every night, although there would be nothing wrong with praying about it. I know that, in general, I have the moral responsibility to feed my children in a way that is healthy and enjoyable for them, and which doesn’t cost more in money and time than we can afford. But the everyday details of how to achieve those things, and where to put the emphasis on any current day, are entirely up to me, and there is no moral component inherent in pork chops or in mac and cheese.”


18. Should I Let My Kid Dress Like a Weirdo?

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), "Claude Renoir in Clown Costume"
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), “Claude Renoir in Clown Costume”


“Naturally, kids have to follow the school’s dress code, and they can’t be immodest. (I tell them: You are a person, not an object. Dress so that it’s easy for people to tell you’re a person, not an object.)”


19. St. Bernard, Pray for…Wha?

Francisco Ribalta (1565-1628), "Christus und der Hl. Bernhard"
Francisco Ribalta (1565-1628), “Christus und der Hl. Bernhard”


“…that saints don’t require us to know anything about them. They’re here to help, period. St. Bernard, who happens to be a great Biblical scholar and reformer, is perfectly content to also be Anonymous Plaster Bee Guy Who Entertains Buggy Kids. It’s a very good thing to do your homework and get to know the saints, but you can also just stretch out your hand and ask for help from all of God’s friends the saints,and they’ll oblige.”


20. Abortion Is a Men’s Issue

 Guido Reni (1575-1642), "Saint Joseph"
Guido Reni (1575-1642), “Saint Joseph”


“A great man holds the life-giving power of his body in check until the time is right — and a great man uses his strength to protect the vulnerable, including pregnant women, post-abortive women, and all children, born and unborn. In great men, two things go together: strength and control. Power, and the knowledge of how to use that power, when, and why.”


21. 10 Ways to Insult a Catholic Blogger (and Why You Shouldn’t Bother)


1. You’re just trying to get attention with this! Oh gosh-all-whillikers, not attention! You mean that I made an effort to write in such a way as to persuade people to click on the headline, think about what I said, and elicit a response of some kind? Is outrage! Next time I have a thought, I’ll jot it down on an orange peel and bury it under the shed. You know, for the greater glory of God.”


22. Does It Matter If Medjugorje Is Real Or Not?


“I would say that Mary, my mother in heaven who knows me and loves me, would not be happy to see her children duped into following around a sock puppet that looks like her, even if it makes them say the rosary and go to Mass more often.”


23. Gee, Your Corpse Smells Terrific!

St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart
St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart

“Myself, I have steered clear of incorruptibles as any proof of anything besides the fact that the world is weird, history is messy, and lots of people are different from me.”


24. When Hell Has a Hashtag

temptation of adam and eve

“I was chatting with my husband about how these things are forbidden even if we don’t really believe they will work, and he pointed out that the devil may actually prefer it when people sell their souls lightly. ‘That’s what the devil wants, even more than satanists,’ he said:  ‘Dummies selling their souls as a joke.'”


25. Only a Rightly-Ordered Heart Feels Grief

crying angel stone

“It’s not just a pretty phrase, that ‘one flesh’ stuff. To be at odds, to be alienated, to be unwilling or unable to make that connection with the one you have vowed to love . . . it’s painful beyond belief. It feels like a physical wound. When I’m fighting with my husband, I half expect to look in a mirror and see a gash, something outrageous, a shredding or an amputation.”


26. Love Isn’t Supposed to Be Efficient

Jesus hand

“As so often happens when I’m sorting out how to be a better parent, I realize that Jesus is sitting back watching me, and going, “Oh, you figured that out, did you? Aren’t you smart. Now, does it sound at all familiar?” (My savior is kind of sarcastic, go figure.)

Because, lest we forget, lest we forget: Jesus died for everybody, true. But He also died for each of us, specifically, individually, lovingly. Inefficiently.”


27. Nobody Told Me!

praying hands

“For the rest of Mass, I was shaken. Nothing bad had happened; no sacrilege, intentional or not, had occurred. What made  me tremble was that phrase she kept repeating: Nobody told me! And I kept telling myself, ‘So, what is your excuse?'”


28. If You Watch Garbage, You Will Get Dirty


“Watching brutality makes us brutal. Torturing our emotions inevitably makes torture seem more normal, not less.”


29. Should Catholics Read Anti-Catholic Materials?

hot air balloon

“Hogwash, my fellow Catholics. Hog to the ever loving wash. This is how we build up immunities to bad ideas: by exposing ourselves to them, so that we’re equipped to fight them off when they try to attack us. Do you know what happens when you only read things that you already know you are going to agree with? Your brain becomes a marshmallow…”


30. Loving the Adult Jesus

Divino Nino

“Jesus warned us that we must become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of Heaven. A companion thought that may help: remember that Jesus is ready to be received like a little child, to lead us to Heaven. The sweetness of Christmas is not a fantasy or an illusion. Rather than growing out of the simple love we have for the Christ Child, we should revel it in while it is immediately present, and then remember that it’s ours to bring back to life during the rest of the year, when the demands of love get more complicated. “Gloria” is still always the right response.”


31. What’s Wrong with Message Art?

jesus arm tattoo

“When we’re talking about an optical illusion tattoo, it’s pretty easy to see how “message art” can go awry (see: Gatorade). But the same problem exists, in different forms, whenever we make any kind of art into nothing but a message delivery system.”


32. Catholics With a Past

Jesus and Mary Magdalene

“When we repent and confess our sins, God doesn’t just cover them over with leaves and hope nobody notices them. He washes them away entirely, and to think that He is still holds them against us is to make him petty. Which He is not! So a shameful past that is truly in the past? This is a cause for rejoicing, because God is good and we know it first hand.”


33. Ten Things I Learned the Hard Way about Sending Kids to School

school supplies

6. If you’re going to believe everything your kid says about what happened in school (‘Mrs. Fleishhacker says that she was going to beat me with barbed wire if I didn’t wear matching socks tomorrow!’), then it’s only fair that your kid’s teacher should believe everything your kid says about what happens at home (‘Here is my picture of my family eating breakfast! All those whiskey bottles are my mom’s’).”


34. The Culture of Blechh

calvin and hobbes blech

“You’ve heard of the Culture of Death, which teaches people to sneer in disgust at the good, the true, and the beautiful. What we have here is its sad sack cousin, the Culture of Blechh, which teaches people to turn every occasion, whether happy or sad, into a basin to catch the Very Important Message they perpetually disgorge. ”


35. Chemo While Pregnant? L’Chaim!


“Some chemotherapy drugs are thought to be harmful to a fetus during every stage of pregnancy, but many are not.Pregnant women have been successfully treating their cancer in the second and third trimesters without harming their babies for over twenty years — and yet this fact is far from common knowledge.”


36. What Makes a Good Dad?

st. joseph and jesus

“What all dads have in common, though, is that their children are no accident. They were given to them, specifically and intentionally by God, because of the gifts they have and because of the virtues they need to cultivate.”


37. Satan Isn’t Fussy, But Neither Is Christ

Jesus eats with publicans and sinners from "Illustrations of the Life of Christ", "From Christ in Art"; & "The Gospel Life of Jesus", artwork by Alexandre Bida, publisher: Edward Eggleston, New York: Fords, Howard, & Hulbert, 1874
Jesus eats with publicans and sinners from “Illustrations of the Life of Christ”, “From Christ in Art”; & “The Gospel Life of Jesus”, artwork by Alexandre Bida, publisher: Edward Eggleston, New York: Fords, Howard, & Hulbert, 1874


“It is true that Satan will take any opportunity to find a foothold in your soul, and you don’t have to be sincere when you invite him in. But the same is true, a thousandfold more so, for Christ.”


38. A Little About Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

catechesis of the good shepherd

“Catechesis of the Good shepherd emphasizes quiet contemplation and — imagine this — ‘the enjoyment of God.’ The children hear Bible stories and watch them acted out with simple materials; they learn songs and prayers, and are encouraged to play quietly with simple and meaningful objects.”


39. Teaching Contempt for Rules

guidance rules choosing

“It’s a trivial thing when some self-important substitute teacher makes a to-do about Facebook friends. It’s a less trivial thing when those children she’s taught try to get their first job, and chafe and scream when their boss expects them to show up on time, or fill out the time card properly, or not be rude to customers.”


40. Mary as Hero

"The Annunciation" by Fra Angelico
“The Annunciation” by Fra Angelico


“We are used to thinking of Mary’s “yes” to the angel as a positive thing, a step forward, a beginning — of course, so it was. But it was also the end of something, the unmaking of the rule of darkness over the world.”


41. Ten Ways to Raise Pro-Life Children

child kissing pregnant belly

7.  Make it part of routine prayer.  I am not crazy about Fulton Sheen’s spiritual adoption prayer.  I don’t know why; it hits all the right points, and is simple and direct, but it gets on my nerves. But we say it anyway, because I love the idea of taking responsibility for the well-being of someone else.  Anyone with a prayer life should routinely pray for an end to abortion.”


42. Embarrassment Vs. Shame


“But shame is something different.   Shame is about our consciences; it is about being naked before God.  Notice that we sometimes feel shame when we are alone in a room, doing or thinking something we know we should not — even if we know there is no way we will ever be caught at it.  Embarrassment is about being caught; shame is about the behavior itself.”


43. How Delmar Got Saved

delmar saved o brother where art thou

“Perhaps that is what was wrong with Zachariah’s response:  he wanted to see the logic of it all, word for word, step by step, even as a visitor from heaven is standing right in front of him.  And the angel, with glorious impatience, tells him, Oh, you think we need to stop and talk this through?  How about this:  no more talking for you, not until that baby is in your arms.  There will be the proof you want, Zachariah.