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Lenten Reflections: First Sunday of Lent

February 22
Reflection by John Glynn, STM’11

“This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mark 1:12)

Mark’s Gospel this week speaks to something quite dear to me: the notion of Kairos. Kairos is a Greek word meaning time and is used in the Gospels to signify the moments when God breaks into our lives.  Kairos is the right time for God’s action, the opportune moment of invitation. Kairos is when eternity steps into time. 

It’s no coincidence that we name our retreats at Boston College after the word “Kairos.”  To date, BC has sent students on 138 Kairos retreats over the past couple of decades. Students who have attended Kairos speak to the way the retreat allowed them to have a moment out of the ordinary, to pause, reflect, and encounter God as Love in a new (or renewed) and personal way. This is what some students said about their experience on Kairos, and what they took away:

“This was the perfect time to be submerged in God’s love.”

“I am not alone. God loves me. My mom is proud of me. God is most present in our hardships.”

“I’ve learned the importance of vulnerability and authenticity, importance of seeing God in all things, and just how much I am loved by others.”

“I’m resolved to live with more simplicity and love, to pray and reflect more, to look people in the eyes more, to call my grandparents.”

“God is present.”

These students and many more like them speak to the way that they encountered God in a close, personal way. Similarly, our journey through Lent is a Kairos time; an opportunity to see how God draws intimately near to us and continually invites us into greater peace, wholeness, and love. When we experience God’s love made incarnate in our world in some way, or when we find ourselves resurrected in the wake of personal tragedy or loss, we experience Kairos.

Photo by Jean Chisser, STM’91

Lent reminds us that sometimes repentance is required to recognize the Kairos moments in our lives. Often times we must repent – change our path – turn away from the things that deaden us and turn toward that which brings us fuller life. Our brokenness can keep us from seeing just how much God is active in our lives every single day; Jesus in the Gospel today announces that now is the time – the Kairos – to repent, open our eyes, and respond to God’s invitation to new and renewed life.

God's Grandeur
By Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.


And for all this, nature is never spent;

    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went

    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.


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