Jesuits in South Africa publish reflections for Lent

The Jesuit Institute in South Africa (a Region of the British Province) has published a book of reflections that link the season of Lent with South Africans’ experience of liberation and address more broadly Pope Francis’ call for the Church to actively participate in political life.

Last November, Pope Francis said: “Responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.” This is being felt particularly keenly in South Africa which today is on the brink of its first general election since the death of Nelson Mandela. In 'A Revolution of the Spirit', Fr Anthony Egan SJ offers a series of daily reflections which not only take readers on the journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday but also parallel this with the experience of liberation: of the Israelites and of South Africa 20 years ago when its people were heading to their first free elections. He uses quotations from the Lectionary and combines them with additional quotations from political activists and other Scriptures.

“Each meditation can be read on its own,” writes Fr Egan in his introduction to 'A Revolution of the Spirit'. “But careful examination will reveal a pattern, rooted in reflection on the past, as an attempt to understand the present, with a view to a possible future. Certain themes recur: the interconnection between God working in biblical ‘history’ and in the history of South Africa; our moral responsibility to make democracy in South Africa work; the memory of the 1994 transition to democracy and the anticipation of the 2014 election; and the need for a critical reading of where we’ve come from in order that we might keep our future accountable, for ourselves and generations still to come.”

'A Revolution of the Spirit' was officially launched in South Africa by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Archbishop of Durban, as part of the events to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Archbishop Denis Hurley. In Britain, copies are available from Jesuit Missions, 11 Edge Hill, London SW19 4LR; phone 020 8946 0466; email