“In Their Own Words,” our Lenten series on prayer, continues this week. This week we are featuring Dan Kennedy, an undergraduate student (’12) studying in the College of Arts and Sciences. We asked Dan to reflect upon the role that prayer plays in his life. Here’s what he had to say:
We hear about many different Boston Colleges. Talks by Kerry Cronin and experts on relationship have grown our communities’ awareness of the hook-up culture at Boston College. Photos in the Boston College Chronicle show BC students serving marginalized individuals at the local, national, and international levels. The agora portal heralds the latest grant and award presented to a member of the BC community. All these facets of BC are embodiments of our school’s motto of “Ever to Excel,” but where does BC speak about its prayer culture?
I am very glad to see BC educators reflecting on how to more deeply foster a culture of prayer. When compared to other facets of BC, I do not find it hard to believe the other parts of BC hide the prayer culture of BC. Trying to stay off the extremes of agnosticism or absolute knowledge of the nature of God and the world, my experience of the prayer culture at BC has been grounded in a sense of discovery, most notably in the Ignatian examen and prayerful conversations. Reflecting on my daily experiences in the examen helps me to expand my vision to see where God was working in my day when I did not see him previously; practicing the examen daily does not fully satisfied in understanding how god is always working in my life but I learn to trust more that He is even when I do not yet see it. Some conversations are like a sacred prayer because of their topic being the grappling with questions of ultimate meaning—the existence of God and evil, ethics, vocational discernment. These prayerful conversations are the more prevalent forms of prayer on campus; although they lack the traditional form, God is present.
I hold the examen and these prayerful conversations to mutually build off each other to re-energize my experience in traditional forms of prayer like mass and the rosary. The examen helps me in my personal relationship with God. Conversations expand my understanding of God’s cooperative enterprise with everyone to live a life of virtue and love. My prayer for this campus and for myself during the season of Lent is we become more aware of the mystery of God embracing us in boundless love in not only our personal lives but the world.