Saints and seasons

Picture of eucharistic gifts
In the bread and wine we have ‘both sign and realisation of a new creation, binding it together and transforming it from within.’ For the feast of Corpus Christi, Fr Harry Elias reflects on the communion with Christ into which we and all of creation are welcomed through the Eucharist.  This is what Paul says about the Last Supper, which he calls the Lord’s Supper:The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break,...
Photo by Juliana Muncinelli at flickr.com
‘The cross of Christ is a sign of God’s willingness to forgive us’, writes Russell Pollitt SJ as he concludes our series on the Spiritual Works of Mercy in Laudato si’.  As we contemplate our own sinfulness and the ultimate example of forgiveness in these days of Holy Week, we follow Pope Francis in viewing the ecological crisis ‘as a summons to profound interior conversion’, and recognise that true conversion involves sharing God’s mercy with...
Photograph of finger pointing at camera
Laudato si’ is a model of an Ignatian approach to sinfulness, an approach that is at the heart of Francis’ papacy, says Edel McClean as she reflects on how the encyclical helps us to think about our next Spiritual Work of Mercy: to admonish the sinner. Ignatius and Pope Francis ‘encourage us to look our personal sin in the eye, but we only take this step when we have a deep understanding of God’s creative and transformative love for us.’ Speaking to the...
Photograph of hands cradling a candle
‘The great parable of God’s mercy is the best place to start’ if we want to think about why praying for the living and the dead is merciful, says Richard Leonard SJ. In the latest article in our series on the Spiritual Works of Mercy in Laudato si’, we see how the encyclical calls us to realise that the moments and choices of our everyday lives matter, to us and to God. The seventh spiritual work of mercy is to pray for the living and the dead. Not long ago...
Inscription in the Church of Saint-Sulpice, Paris
‘O if we but knew what we do’, wrote Gerard Manley Hopkins as he despaired over the way in which he saw the natural world suffer at the hands of humankind. This attentiveness to and solidarity with the suffering of a fragile planet and its most vulnerable inhabitants is a Spiritual Work of Mercy, writes Teresa White FCJ: comforting the afflicted is at the very core of what it means to be merciful. Recently, a friend of mine spent a few days in Paris, and on her return she told...
‘The gravity of the ecological crisis demands that we all look to the common good, embarking on a path of dialogue which demands patience, self-discipline and generosity’, writes Pope Francis in Laudato si’. When we struggle to show this patience, particularly in the face of what we perceive to be wrongdoing, we should look to the resilience of the natural world for encouragement and instruction in this particular work of mercy, says Henry Longbottom SJ. The Marsh...
Photo by Joshua Earle via Unsplash
In St Augustine’s description of his ministry, he said that: ‘The turbulent have to be corrected, the faint-hearted cheered up, the weak supported; the Gospel's opponents need to be refuted, its insidious enemies guarded against; the unlearned need to be taught, the indolent stirred up, the argumentative checked; the proud must be put in their place, the desperate set on their feet, those engaged in quarrels reconciled; the needy have to be helped, the oppressed to be liberated...
To instruct the ignorant
In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has called for Lent to be ‘lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy.’[1] Thinking Faith will respond to this invitation by offering a series of reflections on the Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy in the context of Laudato si’. We begin by asking what it means to ‘instruct the ignorant’. ‘Ignorant’ is not a word with which most of us would like to be...
On 1 January, we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It may seem like a simple or even obvious name to give to Mary, but the controversies that beset the development of this particular devotion reveal otherwise. Dorian Llywelyn SJ explores the enduring significance of this ancient feast, the title of which ‘contains the whole mystery of the Incarnation.’ Manchester University’s John Rylands Library is the home of a fragment of Egyptian papyrus. ‘Rylands...
Photo of father & child on beach
When Christians ascribe to Jesus the four familiar titles from Isaiah 9:6 – ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ – the one that might seem out of place is ‘Everlasting Father’: isn’t Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son? But consider the understanding of divinely-instituted kingship that informs this text, says Teresa White FCJ, and a new and helpful perspective on fatherhood can emerge.Read 'A child by...

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