Lent 2014 brings the death and resurrection of the Lord more insistently into the horizon of our lives. Before the Lord, we are all weak and needy, poor in who we are, rich in him. Grateful for our various callings and rejoicing in that poverty that opens us to God’s grace, let us observe Lent together in prayer, penance and almsgiving. God bless you.
News in Spirituality
Lent this year begins on 5 March. From that day until Palm Sunday I'm not going to eat any food. I'll have a glass of fruit juice in the morning, some vegetable stock in the evening and make sure to keep hydrated but otherwise I won't be eating anything at all. This will be a time of study, prayer, my regular work and attempting to highlight the growing crisis of hunger in the UK.
A dictionary would define perseverance in these or similar words: a steady persistence in activity, purpose, or a state in spite of difficulties. Isn’t it then reassuring to know that a great saint and mystic, such as St Teresa of Avila herself, struggled in prayer until she was 41 years of age?
Our culture is too bound up in the world of feelings, even to the point where counselors ask as their main question – “How do you feel about that? or How did that make you feel?” as if feelings were the ultimate litmus test of what is going on in a person’s inner psyche. Feelings however can be very deceptive, the joy of the Lord is not.
With the sometimes rabid exception of people at the ultra-traditionalist fringe of Catholicism who sputter at seeing him being respectful toward non-Catholics and acting “undignified,” Catholics are very pleased with Pope Francis. More notable, though, is the wild adulation he draws from those outside the Church, even more adulation, it appears, than he draws from Catholics.
"Good, hope there will be many like her", says our Godgossip commentator Miss Angela. A group of Christian Girl Guide and Brownies leaders risk being expelled from the movement after publicly refusing to drop God from their traditional promise.
“Obviously, there is a huge amount of pressure and stress and everything involved, so you need to have a place where you know you can switch off and recharge your batteries. When he visits, Djokovic tends to pass through the converted house, home to orange-robed Thai monks, and into a temple in the garden, where he meditates for up to an hour.
Guides have dropped "God" from their Girl Guides' Promise. In a multicultural and individualist age, the thinking goes, the movement should pledge "to be true to myself and develop my beliefs". None of that guff about God and country. It's now all about "Me" and the anything goes spirituality.
Today, June 8, is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Honoring Mary's Immaculate Heart is really just another way of honoring Mary as the person who was chosen to be the Mother of God, recognizing her extraordinary holiness and the immense love she bestowed on Jesus as his mother, the person who was called to share in and co-operate in his redemptive sufferings.
How do we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in this time of severe crisis which is expressed through the faces and different situations in so many places in the world?... From the anguished Heart of Mary, who saw and felt the pain of those who lived humiliated or had nothing to eat, came the "Magnificat" which, being born from a Heart full of God, is a song of hope.
Each year on Good Friday the Passion of Jesus Christ according to John is read aloud in our churches. John's Gospel, as we know, was written later than the other Gospels, perhaps some seventy years after Jesus died, and those years gave John plenty of time to reflect upon Jesus' death and highlight a number of aspects that are not as evident in the other Gospels. What are those special aspects?
Benedict XVI began Lent today with the reflection: "He does not really fast who does not know how to nourish himself on the Word of God." The Pope made this affirmation at the general audience, during which he reflected on baptism and the readings from each Sunday of Lent.
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has called for a return to the tradition of self-sacrifice and abstinence during Lent. Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols said Catholics should give up meat on Fridays and match self-denial with increased giving to the poor.
A publicity drive has started for the census, now just five weeks away, but the survey is being criticised for its question on religion. So is it even possible to accurately measure how religious the UK is? According to the last Census 10 years ago, more than two-thirds of people in Britain regarded themselves as Christian - 72% in England and Wales, and 65% in Scotland. More than 1.5 million in England and Wales, more than 3% of the population, said they were Muslim and nearly eight million ticked "no religion".