The Word Among Us

Lent 2012 Issue

Publisher's Letter

The Day the Gospel Came Alive

Growing up, I was a good Catho­lic boy. In grade school, I was an altar boy, and I was in the parish choir. As a teenager, I attended a Catholic high school and went to Mass at least twice a week. More »


The Gospel: What Is It?

"Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2) Every Ash Wednesday, we hear these words from St. Paul. They invite us to spend Lent welcoming Jesus into our lives. More »

The Gospel: What it is not

One day about eight hundred years ago, a young man named Francis of Assisi was praying before a cross in the run-down church of San Damiano. He was lost in contemplation when, as if out of nowhere, Francis heard a voice coming from the crucifix. More »

The Gospel: Putting it Together

"By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity." Isn’t it amazing how these few words, spoken quietly by the priest just before the Eucharistic Prayer, capture the heart of the gospel message? Every time we gather for Mass, we ask the Lord for mercy, we hear the word of God, we pray for one another, and we offer our thanksgiving and worship to our heavenly Father. More »

Have Mercy, Lord!

Every year as we gather for Mass on Ash Wednesday, we hear the prophet Joel calling us to “rend our hearts.” Then we pray Psalm 51. Five times we repeat the response: ”Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned” as we utter this prayer of repentance—a prayer that the church urges us to carry in our “rent” hearts right up to Good Friday. More »

Turning from Self to God

"If you want your prayers to fly to God, equip them with the two wings of fasting and almsgiving." This good advice from St. Augus­tine encourages us to pursue the “holy trio” that the church calls us to each Lent. More »

Special Feature

His Mercies Never Fail

Early on a blustery January morning, I heard the telephone ring. Who could it be? I wondered. I always expect the worst when people phone at odd hours, and this time my fears were realized. It was my son, calling to say that he and his wife of fifteen years were ending their marriage. More »

Mother Teresa’s “Spiritual Powerhouse”

When I met Jacqueline de Decker, the Belgian woman whom Mother Teresa called her “sick and suffering self,” she had her torso encased in a corset and wore a surgical collar round her neck. Even then in 1980, almost thirty years before her death, she was so disabled that she could only drive about her native city of Antwerp in a specially adapted car. More »

A New Friend and a New Church

It was hard, walking through those prison gates for the first time, knowing that I was just starting a twentyfive-year sentence. What would my life be like there? I didn’t know, and I felt anxious. But I had given my life to Christ, so I was trusting him to be with me behind bars. What I wanted most was a friend in Christ. More »