Lent

Photo of desert by TREEAID at flickr.com
Early Christians spent time in the desert because it was there that they felt best placed to turn themselves to God. Nearly 2000 years later, the deserts of the world can still orient us to God, but perhaps for a different reason. Jaime Tatay SJ uses Ignatian ideas to show that the desertification of the natural world should challenge us ‘to shape more enlightened and responsible ways of thinking, feeling and behaving’. When we think of a desert today, we imagine a waterless, desolate area...
American circus showman, P.T. Barnum. Wikipedia Commons
From Antony Egan SJ at the Jesuit Institute South AfricaThe famous American circus showman P T Barnum allegedly said "There's a sucker born every minute!" People are gullible, believing anything so long as you package it correctly, say it loud and often enough, and come across as being authoritative. It's the essence of political, economic and religious fundamentalism, the oxygen of populism, and the root of the violence and xenophobia that plagues our era.Consider xenophobia in its various...
The Negev Desert
Thinking Faith’s Lenten reflections this year will take us into the desert, as we look at how and why it is so often a place of encounter with God and of transformation. James Hanvey SJ introduces the desert as a living memory within the Christian tradition – what does it mean to be people of the desert, and why might there be a heightened awareness of that during Lent?Some years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Negev while on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I was completely unprepared for...
Mass at Farrn St
SERIOUS CHALLENGES face not only Catholicism but all Christian Churches this Shrovetide as we prepare for our Lenten renewal of the Church.We are living in a rapidly changing world in uncertain times politically, socially and culturally. And Christians and their Churches are changing with it, so much so that many Christians are beginning to question whether their Churches are in serious danger of losing not only their way, but losing their true denominational identity. Many Christians are...
Covers of Dethroning Mammon and Stations of the Cross - then and now
Denis Blackledge SJ recommends two titles that you might want to have at your fingertips throughout the season of Lent this year: the Archbishop of Canterbury challenges us to make money serve grace; and Denis McBride leads us through a visual meditation on how the Stations of the Cross manifest themselves in today’s world. Dethroning Mammon: Making Money Serve Graceby Justin WelbyThe Archbishop of Canterbury has done us all a good and timely service with a carefully crafted little...
Ruth shares her experience of a week of guided prayer retreat run by the Jesuits at her parish.“I decided to do the Week of Guided Prayer after hearing about it at mass one Sunday evening. It was one of the most important decisions I have ever made. During and after the week I was so free of anything that troubled me before, everything was clear and I felt nothing but joy all the time, it was incredible! I learned how I can find God in all things, which brings so much more meaning to these...
A Journey Through Holy WeekIntroductionIt is Holy Week – the week in which we re-live in our prayers the journey Jesus made from Jerusalem to his crucifixion on Calvary and his resurrection.We have produced eight conversations for Holy week to take you back to those tense and frightening days in Jerusalem and place you alongside the apostles as they try to make sense of the political and mystical forces at work in what is happening to them, to Jesus their Lord, and to the people of God.When...
Whenever she heard the story of the woman who was taken in adultery, my mother always used to ask – with some anger in her voice – “What ever happened to the man who was taken in adultery?”I don’t profess any great expertise in the matter, but even I know that adultery is a crime that takes two. So, what ever happened to the other one?Well, of course, we shall never know – the scripture does not record - but I always wonder if that is part of what motivates Jesus in challenging the hypocrisy of...
The Risen Christ appears to Mary Magdalene
A Lent retreat from our colleagues at Pray as you go and Sacred Space reflects on the ‘Women of the Passion’. Some of them we know by name, others we don’t; but all of their lives were transformed by their encounter with Jesus. For International Women’s Day (8 March), Brian Purfield invites us to participate in that transformation by contemplating the experience of one of these women, the first person to whom the risen Christ chose to appear – Mary Magdalene. ...

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