Another week has gone by and Lent has
made its grand entrance. I know there are
still winter storms in the States but in the
Eternal City the beginnings of spring
surround us. The sessions continue to be
enlightening and I truly am grateful to be
here, not just to broaden my understanding
but also to experience what it is like to be in
the city of Peter and Paul. Fr. Nicanor, op
continues to share with us his insights on
St. Thomas Aquinas and their applications to our modern moral questions. I
appreciate greatly that the work of the Holy Spirit is indeed very simple but
that same Holy Spirit works with the totality of the human person and experience and that the inner and outer working of the human person needs to be concerned and appreciated.
This past week, because this is a college community, three presentations were given to the public. George Weigle was the first one to speak. He is the author of the book “Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches”. His presentation and book helps to see Rome as a Holy City and to see in Lent a time of renewal and growth. The cost of the book either in print or kindle edition tends to be steep but I think it is one of those books that will be appreciated over and over. The second speaker was the popular Scripture scholar Scott Hahn. He spoke on his book “Consuming the Word”. The focus of his excellent presentation is how the Eucharist and by implication the Resurrection is at the heart of the New Testament. That means Lent is all about Easter, the new life that we are called to share in Christ Jesus. The third speaker was Rev. Peter Harman, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois. He spoke on the “Role of Suffering in Catholic Moral Life”. He was, I thought, very good in showing how Scientific Progress combined with Consumerism has enriched us materially but has made us poor in our spirituality. That is because we seek to eliminate suffering (which is not bad) when we are also called as Disciples to transform our suffering so that the suffering person and the caregiver can both enrich and help each other. Whenever there is an opportunity for love to manifest itself as an exchange, a betterment of both parties, then the Gospel is proclaimed and the Kingdom breaks into our lives.
All is not work. There is time for me to visit and relax. The number of tourists and pilgrims have greatly increased because of Lent. I really like seeing all the school children, both primary and secondary level, who come for the Papal Audience on Wednesdays. People are from everywhere. It is a very favorable experience of the universality and diversity of the Church, which the more I experience it here, is not so much an institution but rather a communion. This is something that Pope Francis is working with in a marvelous manner. My prayers always.
PAX ET BONUM.