Faith Features Columnist
Gerardo is a senior studying International Studies with an Economics concentration and History, with a minor in Classical Studies. His main academic interests include international history, the history of the Catholic Church, economic history, European history and American Colonial history. On campus, he is also involved with the Sons of St. Patrick and catechism classes in St. Ignatius Parish.
There is a popular tale in Catholic communities that have a devotion to St. Anthony of Padua. The saint once encountered a man who was obstinate in his sinful ways and did not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. St. Anthony tried to convince the sinner about the Real Presence and to get him to convert. While he was able to get the sinner to doubt, the man was not convinced about the Eucharist, and he developed a test to see if what St. Anthony was saying was actually true. He would starve his donkey for three days, and on the third day he would bring it out and place it between St. Anthony, the Eucharist, and a barrel of oats. If the donkey recognized the presence of Christ and adored it, the man would convert and leave his sinful ways.
In the Roman Catholic tradition, there has always been an emphasis on community. Jesus sent His disciples out in groups, and told them that wherever two or three of them gathered together, He would be there with them. Catholic fellowship is as important as the other elements of our faith. I have found that fellowship at Boston College in the Sons of St. Patrick.
The last few weeks have been crucial for the Catholic Church. We have seen the congregation of bishops from across the world meet to address the abuse scandals rampant throughout the world; there is palpable intrigue and unhealthy competition in the College of Cardinals and among the body of bishops; and it seems that even priests are coming out to attack the Church and its leadership. In the midst of all these events, I believe it is only proper that we take a stand as Catholics to defend the Church that Christ entrusted to all of us, not just to the descendants of the throne of St. Peter.
Anyone familiar with Benedictine spirituality should be acquainted with the phrase ora et labora. This idea is also intrinsic to Jesuit teaching and close to the heart of the Catholic Church at large. The Church understands what Jesus meant 2,000 years ago when he sent out His apostles into the world to share the Good News, and the Church itself is pointless without social outreach. Jesuit spirituality fosters this understanding and expands it to its fullest potential through its social teaching. As a Catholic university, Boston College, develops the desire in its students to serve the community around them. Among many related programs is 4Boston—a group I have had the privilege of being a part of for the last 4 years.
The year is 1914. The Great War is just beginning. Soldiers on both sides of the Western front hurry to dig trenches, search for advantages over the enemy, or simply take a moment of quiet in order to rest up for the next skirmish. No one knows how long the war will last. No one knows if they will survive long enough to make it back home—or what back home would look like if they did.
He who sings to God, prays twice. When I was younger, I would hear this expression constantly, growing up in a Catholic school in Mexico. The brothers of the Order of St. John Baptist de la Salle, who ran my school, would remind us of this adage whenever we would prepare for Mass, or really any time we would learn about song, prayer, and worship. As I got older, I began to appreciate more and gained a deeper understanding of the wisdom behind those words.