Posts Tagged ‘Lent’

Jesuits Offer Weekly Lenten Podcast

Lenten imageThis Lent, the Jesuits of the New England and New York Provinces are offering a weekly podcast series featuring reflections by Jesuits on the Gospel each Sunday.

In the first podcast, Jesuit Father Charles Connolly spoke about changes of heart and calling upon God to be with us during times of temptation.

“When it comes to change in our lives, to conversion, it’s not as easy as we might think,” he says. “It’s a process. So even 40 days might not be long enough for our hearts to change.”

And yet, Fr. Connolly says, that is the call to conversion that Jesus gives us during the Lenten season.

“If Jesus were standing next to us when temptation struck, I don’t think we’d turn our back on him. We’d let the Lord help us. We’d let the Lord strengthen and encourage us.”

Fr. Connolly reminds us that God is with us and encourages us to remember the responsorial psalm from the first Sunday in Lent: “Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.”

Listen to Fr. Connolly’s podcast at the New England Province website and check back each Sunday for a new episode.

The Jesuit Post on Lent and Poverty

Jesuit Brendan BusseTo mark the beginning of Lent, Jesuit scholastic Brendan Busse wrote at The Jesuit Post that, “If ever there were a day to accept failure it was Ash Wednesday … Accept that you will ultimately fail (in death if not before) and your priorities shift, your humility rises, your every action takes on a little more significance; your very life rises out of the dust of nothingness.

“It’s as if there is a moment in which you accept your essential poverty.  And suddenly there is nothing to lose. And all of life becomes gift,” he wrote.

According to Busse, the antidote to poverty is not wealth but generosity. “Generosity begins with our attention. Reading. Listening. Considering. Being attentive and literate. Being sensitive and considerate. Generosity continues with our responsibility, that is, our ability to respond.”

He concludes:

“While two days past was Ash Wednesday … yesterday was Valentine’s Day … which reminds me that we were not made for failure … we were made for love.

“After all, you have to make love to make us and it is only in love that our failure finds redemption. What if this were true? It would follow that it is only in poverty – in standing with, listening to, learning from the poor and all who suffer – that we will find the fullness of life.”

Read Busse’s full essay at The Jesuit Post.

Jesuit Helps Guide Catholics Returning to the Confessional

Jesuit Father Jake EmpereurIf you can’t remember what comes after “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” but want to return to confession, don’t worry says Jesuit Father Jake Empereur.

Whether it’s been a few years — or even decades — parishes and dioceses are inviting inactive Catholics to return to church at Lent, with the sacrament of reconciliation as an incentive. Fr. Empereur, a priest since 1965 and a parochial vicar at St. Matthew Parish in San Antonio, said the motivations for wanting to go back to confession can be many.

“It could be because of health issues. It could be because their conscience moves them to finally be able to participate in the church and the liturgy and Communion,” said Fr. Empereur. “People get married. Sometimes it’s someone’s first Communion, sometimes it’s a wedding. It’s all sorts of different reasons.”

And what they have on their mind — and want to get off their chest — can vary as well, Fr. Empereur told Catholic News Service.

“Each case is really, truly different,” Fr. Empereur said, adding he tells penitents to focus on “what they came to say” because it “gives me further questioning on what I need to do [as a priest]: whether or not they’re married, personal relationships, issues in their life, whatever it might be.”

“They don’t talk about a lot of non-sins, small things and so forth,” Fr. Empereur continued. “They have a couple of major things: they got married outside the church, they had a bad experience with a priest, or so forth.”

Fr. Empereur said he asks penitents whether they pray. “Usually they’ll say something like their evening prayers before they go to bed, or they pray before meals. Usually they have not been going to Mass.

“Then you can talk about participation in the Eucharist. So you have to kind of instruct them, helping them along,” he explained. “Encourage them. ‘Are you going to be more involved in the church? Are you going to go to Mass? Are you going to go to confession once in a while?’”

Fr. Empereur said there’s usually something they have on their minds and that’s why they come back in the first place. “Usually I find my questions have to do with their relationships or their spiritual life. After all, that’s the purpose of all this. I can’t say I’ve had two identical confessions,” he said.

Read the full story at the U.S. Catholic website.

Jesuit Offers Podcast Reflections for Lent through the Lens of Ignatian Spirituality

During the liturgical season of Lent, many Catholics give things up – from avoiding Facebook to abstaining from the office candy jar – for 40 days. The list is endless. But Lent isn’t just about giving up; it can also be used as an opportunity for growth in your spiritual life.

Jesuit Father Gregory Konz, Secretary for Higher Education, Finance and Advancement at the Jesuit Conference, recently offered reflections on the four themes found throughout St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, and how they can enrich our experiences as we move through the 40 days of Lent. Fr. Konz first made the Spiritual Exercises during two of the stages of his Jesuit formation: novitiate when a man first enters the Jesuits, and then years later after his ordination to the priesthood, during tertianship, the final stage of formation for a Jesuit.

Check back here next week for another reflection from Fr. Konz!

Moscow Jesuit Celebrates Ash Wednesday Service with Vice President

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During Vice President Joe Biden’s travels to Russia to meet with President Medvedev, his staff reached out to Jesuit Father Janez Sever asking him to celebrate Ash Wednesday with Biden and his staff. The Russian Jesuit accepted the opportunity with grace and humility “to make this Lent an effective moment in [Biden’s] life.” Sever reflected on his recent thirty day retreat experience for his homily during the service and encouraged Biden and his staff to remember that Lent is an opportunity for spiritual reflection when they should take time to listen to God and to examine their deepest desires. Many of Biden’s staff shared with Sever their background of having attended Jesuit universities. Sever also presented the vice president with a copy of Jesuit Father James Martin’s bestselling book “The Jesuit’s Guide to (Almost) Everything” as Sever finds Fr. Martin’s writing style approachable and inspiring to those seeking to find God in their daily lives. Biden told Sever that he was very familiar with Fr. Martin having had read much of the popular priest’s book and accepted Sever’s gift with thanks and appreciation.