Lent 2016

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...
For all his daily essentials: 10 litres of water
The Chaplain at Wimbledon College, the Jesuit school for 11 to 18-year-old boys in South West London, has set himself a thirsty challenge for Lent: to live on 10 litres of water a day for a week. James Potter, who took the challenge to live on less than £1 a day a few years ago, is fundraising through the College for CAFOD’S Lenten Water appeal.  He is also linking it with the Jubilee Year of Mercy, specifically ‘Giving drink to the thirsty’.Initially, James felt that 10 litres was quite a...
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...
Fr Nicholas King SJ
As we enter Lent, the Southwark Catholic Youth Service (SCYS) has unveiled an online spiritual resource developed with Father Nicholas King SJ. Using Fr King’s own translation of the Gospels, the Stations of the Cross recorded by the SCYS are linked directly with the Jubilee Year of Mercy and follow the sequence that is familiar in Catholic churches and which has been handed down since the 15th century.“The Pope would like you to recognise the love of God that’s operating in your life,” Fr King...
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...