As we culminate another Lenten season let us reflect. Whether you gave up meat, chocolate or technology take the time to remember from where you came in an effort to see your future. For 40 days like Jesus in the wilderness, you sacrificed for a reason. Look onward with rejoicing and faith that your sacrifice was not in vain.
Reflect on your renewed sense of well-being. Reflect on the change that will occur. Reflect on the righteousness of the heavenly father. He brought you to this place, this day, this moment to remember him and all of his sacrifices and the small opportunity we were able to partake in during Lent.
What a blessed joy to have the occasion to experience the goodness of Jesus. He died on the cross for us. Even before we were born Jesus knew us. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV). He knew us when we went down a path less than pleasing to him. Yet Jesus loved us with agape love. His love is not built on pretense of what we can do for him but rather what he can do for us.
For some it’s not always easy to stay focused on Jesus but hopefully this joyous time of the year will resonate peace in your soul. We are the true witness of Jesus’ holiness. He rose for us on the third day and with resounding wisdom, he prepared witnesses to share his life story with us. Now, we have the victory. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:55-57 (NIV). What a blessed hope we have in Jesus. God made us worthy so walk in the Favor of God (F.O.G.) and remember Jesus is Over You (J.O.Y.)!
Patricia Birch serves as Assistant Director of Residential Life at Boston College.
“In Their Own Words,” our Lenten series on prayer, continues this week. This week we are featuring Lexie Weber, a graduate student studying Higher Education Administration in the Lynch Graduate School of Education. We asked Lexie to reflect upon the role that prayer plays in her life. Here’s what she had to say:
In its most basic description, prayer is my continuous conversation with God. My introduction to prayer started at the Catholic schools I attended while I was growing up. Prayer was part of the regimented structure of the day—we prayed together in the morning, at lunch, and at the end of the day. In high school, we began almost every class with a prayer. Frequent prayer and reflection has continued to be an important component of my faith life. Now, I find myself praying in a less regimented way, but in a freer manner, as an expression of my faith and my relationship with God. I often pray on my daily walks to class or work. On these walks I find myself reflecting on anything from how my day is going to challenging beliefs and ideas that have come up in my classes or in conversations. Through prayer, I ask God for guidance and strength to live my life according to His will. I also find myself turning to God in gratitude for the many blessings I have received. These daily reflections and prayers are often a highlight of my day.
Prayer can also be more complex than a simple conversation. I believe strongly in the power of prayer, as a source of healing, strength, and tranquility. Before any challenging task, in school, at work, or in my personal life, I find myself praying for strength and guidance. I ask God to simply be with me throughout the challenging times and to help me get through them and do my best. I always feel calmer knowing that God will support me, even though I am often feeling weak, angry, or frustrated. I believe that prayer can contribute to healing and tranquility of mind, body, and soul. Prayer is both simple and complex, a beautiful expression of faith in God.
“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.
“In Their Own Words,” our Lenten series on prayer, continues this week. This week we are featuring Juan Perez, an undergraduate student (’12) studying in the College of Arts and Sciences. We asked Juan to reflect upon the role that prayer plays in his life. Here’s what he had to say:
Prayer is incredibly important throughout the entire year but even more so during the Lenten season. It is a time set aside during the year to really focus on Jesus and his sacrifice for our benefit. I do not pray as often or as long as I would like to but I do my best to pray whenever I get an opportunity. I pray just about each morning walking to class and ask for the blessings to get me through the day successfully and help make a positive impact in our world. I try and pray each night right before I go to bed and thank God for the day and ask for help in my upcoming activities. More importantly, I ask for guidance in my life and for help trying to live the most selfless and constructive life I can. During Lent, I especially try to see God in all things and have an open dialogue with God so it is more of a conversation rather than a formal and forced act. Praying is not easy nor does it provide immediate gratification but it is something that I have noticed helps me stay positive and enjoy life, especially during Lent.
During the season of Lent we’ll be featuring a series of BC student guest bloggers, who have graciously and bravely agreed to share their personal reflections on prayer with us. The task we asked our student guest bloggers to complete was both simple and daunting: “In a paragraph or two,” we told them, “we (student affairs administrators) would love to hear how you reflect upon your own prayer life. Here are some questions you might reflect upon. Where do you pray? How do you pray? When do you pray? What does prayer mean to you?”
Here’s what undergraduate Christopher Knoth, ’14, a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, had to say:
Prayer takes on a new role everyday in my life. Whether it is waking up in the morning and feeling an urge to thank God for simply another day of his gift of life or it is in a time of great disparity, feeling alone and needing a friend to rely on who I know is always there to listen. In high school, I started almost everyday by parking in the school lot, taking 5 minutes of quiet time, and praying a decade of the rosary. I feel this is a good way to start every day fresh, with a new mindset regardless of how much sleep I got the night before. Now, I find it important to have a favorite prayer to always keep with me so I can pray whenever I find time. I put a prayer card of the Prayer of Abandonment in my wallet. Whenever I open my wallet, the least I can do is know the prayer is there and think of the words without even praying.
I like to think of prayer as an informal, but continuous conversation with Jesus. Because He is omnipresent, I like to go about my day simply having a conversation with Him. Prayer keeps me in line with my emotions, especially through a weekly reflection, a form of prayer commonly utilized by the Jesuits. Reflection helps calm me down and find both the good and bad aspects of my week, enabling my to understand their importance and impact on my life. Prayer is obviously unique to every person. To me, prayer is simply a way to stay connected with my faith and with myself. It affirms my beliefs and strengthens my religious cognition. This makes for a healthy and mature development.
Looking for a unique way to take time out for prayer, reflection and fellowship during the Lenten season? Not sure how to make this happen in the midst of your busy day? Campus Ministry and Graduate Student Life have just the answer for you: The Lenten Poetry series returns this year. Join us every Monday at noon, beginning March 14, in the Murray Graduate Student Center living room. We’ll provide poetry, cookies and tea. All you need to bring is yourself!
Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten season, a forty-day period of renewal before Easter. Prayer, fasting and charitable giving are common practices during Lent. On Ash Wednesday, many Christians attend liturgical services and “receive ashes” – a practice of having a cross traced on one’s forehead with the ashes from the burnt palms of the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration. Wondering how the imposition of ashes came to be and what it means? Click here to learn more about the history and practices of Ash Wednesday.
To celebrate Ash Wednesday on March 9, 2011, the following liturgical services will be offered at Boston College:
- St. Mary’s Chapel: 8am, 12pm
- Conte Forum: 12pm
- St. Ignatius Church: 12:15pm, 5:30pm, 7:30pm