On the Feast of All Souls, many people fondly remember their deceased grandparents. For Billy, that experience of boundless love for an elder helped break through a distracting period of prayer.
Most existing histories of Jesuit slaveholding prioritize the actions and voices of Jesuit slaveholders, and not the people they held in bondage. Ayan Ali tells about her research with the Jesuits’ Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation Project which seeks to address this historical bias by conducting extensive historical research with an intentional focus on the lives of enslaved people.
Bishop Barron says an abyss has developed between religion and protest movements since the 1960s and sees postmodern philosophy as the cause. However, the divide, which is not new, is more complex than that and its cause is not postmodernism, but racism.
I am far from the only person who has ever been frustrated by prayer in which “nothing happens.” In fact, I hear this quite regularly from people sharing their spiritual lives. We want to experience our prayer as we do almost everything else: productively. We wish to finish a time in prayer feeling that we have accomplished something, learned something, moved forward, or used our time well.
When I speak about racism, am I generally more worried about how white people will feel, react, or think of me than I am about how people of color will? Does my Church, my workplace, my classroom consider mainly the sensitives, comfort and concerns of white people? Billy Critchley-Menor points the anti-racism conversation in the right direction when he explains that it is about white people being held accountable to People of Color. White supremacy has shaped society around the accountability of white people. Anti-racism refocuses our attention so we are held accountable by the oppressed in our society; those in whom Jesus lives according to the Gospels.
A wedding in the midst of a pandemic puts things in perspective.
“What is truth?” Pilate will ask Jesus. And, Jesus will answer with his life. I’ve been thinking this week about a Jesuit brother of mine who has been sitting in jail in Brunswick, Georgia, for the last two years trying to do the same: answer with his life.
Both the season of Lent and the current coronavirus crisis are desert experiences. Just as we adapt new practices during Lent, we are experiencing radical changes in our lives with the spread of COVID-19. Last month, we reached out to TJP readers about how they are praying, fasting, and giving alms this year. Many of you responded. Read the responses, along with the graces that readers are receiving. You’ll find that these words echo even stronger amid the uncertainty and anxiety of the current crisis.
There is something I find at Mass on Ash Wednesday that I don’t find elsewhere. Nowhere besides here do I step in line with old ladies in purple sweaters, fellow students, elderly widows, the nuns, the homeless, the workers on lunch hour, the priests, and the University president to face our shame, imperfections, and our transgressions, together.