Fagin speaks on compassion during Lent

DWAYNE FONTENETTE Contributing Writer

The Rev. Jerry Fagin, S.J. believes Christians should not only make sacrifices during the Lenten season, but also show that they care about others. He said in a recent lecture that he believes a good way to do that is by washing others’ feet.

The lecture, “From Servant to Friend: The Ignatian Path to Discipleship,” was the first of three in “Sacred Words, Sacred Music: A Lenten Series,” and was given Feb. 29. According to the university website, the series aims to make attendants reflect on the goodness of God. It is hosted by Loyola’s Office of Mission and Ministry.

“Washing another person’s feet is a metaphor for showing care and compassion to others,” Fagin said.

According to Fagin, care and compassion are critical values of friendship, which is the relationship that all Christians should seek to develop with Jesus during the Lenten season.

“Jesus doesn’t want his disciples to simply serve him; he wants them to befriend him,” Fagin said.

Fagin told the story of the night preceding Jesus’ death, when he gathered the disciples for a final meal. Jesus modeled the mission that he wanted all people to follow by washing his disciples’ feet, Fagin said.

“And then Jesus said to them, ‘Do for one another what I have done for you,'” Fagin said. “He was sending them forth to carry on his ministry of care and compassion — to go forth and bear fruit, to wash one another’s feet — but sending them forth not as servants, but friends.”

The lecture had an impact on some of those who attended it.

Lent is a time for everyone to focus on the “mission of Jesus’ journey” through deep reflection, said Edwin Madera, coordinator of Jesuit Center programs, who attended the lecture.

“To many people, Lent is seen simply as a time of sacrifice,” said Chad Aubert, a religious studies sophomore. The common perception of Lent is of Christians “doing things that we don’t want to do and having to abstain from things that we want to do, but that’s not what Jesus is calling us to do,” Aubert said. Pursuing a friendship with Jesus is about doing “the things that you believe are right, but to do so out of more of a joy and peace, and not merely duty.”

The speaker series will continue on March 14 at 7 p.m. in the Ignatius Chapel. Sylvester Tan, S.J. will give a lecture entitled “Taught by God: Ignatius as Teacher and Student.”

Dwayne Fontenette can be reached at [email protected]