Ad Extra - Vol. 2, n. 3: February/March 2013
by C.J. Renz, OP
The liturgical calendar recognizes this time of year as Lent. In Latin it is called quadragesima (cuaresma in Spanish; quaresimain Italian) referring to the 40-day period of fast and abstinence.English-speaking nations call it Lent (lentein Dutch; lenz in German), from an Anglo-Saxon word, lencten. Use of this word began in the Middle Ages as sermons shifted from Latin to the vernacular.The shift is not trivial.
In the northernhemisphere, Christmas is celebrated at the darkest time of the year – the sunbeing furthest away from our planet. Dark, cold, gloom, snow, rain, … yuck! Itall can lead to a sense of impatience, even despair. But, as the daylightbegins to return and things warm up, little by little there is the sense ofrenewed hope and excitement. In its original usage, lencten simply meant Spring.
The gradual shift in liturgical usage to refer to theforty-day period of fast provides some insights into how the Church praysduring this time of year. It is a time not merely of deprivation (fast andabstinence) but more importantly one of anticipation and excitement, and inparticular for the Elect who will soon receive the Sacraments of Initiation.During Lent, the Church unites herself with these women and men in thisproximate journey towards the baptismal font and the Lord’s Table. Thus werealize that this self renewal is at the same time an act of love and support forthe Elect.
I try to remember this duty as I dead-head bushes andbuy seeds in anticipation of things to come. And I am happy to endure that bitof anxiety while awaiting the Rising Son to draw ever-closer so that new lifemay spring up.
Sr. Barbara Green, OP is currently leading a seven-session practical course on nonviolence sponsored by and with membership from those who are part of the Camaldolese community at Incarnation Monastery in Berkeley.
Fr. Bryan Kromholtz, OP will offer a lecture at the Aquinas Institute at Blackfriars Hall (Oxford, England) on Saturday, March 2, 2013 as part of the 8th Annual Aquinas Colloquium under the theme, “Teleology and Eschatology in Thomas Aquinas.” Fr. Bryan’s talk, one of four scheduled for the colloquium, is entitled: “Grace, Glory, and our God-Given Goal: Aquinas on Resurrection as Perfection of Corporeal Nature,” Other speakers include Jean Porter (Notre Dame), William Desmond (Katholieke University Lueven), and Paul Griffiths (Duke University Divinity School).
Fr. Bryan was also awarded the 2011 Charles Cardinal Journet Prize from the Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal at Ave Maria University (Florida) for his book On the Last Day: The Time of the Resurrection of the Dead According to Thomas Aquinas. He also participated at the Aquinas Center Symposium on “Thomism and the Future of Theology” held at the University January 26-27, 2013.
Fr. Hilary Martin, OP invited the Haiti Committee of St. Columba Parish (Oakland) to present an exhibition in Blackfriars Gallery of ironwork art from Haiti. Funds raised through the sale of the exhibited pieces will go to support the Hope for Haiti: Education project, which sponsors 170 Haitian students to attend school in Haiti.
Fr. Chris Renz, OP gave a Lenten workshop on Saturday, February 2, 2013, to the liturgical ministers at the Catholic Community of Pleasanton on the topic of “Whose Voice Are You Following this Lent?”
Fr. Augustine Thompson, OP has given several lectures recently in connection with the publication of his new book (Francis of Assisi: A New Biography). These include the Lumen Christi Institute in Chicago (January 24, 2013) and the Religious Studies and History Departments at Yale University (February 18, 2013).