My family, friends, and fellow Dominican friars know me as “a saver.” Nevertheless, they often encourage me to throw away more and more of my “treasured possessions.” As I conscientiously tackled a cabinet in my office in December 2017, I came across a saved collection of Lenten reflections prayerfully conceived by my brothers for publication on our Province website (opcentral.org) several years ago. These served as a form of daily prayer and preaching for our many friends and benefactors of the Order. An ancient motto of the Order instructs “be useful to the souls of others.” This provided a very modern way to do just that.
Reading through and mediating on my brothers’ reflections, I was touched by the enduring spiritual depth, insight, academic scholarship and daily practicality of my brothers, old and young, living and deceased. Prayerful conversation with the Lord naturally flowed. Thus began, at the risk of sounding like a cliché, a labor of love and I re-compiled those reflections into a book, adding the fruit of my prayer to each reflection. Following each prayer, I included practical suggestions to aid the conversion to which Pope Francis reminds us we are called in Lent:
“Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God ‘with all their hearts’ (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us. Even when we sin, he patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, he shows us his readiness to forgive (cf. Homily, 8 January 2016, Pope Francis).”
Christian faith is a “contact sport,” after all. It doesn’t happen sitting in the stands, but while actively engaged on the field. Therefore, I’ve also added my own imperatives in a section dubbed, Doer of the Word Received, taken from St. James’ entreaty, “Be doers of the Word, and not just hearers only, deluding yourselves (James 1:22).” Additional space is provided in a Notes section to help readers complete their homework on time and turn Lenten inspiration into Lenten action.
Moments like these find me profoundly grateful for my vocation as a member of the Order of Preachers. In these reflections, my brothers continue to teach me how to become a better Christian and faithful son of St. Dominic. I am especially excited to share words of my fellow friars who have finished their Christian pilgrimage on this earth. Through their words, they speak to us even as they enjoy the eternal light promised to us at Easter and testify to the Gospel’s enduring transcendence. What our brothers once preached on earth, they now experience eternally in heaven. May it be so for us all!
It is your caring for the Society for Vocational Support through prayer and financial resources which allows of all our friars, but especially our newest, to flourish. Please continue to be generous in both ways for they are especially needed. I am deeply and personally grateful.
In the spirit of St. Dominic,
Fr. Andrew Carl Wisdom,
Vicar for Mission Advancement & Director, the Society for Vocational Support.
From GROWING IN FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD: THE JOY OF LENT
Catholics welcome Lent each year with the solemn rituals of Ash Wednesday, marked by the visible signs of fasting, abstinence, and ashes. Thus begins the 40-day journey, culminating in the everlasting joy of the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Though often referred to as “the Lenten Season,” each of these 40 days encourages us to look at our lives in light of both the struggles of the human condition and the immeasurable promise of everlasting life.
Fr. Andrew Carl Wisdom, O.P., and Dominican friars of the Province of St. Albert the Great (the Central Province) commit their very lives to preaching the Gospel. And, this collection provides a convenient resource of reflections on the daily Lenten readings from friars across the province, some of whom have gone before us marked by the sign of faith. Fr. Wisdom accompanies these reflections with daily prayers, challenges he calls “Doer of the Word I have Received,” and simple hints to make our Lenten journey impactful, memorable, and personally transformative.
Fr. Wisdom’s thoughtfully composed prayers and the reflections of the friars lead us to not only better understand and seek the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross crucified, but also anticipate the outstretched arms of our loving God waiting to embrace each of us despite our failings. From anecdotal challenges to realistic, practical hints, Fr. Wisdom guides the reader in prayer through each day in Lent. Mindful of the sins, faults, and shortcomings we all share, he affirms we should remain potently optimistic that the Son of God’s life, death, and resurrection bring us all everlasting life.
With these reflections, prayers, calls to action, and hints, comes a twist. Encouraged by the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, “The Joy of Lent: Growing in Friendship with God” are not words often associated with Lent. Yet, that is precisely what the season is all about.
Take this book and open it every day during Lent. Fill it with your own notes, certain these words from the Dominican friars of the Province of St. Albert the Great (the Central Province) will bring you the joy guaranteed to all who seek to grow in friendship with God.
Executive Director, Mission Advancement
Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great
To purchase your copy of GROWING IN FREINDSHIP WITH GOD: THE JOY OF LENT, visit www.newpriorypress.com/lentwisdom or call 312-243-0011