Monday, March 31, 2014

Reflection for Tuesday, 1 April 2014

EZ 47: 1-9, 12
PS 46: 2-3, 5-6, 8-9
JN 5: 1-16

If you are starting to feel parched from our journey with Jesus into the desert, today's readings are a refreshing way to quench that thirst! As a liturgical musician I find Lent a dry, somber period. Where we normally rock the house with raucous and uplifting melodies, Lent encourages us all take a step in a more reflective and pensive direction. The introspective music deeply echoes our Lenten directive to take that- sometimes frustrating and often challenging - journey with Jesus into the unknown. Today's readings are a deeply mystical vision from Ezekiel filled with water imagery (I imagine a trippy Pink Floyd dreamscape).These readings tell of God's promise of great things to come. These images remind us that no matter how much we thirst on this desert adventure, God will quench that thirst with unstoppable rivers of love, hope and deep peace. But let's not forget about the Gospel reading! Here Jesus works a miracle – on the Sabbath nonetheless! - seemingly violating Sabbath law. Jesus - the realization, the embodiment of God's new promise as prophesied in the first reading - breaks the chains of our bondage in our great salvation ministry, fulfilling God's promise beyond our wildest imaginations. So be strong and hold firm! The house will soon rock once again with resounding  jubilation as we bask in the flowing and never ending waters of God's grace!

Sean Dineen is the Choir Director for the 9:00 p.m. Mass Choir.

Reflection for Monday, March 31, 2014


Reflecting on today’s first reading from Isaiah, I couldn’t help but become giddy at the thought of Paradise.  What a place it must be, filled with “rejoicing and happiness.”  And then the royal official, whose son was healed by Jesus; he must have royally rejoiced and felt like he was in Paradise once he learned his son was well!  When I was a kid, I used to think that Heaven might be boring – singing praises to God all day long, seeing the same old angels all the time and constantly “rejoicing.”  However, life has taught me that we in fact rejoice over God’s goodness much more often than I thought.  For example, when I am walking along West Pine between class on a Friday morning and I see a friendly face nearly every five feet, I silently rejoice that God has put me here at SLU and blessed me with great friends.  I think we can take this sort of rejoicing and make it a much more prevalent part of our daily lives.  Most of us are able to eat three meals a day, take a nice hot shower in the morning, and go to sleep under warm blankets with our heads on a comfortable pillow.  So much to rejoice about!
Join me during this Lent in taking time each day to rejoice over all of the blessings God has given each and every one of us.  He has a grand plan for everyone, and every day a little bit more of it unfolds right before our eyes and we ought not to miss it.  Let’s try to enjoy every moment and rejoice in God, just as the royal official and Isaiah did.  Nowadays, I don’t have such a narrow view of Heaven – I picture all of the favorite days of my life and multiply the happiness level by a thousand to get a better feel for it (and that’s only the beginning I’m sure!)  But let’s take our time here on earth, first - for all too soon we may find ourselves up in Heaven, rejoicing our hearts out.

My name is Jimmy Canning.  I am a junior here at SLU majoring in civil engineering.  Come on out to Marguerite on Mondays at 9:00 and join Patrick Cousins, me and a crazy gang of students for “Monday Maniacs” – you’ll be glad you did J

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Reflection for Sunday, March 30, 2014


Every time I walk toward Communion on Sundays, I pray for one thing: an understanding heart. Not only do I want to more fully understand the mystery of our faith, of God’s greatest sacrifice for us, but I also desire to strip my heart of the blindness I’ve created from my own sin and ignorance. Blindness, to me, perfectly describes how we negatively affect our relationship with God by failing to overcome the sin and downfalls of our human nature. Over time, it’s easy for all of us to allow the small sins we make to be repeated. For example, I make the same judgments I always make against certain people over again, I build up my own “altered moral code”, I consistently praise worldly things for my happiness instead of God, and in doing so, I create a blinded heart. This is where we hinder our hearts from growing. We let them stay in states of blindness, allowing sin to persist as we shut out our light, our God. The importance of clarifying our hearts is seen in the first reading from 1 Samuel, Chapter 16; for “not as man sees does God see/because man sees the appearance/but the Lord looks into the heart.” As we concentrate this Lenten season to repent our sins and make sacrifices to send up to the Lord, let us focus more on clarifying our hearts and breaking the cycle of sin and ignorance that leads to blindness.  Let us not be like the Pharisees John mentions in the Gospel who failed to see the work of Christ (John 9: 1-41). Let us notice our sins and work to clear our hearts so we can once again see Christ’s sacrifice and grow in a new light with Him.

Deirdre Harvey is a senior studying Nursing. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Reflection for Saturday, March 29, 2014

HOS 6: 1-6
PS 51: 3-4, 18-19, 20-21AB
LK 18: 9-14

I believe one of the greatest and most challenging themes of Lent is the practice of humility. In a setting such as a university where achievement is paramount, humility becomes a seemingly useless trait. As college students, we are constantly taught how to sell ourselves to countless potential network connections, employers, and graduate schools. Those who experience the most “success” are those who are the most marketable, forward, and ambitious. While drive and motivation are important qualities to have as budding professionals, I believe they have little place in our faith lives, especially during Lent. As believers, it is important to always drive to become closer to God, and motivate ourselves to live more deeply with him. Even the first reading says, “Let us strive to know the Lord”. However, Hosea chapter 6 speaks to God’s desire for our hearts to be contrite, and humble. The goal-oriented drive we use in our scholastic lives has little use towards the goal of humility. The way I understand God’s grace and love is that we do not need to earn or deserve it, because it is already unconditionally available to us. The purpose of Lent is to make our hearts as ready as possible to accept the love poured out for us in the salvation of the cross. Humility is one of the best tools to prepare our hearts for Lent.
            The promises we make during Lent are meant to remove obstacles that separate us from living closely with God, such as bad habits or distractions. The way I relate these obstacles to the practice of humility is visualizing how each obstacle we remove allows us to come closer and closer to sitting at the feet of Jesus on the cross, which is the most humbling position I can think of.  At the foot of the cross, believers are completely reliant on the mercy of Christ. There is no room for reliance on our own abilities and strengths, only humility.
            I love the parable of the tax collector because it is the classic underdog/David-and-Goliath victory for the little man. Those who have failed, those who are weak, can find comfort that all they need is to kneel down, accept their failures, and ask for mercy to receive love. I count myself among the weak and the failed, so I celebrate this gospel as an invitation and promise that mercy will be there when I am humble enough to ask sincerely! I am terrible at fasting, and stingy with what little money I have, but I know how to ask for forgiveness. So despite the enormous challenge of trading our college brains for humble hearts, believers like us can find refuge in the gospel of the tax collector. Especially during Lent, we can walk closer and closer to the foot of the Cross and shape our hearts into hearts God can enter into: humble ones.

Lizzie Corcoran is a sophomore studying Public Health.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Reflection for Friday, March 28, 2014


Those that know me well, (or even not so well), know that I speak lovingly and honestly about my two little loves, Riley (2.5 years) and Hudson (1.5 years) who keep  me always on my toes and constantly attentive to the moment at hand.  Between middle of the night snuggles, around the clock diaper changes and potty training, books and blocks and balls and trains, I find little time to be attentive to anything else.  And when that little time does present itself, my husband Mike and I tag team as best we can to tackle the laundry, shopping, cooking, cleaning and all other mundane, ordinary demands of family life, while still remaining committed to our own careers.  Very rarely do I find time for grand gestures of love and sometimes I fear that yet another day has ended and I've found myself too busy to love the family around me, let alone students, lets alone friends, LET ALONE GOD. 

The season of Lent invites us to consider more deeply the ways in which we pray, fast and give as methods of understanding and responding to God with us in a most radical and transformative way.  Perhaps in its most simple and pure form, my vocation, my response to God's love, is to treasure and nurture my little family unit, and so perhaps it seems fitting that my reflections on my Lenten journey begin with them.  In what ways have I prayed for and with these beautiful people I so easily take for granted?  From what people, places or things have I chosen to fast so as to call my attention more purely to my family unit?  In what ways have I chosen to give of my time, my talents or my treasures to more radically respond to God's love for me?

Today's Gospel commands us to love God with ALL of our being, and to love those around us with equal vigor.  And this love isn't passive.  This radial love for the God who so intimately surrounds us demands prayer....real, honest, vulnerable conversation.  This radical love demands that we take leave of those things that distract us from God here with us.  And this radical acceptance of love and “yes” to love invites us to give and give and give of all of those treasures that God first entrusted to our care.  So then maybe grand gestures of love and grandiose Lenten promises miss the mark altogether.  Maybe it's really all an invitation to slow down a little, notice the radical, yet ordinary love of God that is already all around us, and say “yes”.

Julie McCourt is a Campus Minister. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reflection for Thursday, March 27, 2014


As a 20 year-old college student involved on campus I am constantly feeling like I am going from one thing to the next. With the flurry of things going on I find little time for myself or my relationships, especially my relationship with God. I always think to myself late at night I can pray tomorrow I am just too tired tonight. This routine continues on and on until suddenly I question the last time I prayed and I realize that I can no longer hear God’s voice in my heart.        

Thus says the LORD:
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper.  
                                                            -JER 7: 23

Today’s readings remind us to stop and listen to God’s voice. The voice of God is one that will help you prosper in your life. God is there for me in times of need, despair, and joy so why does it seem like I turn away from Him when I have that joy and then only return to Him in that despair?

During the Lenten season I usually gave something up like sweets or television. This giving up of an item has evolved since coming to college. I find myself in a place where rather than giving up an item I spend time in prayer with God. During the Lenten season especially I faithfully start off my day and end my day with prayer. I find that this is helping me become closer to God and hearing His voice in my heart.

Ann Knezetic is the President-Elect of the Student Government Association.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Reflection for Wednesday, March 26, 2014


In reflecting on today’s reading, this particular passage below resonated with me.

“However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”

As one who understands, recognizes and believes that I stand on the shoulders of many who have passed wisdom throughout my family community over the past several decades, I have an appreciation for both formal and informal education.  What I have learned from my family has provided me with invaluable knowledge and keen awareness that I could have never imagined gaining from structured educational systems.  It is my belief that in order to build and maintain a family community, there has to be a foundation in which history, tradition, customs, rituals and truth are carried throughout generations.

I have also learned that there is a great sense of privilege in having both intelligence and wisdom. Some naturally possess these, some are educationally trained, and many have life experiences that enable them to possess these as well. This intelligence provides us with knowledge that many are not privy.  I believe that with privilege comes responsibility and obligation. We are children of the world and answer to something larger than self.  We are responsible for sustaining our communities and adding to the many structures of life through the passing of knowledge. 

It is my responsibility to teach my child(ren) about the richness of their history that predates America’s existence; the influence that their ancestors had on modern science, language, medicine, astronomy, religion, etc.; the strength and the beauty of who they are and others who are like them; the injustices that were and are currently faced by many in the United States and world; and the strength, hope and perseverance of those who fought against those social wrongs.  It is my responsibility to ensure that my child(ren) make those connections to their mere existence today. I owe gratitude to my family and extended family circle for imparting this knowledge and making the connection for me. What I have gained from what their eyes have seen is imbedded in me and shapes my being. I can only hope to teach my child(ren) and their child(ren) as those who have taught me.

LaTanya Buck, Director of the Cross Cultural Center (since 2009).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Reflection for Tuesday, March 25, 2014

IS 7: 10-14; 8:10
PS 40: 7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 11
HEB 10: 4-10
LK 1: 26-38

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we celebrate the Annunciation of our Lord, and I say celebrate because it truly is something to celebrate in our faith.  In our Gospel reading today, we hear the story of the Angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary to announce the special mission God has chosen for her, which is being the mother of God’s only son.  Despite Mary being confused and frightened, she accepts God’s will for her as she says, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.”  This feast day takes us back to the source of spiritual joy and a pure example of following God’s will.
I think this is a story that is often times heard but not truly processed. Take a few moments to put yourselves in the shoes of Mary.  Imagine that fear that she was feeling.  That fright that filled her. All the questions she was wondering.  What are other people going to think?  How did this happen?  Why did God choose me?  What is Joseph going to do? How am I going to have a child when I’m just a child? 
As children of God, this is a perfect example that teaches us to trust in our Lord and truly surrender to what He has in store for each one of His children.  Mary was asked to take upon a big mission, and she did nothing but let His will be done unto her.  I think this is very relatable to us because sometimes it is easy to question what God is wanting from us.  We wonder what God is doing in our lives.  We are confused as to how God is working within us.  We feel as though we cannot hear those small whispers God is giving us.  Through this story we are called to follow Mary’s example of answeing God’s will for each of us, despite any fear, anxiety, nervousness, or confusion we may be feeling.
A prayer that emphasizes the importance of this feast day is the Angelus. The name of the prayer comes from the Latin version of the first words, “The Angel.”  The Angelus is prayer that invites people to stop what they are doing and pause to pray, recalling the mystery of the Incarnation.   In this prayer, three Hail Mary’s are said, representing the three main moments that enabled the Incarnation to become to reality in our Salvation history.  The first moment is during the Annunciation when Gabriel announced to Mary that she was going to conceive and bear the Son of God, the second moment is when Mary says “yes” to accept the mission God has placed upon her, and the third moment is the consequence of her “yes” and what this would mean for the world.  This is a great prayer to use to reflect on this feast day that we celebrate today.  As we spend time in prayer with our Lord, it is just another way God can break into our human experience and become one with us in our daily lives.
Today, challenge yourself to trust God a little more than you did yesterday and the day before that.  Maybe even make this a challenge for yourself this Lenten season.  Spend time in prayer telling God “yes” to whatever He wants for you.  Take comfort in this story and the way God used Mary as His instrument of love and joy to know that throughout all that is happening in our lives, God is also using us as His instrument of love and joy.  Celebrate today!

Betty Goodwin is a first-year student studying education.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Reflection for Monday, March 24, 2014

2 KGS 5: 1-15AB
PS 42: 2, 3; 43: 3, 4
LK 4: 24-30

Today marks the 34th anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. How appropriate that the reading and the gospel for today link together God’s favor for those who seem to stand outside the established categories of access: to healing, to membership in the people of God, to justice. Jesus, speaking in the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth, infuriated the people he grew up with by reminding them of stories from the Old Testament in which God’s favor went to Gentiles – a widow provided for by Elijah, a Syrian military man cured of leprosy by Elisha.

Born in a small village and apprenticed as a carpenter before entering a life of religious service, MonseƱor Romero was known throughout much of his career as a pious, traditional priest, devoted to learning and an introspective spirituality. His election as archbishop in 1977 was closely followed by the murder of his friend Rutilio Grande, a Jesuit who worked closely with small communities of peasants; Grande’s death was one significant step for Romero in his growing understanding of the inevitably social reality of the gospel – just as Jesus recited in the gospel, quoting from the closing section of the book of the prophet Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (IS 61: 1-2)

Romero spent three years as archbishop, denouncing the disappearances, tortures, and assassinations occurring around him, before he was himself assassinated while celebrating the Eucharist at the chapel of the hospital where he kept a simple residence. Speaking in Belgium less than two months before his death, Romero summed up his understanding of the role of the church in El Salvador: “Not any and every priest has been persecuted, not any and every institution has been attacked. That part of the church has been attacked and persecuted that put itself on the side of the people and went to the people's defense. Here again we find the same key to understanding the persecution of the church: the poor.” (Feb. 2, 1980)

Romero’s cause for canonization is currently underway, although some people have objected that he should not be understood as a martyr because he died for political reasons rather than because of his murderers’ hatred of the faith per se (they were themselves most likely practicing Catholics). However, Jesus in the gospel and Romero recall the centrality of right practice for an authentic living of the Christian life, and the danger of challenging regimes of power/knowledge that claim to know and control the truth. The gospel, they both make clear, is not merely or even primarily a set of metaphysical propositions about what is really “out there” or how to be saved after death, but a vision for the transformation of the world in light of the absolute dignity of all persons and the abiding love of God for human flourishing. Failure to act on behalf of that vision is a failure of faith/fidelity, regardless of our doctrinal correctness, to the gospel itself.

Reflection for Sunday, March 23, 2014


The idea of Lent has always been, for me, the idea of giving up a material possession. As a young child growing up, I remember debating about whether I should “give up” chocolate, or soda, or other unhealthy foods, knowing that when Easter came, I could eat candy or drink soda again. Lent seemed to be about sacrifice, and self-discipline. And I believe that it is. But, for me, it is also about trust. Trust that the sacrifice and self-discipline would lead to a deeper sense of self, or a deeper understanding of others, and perhaps lead to a deeper understanding of my relationship with God.

Maybe, this year, I should “give up” my disbelief in others and challenge myself to trust the God in them, in their words, and in their actions. Instead of giving up, maybe it is time for me to embrace differing perspectives in my fellows and suspend criticism, which seems to be a natural part of our thinking these days, and simply trust. Trust that God is in our midst and will provide water to those who thirst. Trust that Moses is not leading us astray. Trust that my spirit will guide me through my daily life so that I can act with peaceful intent.

Stacey Harrington is Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs.