[The following is the Message of the Holy Father for Lent 2018 on the theme: “Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (Mt 24: 12).]
“Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (Mt 24: 12)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Once again, the Pasch of the Lord draws near! In our preparation for Easter, God in His providence offers us each year the season of Lent as a “sacramental sign of our conversion”. Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life.
With this message, I would like again this year to help the entire Church experience this time of grace anew, with joy and in truth. I will take my cue from the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: “Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (24:12).
These words appear in Christ’s preaching about the end of time. They were spoken in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, where the Lord’s passion would begin. In reply to a question of the disciples, Jesus foretells a great tribulation and describes a situation in which the community of believers might well find itself: amid great trials, false prophets would lead people astray and the love that is the core of the Gospel would grow cold in the hearts of many.
One of the devil’s tactics in the modern world has been to convince people that he doesn’t exist. For those with eyes to see, it’s clear he’s thriving on anonymity. Want to protect yourself from his insidious plots? This past Sunday, Pope Francis gave a powerful homily that, based on its internet exposure, struck a chord. Here, in part, is what he said:
Where our Mother is at home, the devil does not enter in. Where our Mother is present, turmoil does not prevail, fear does not conquer. Which of us does not need this, which of us is not sometimes distressed or anxious? How often our heart is a stormy sea, where the waves of our problems pile up and the winds of our troubles do not stop blowing! Mary is our secure ark in the midst of the flood. It will not be ideas or technology that will give us comfort or hope, but our Mother’s face, her hands that caress our life, her mantle that gives us shelter. Let us learn how to find refuge, going each day to our Mother.
Earlier this week, I was interviewed by colleague and friend Mike St. Pierre, executive director of the Catholic Campus Ministry Association (CCMA), for their podcast episode on how Catholic campus ministers can utilize John Paul II’s “theology of the body” in their important roles.
We talked about obstacles Catholic campus ministers face as well as a couple of steps they can take to strengthen their faith and, subsequently, their influence as campus ministers. Below are a couple of excerpts, and you can listen to the full interview at the end of this post. I’d love to hear your advice for campus ministers in the comments of our Facebook and Twitter posts.
Mike St. Pierre: For our listeners, most of whom are ministering to college students, what would you say are the obstacles that the culture places in front of college students that makes it harder to accept that truth of who they are?
If you’ve attended a live presentation of mine over the last several years, chances are you’ve heard the soulful cry of Mike Mangione’s music. From the first time I heard Mike perform, I knew he was an “artist of the ache” – a guy who was brave enough to tap into that abyss of yearning in the human heart and give voice to it in his art. Since his band first accompanied my presentations at World Youth Day in Sydney (2008), Mike’s music has been an integral part of what I do whenever his busy touring schedule has allowed.
Speaking of busyness, my own has made writing this review of Mike’s latest album long overdue. But I’ve Seen the Stars was released in October. New albums in my life – the good ones, that is – typically seem “new” for about two months. But four months on and I’m still listening to Mike’s latest with the enthusiasm I had the first week it came out.
[By Alice Owens]
Of course, back then, just like today, partying in college goes hand in hand with hooking up. In my moody teen days I never had a boyfriend, and all my sexual education came from porn. In other words, I was inexperienced when it came to real people.
When I did enter the real world, sexually speaking, I found that sex on campus sucks. I didn’t arrive at college looking to engage in a crash course of Bedroom 101, but it soon became clear that sex and hookups were happening all around me. I felt pressured to fit in, and I wondered what all the fuss was about. Everyone seemed to be enjoying exercising their sexual freedom, and I was on board with the sexual revolution’s idea of putting women in the driver’s seat. I had just turned eighteen, and my life was ahead of me. What better time than now to experiment? What could go wrong?
Now, years later, I see things differently. I look back on my college sexual experiences and I can see how, overall, they influenced me for the worse. Those years hurt me—in the sexual arena, in interpersonal relationships, and in terms of my self-confidence. Even as I actively seek to heal from them with therapy and self-care, I still have a long way to go. The repercussions of my campus sexcapades continue to haunt me to this day.