observances are varied: you can fast, pray the Way of the Cross, do charitable
acts, give alms, spend time in contemplative prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, do
lectio divina, pray the rosary, and the like. The possibilities are limitless. You might know, Catholics have a lot in their own
mystical tradition to deepen a relationship with the Blessed Trinity. And some real good stuff, too. So much so, that a Catholic doesn’t have to stray far from orthodox Christianity for prayer.
however, is the spending any kind of energy on “Gandhi, Peace and Nonviolence” an acceptable alternative for Catholics. Especially when knowledge of the Catholic tradition is relatively low, even among theology students. But that is what the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry’s Lenten
focus was today. The idea is OK. Wait. It was pretty mediocre. Why not reflect upon peace and nonviolence
using music and select readings? At a Catholic school of theology and ministry
where students are paying tuition in order to be trained to be better Catholics, superb lay Catholic
leaders and teachers, and perhaps even priests, Gandhi just doesn’t fit during
I wonder if anyone at a Jesuit school of theology and ministry ever
thought of focusing on one of the great spiritual fathers and mothers of the Church –Augustine, Ephrem, Aquinas,
Bonaventure, Lawrence of Brindisi, Hilary of Poiters, Loyola, Gertrude, Tauler,
Marguerite d’Oingt, Catherine of Siena, Giussani, Lubich, Benedict XVI– for Lenten
prayer and readings? Then, I have to wonder if Gandhi is BC’s type of Catholic and the list above are too obscure for mainline believers. Are these people too Catholic? Perhaps Gandhi is the new patron
saint of the liberal-blue hairs and they haven’t told the rest of the Church yet? Curious to know what Sister Quinn was
This is not only a question of Catholic identity at a supposed Catholic institution of higher education, but a question of formation for the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. It is a question of helping each other know their destiny in Jesus Christ.
Thou wast transfigured on the mountain, O Christ, our God, showing to Thy disciples Thy glory as each one could endure. Shine forth Thou on us, who are sinners all, Thy light ever-unending. Through the prayers of the Theotokos, Light-Bestower, glory to Thee.
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
At the ancient
Roman Basilica of Santa Sabina known today as the mother church of the Order of
Preachers, the Pope began Lent with the reception of ashes. The imposition of ashes is not ritualistic sign without meaning: we put ashes on our heads not in contradiction of the Gospel chosen for that day but as a way to remind ourselves that an outward sign conveys an inward reality. He first began the Lenten prayer at the
Benedictine Church of Sant’Anselmo (just down the street from Santa Sabina).
There he gathered with the monks, priests, bishops , cardinals and laity for a
visit to the Blessed Sacrament, brief service of prayer and a procession to
Santa Sabina where Holy Mass was celebrated. Yes, the pope walks the streets of Rome, but in a limited way. It is a gesture full of beauty. This is ancient way for the Roman
Pontiff to lead the Church into a season of penance and preparation for the
sacred Triduum. The Holy Father’s homily is below.
We begin today the
liturgical season of Lent with the thought-provoking rite of the imposition of
ashes, through which we wish to take on the commitment to convert our hearts to
the horizons of grace. In general, in common opinion, this time runs the risk
of being marked by sadness, by the darkness of life. Instead, it is a precious
gift of God; it is an intense time full of meanings in the journey of the
Church; it is the itinerary to the Lord’s Easter. The biblical readings of
today’s celebration give us indications to live this spiritual experience