Praying, giving alms and fasting are the three practices most closely associated with Lent. They are meant to aid Christians inlivening up their spiritual lives by helping them to connect more deeply with God, respond generously to those around them, and temper unhealthy appetites. For David McCallum, ’90, S.J., director of mission and identity at the College, these actions are also a beautiful sign of the season.
“I love Lent. For me it feels like spiritual spring training,” he said. “Just as this is a time for people to pay more attention to being physically fit for spring and summer after hunkering down during the winter, it is also a time for sharpening our awareness, waking up with the earth, and restoring our healthy habits. With the warmth of spring, we come out of the isolation of being in our dorm rooms and homes to be together again outdoors. It refreshes us on a spiritual level and helps us connect in a felt way to the comfort and joy of Christ’s resurrection.”
There are numerous opportunities across the Le Moyne campus to celebrate Lent and prepare for Easter. For example, money collected during Mass each Sunday goes to benefit the organizations where Le Moyne students have volunteered. In addition, each Saturday, William Dolan, S.J., leads a group of students to the Rescue Mission to serve dinner. However one chooses to give back, the important thing is “to link us back to our community, turn our attention toward others and experience the joy of giving,” Father McCallum said.
Prior to last Easter, best-selling author Margaret Silf came to campus to lead a retreat on Saint Ignatius’ transformation from a man marked by experiences of failure, disappointment and struggle to a man of passionate commitment to God. This year William Watson, S.J., who specializes in Ignatian spirituality and the Ignatian examination of conscience, will lead a retreat titled “Discovering God in the Midst of Our Daily Life: Enriching our Faith Through Ignatian Prayer.” The cost of the retreat is $40 for the general public; $30 for Le Moyne College alumni; $20 for Le Moyne College faculty and staff; and $10 for Le Moyne students. Lunch and Father Watson’s book, "Sacred Story – An Ignatian Examen for the Third Millennium" are included in the cost. For more information or to register for the workshop, call 315-445-4525. The registration deadline in Monday, March 24.
In addition, this Lenten season Jesuits across the U.S. are leading an online retreat titled Moved to Greater Love, which will focus on the graces of gratitude, spiritual freedom, vision and joy. It will include regular messages via email as well as online presentations, and will offer questions for reflection, a reading and multimedia content.
The purpose of all of these activities, as Father McCallum explained, is to “help people observe Lent with greater intention so as to experience even more profoundly the joy of the Easter mysteries.”