Joseph A. Komonchak
Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.
By this author
As I've done before, I'll be sending during Lent translated excerpts from St. Augustine, most of them from his sermons. Last year I sent a note explaining how I came to do this and providing a very short introduction to Augustine the Preacher, which you can find here.
In yesterday’s audience Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the family by talking about family meals where, he said, people share not only food but affection, stories, events. He regards this element of life-together as a reliable thermometer by which to measure the health of relationships: if something’s going wrong, if there’s some hidden wound, this is quickly recognized at the table. “A family that hardly ever eats together, or in which people don’t talk but watch television or a smartphone, is not much of a family.” We are in danger of losing an important Christian symbol.
"Christianity has a special vocation to life-together, everybody knows that. The Lord Jesus liked to teach at table, and he sometimes represented the Kingdom of God as a festive banquet. He also chose the table to leave the disciples his spiritual testament–he did this at supper–concentrated in the memorial of his Sacrifice, the gift of his Body and his Blood as the food and drink of salvation, which nourish true and lasting love.
"In this perspective we can say that the family is “at home” at Mass, precisely because it brings its own experience of life-together and opens it up to the grace of a universal life-together, of God’s love for the world. Sharing in the Eucharist, the family is purified of the temptation to close in upon itself; strengthened in love and fidelity, it broadens the boundaries of its own fellowship according to the heart of Christ."
It is hard today to recover the value of family meals. “People talk at table; people listen at table.” There’s no egoistic silence–everybody doing his own thing, watching TV or on the computer, and people aren’t talking.
I grew up in a large family, and it was rare when there were fewer than ten people around our dining room table. And, God knows, we talked!
My father left school at the age of 16. His father was not pleased and told him that if he wasn’t going to school, he was going to work and brought him down to the brickyards with him. It didn’t take long before my father decided that perhaps he should look for something else to do. He went to secretarial school in New York City, learned shorthand and typing, and found his first real job as a travelling secretary on The Twentieth-Century Limited, the crack train that ran between New York and Chicago. He was available to take dictation and prepare documents for passengers.
The semi-official Vatican journal "La Civiltà Cattolica" has published an interview with Fr. Jean-Miguel Garrigues, professor of patristics and dogmatics at the Institut Supérieur Thomas d’Aquin, at the Dominican House of Studies in Toulouse, and at the Seminaire International St Cure'd Ars. He worked with Cristoph Schönborn in preparing the Catechism of the Catholic Church. With regard to issues likely to be the subject of passionate debate at the Synod of Bishops in October, Garrigues proposed a pastoral approach that takes into account the personal journeys of individuals.
"And we have seen him, and he had no beauty nor comeliness" (Is 53:2). Was our bridegroom ugly, then? Of course not! ... It was to those persecuting him that he appeared ugly. If they had not thought him ugly, they would not have attacked him, they would not have beaten him with whips, they would not have crowned him with thorns, they would not have dishonored him with spit. They did all these things because he appeared ugly to them. They did not have eyes to see why he is beautiful.
It has been announced that Jean Vanier, founder and inspiration of L’Arche (The Ark) has been awarded the 2015 Templeton Prize. Here you can find the purpose of the prize,
here is the Foundation’s tribute to Vanier along with several videos in which he explains his thought, actions, and institutions
The headline in a piece in NCR Today: "University presidents reflect on the life of Jesuit Fr. Ted Hesburgh".
Irony? Freudian slip?
But now I see that he's been de-Jesuitized in the headline, and an apology issued.
In preparation for tomorrow's Gospel, and in hopeful support of our own forty days... Sent to me by a friend.
Some things to consider doing for Lent:
Do something positive–not just giving up things (yet another attempt to lose weight!): (Augustine: “Fasting is not enough”). The money you save by what you give up should go to the poor.
getting in touch with people (relatives, friends)
a phone call
visiting the sick, the elderly, the lonely
repairing a broken relationship–take the initiative
asking for forgiveness
Early in 2008 I wrote to the editors of Commonweal to ask if during Lent I might send to the dotCommonweal blog daily excerpts from St. Augustine’s writings. They agreed, and many people were kind enough to thank me for them and interested enough to comment upon the texts. I don’t seem to have repeated this exercise in 2009 and 2010, but each of the years since 2011 I have returned to it and I intend to offer new excerpts this Lent, too.
Last year the editors asked that the excerpts not be published on dotCommonweal but appear rather on the main website of the magazine, under the title “Lenten Reflections.” I agreed to that and have also agreed to the same arrangement for the coming series, even though last year comments on the excerpts were disappointingly few and far between. It would appear that readers of the homepage are not as inclined to comment as are participants in dotCommonweal. But the editors tell me that the Lenten reflections have attracted a lot of people to the home page, and this is significant for the journal’s bottom line. We agreed, however, that there could be a weekly summary or collection of the excerpts, which I believe will appear on Fridays. In any case, if you are interested, you know where you can find them, and, please, feel free to comment. Otherwise I gain the impression that they’ve fallen, to use Hume’s phrase, “still-born from the press.”
Some people have asked me where I found the excerpts.
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