Transfiguration and Holiness


 Readings for the Second Sunday in Lent

The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.  “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.a  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”b So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.

 See also 2 Timothy 1:8b-10 and  Matthew 17:1-9

I must admit that the sequence of the three readings we had at Mass this morning did not turn my 

mind particularly to the season of Lent.  Instead, they seemed to me like a resume of religious life.   How so? 

 Well, first there is that summons to leave behind what is familiar and known, and perhaps even comfortable – though I dare say Abram’s nomadic life might not have been all that cushy – and to go into the unknown (no indication where: just a land that I – God - will show you;)and surely entering religious life is like that: an alien land, where things are not as we have hitherto known them.  You will also remember that a bit later Abram’s name is also changed – though not by much- as has happened to most of us here.

Read more …Transfiguration and Holiness


By Sr Tamsin Mary o.p.  A talk given at Blackfriars Cambridge UK, Lent 2017

"It behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead the third day: and that penance and remission of sins should be preached in His name unto all nations."(Luke 24:46-47)

This talk will focus upon the concept of penance, which is a very rum one if you think about it closely.  The word penance comes from a Latin one, ‘paenitentia’ which derives from a Latin noun, meaning repentance, or penitence, ultimately deriving  from ποινή, a Greek word which means   ‘quit-money for blood spilt, a price paid, satisfaction, retribution, requital, penalty, or alternatively the personified pagan godess of vengeance.’ Eventually, by extension the word also came to mean ‘recompense, reward, redemption, or release.’ In modern ‘Church speak’ similarly there is a wide variety of meanings attaching to the concept of penance.  On the one hand there is ‘the sacrament of penance – confession.  There is the ‘penance’ that the priest metes out, and there is the ‘penitential action’ which is generally conceived as something unpleasing.  Finally there is the ‘penitential season’ which we are now in, where the ‘Lenten penances’ taken up, broadly under the heading of ‘prayer fasting and almsgiving’ are seen variously as spiritual chores, spiritual goals, or in the case of many in our secular environment as something akin to New Year’s resolutions, where the spiritual end is entirely lost sight of, and the end is simply some kind of self-seeking self-mastery. 

Read more …Penance

Mercy: A View from Salamanca.

By Sr. Mary Joanna O.P Input for the Dominican Seminar January 2017 held at Hinsley Hall, Leeds.


Why Salamanca? Because the General Chapter held in Trogir in 2013 asked for, as part of the agenda of the Jubilee celebration of the 8th Centenary of the approbation of the Order of Preachers, an event, & I quote, “under the Salamanca Process, devoted to the heritage of Vitoria and posterity, to reflect on the challenges that human rights are today..”. In the Acts of that Chapter the definition of the Salamanca process was described as , and I quote, “….consisting of a way of ongoing collaboration between the friars committed to the mission and friars dedicated to studies, as happened in the 16th century among missionaries in the New World and the friars of the Convent of San Estaban de Salamanca”. (ACG Trogir 2013, 112).

Read more …Mercy: A View from Salamanca.

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