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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spirituality: Ronald Rolheiser in Seeking Spirituality, 3 of 3

Christian definition of sexuality

Sexuality is a beautiful, good, extremely powerful, sacred energy, given us by God and experienced in every cell of our being as an irrepressible urge to overcome our incompleteness, to move towards unity and consummation with that which is beyond us. It is also the pulse to celebrate, to give and to receive delight, to find our way back to the Garden of Eden where we can be naked, shameless, and without worry and work as we make love in the moonlight.

Utimately, though, all these hungers, in their full maturity, culminate in one thing: they want to make us co-creators with God…… mothers and fathers, artisans and creators, big brothers and big sisters, nurses and healers, teachers and consolers, farmers and producers, administrators and community builders – co-responsible with God for the planet, standing with God and smiling at and blessing the world. What does sexuality in its full bloom look like?

• When you see a young mother, so beaming with delight at her own child that, for that moment, all selfishness within her has given way to the sheer joy of seeing her child happy, you are seeing sexuality in its mature bloom.
• When you see a grandfather so proud of his grandson, who has just received his diploma, that, for that moment, his spirit is only compassion, altruism, and joy, you are seeing sexuality in its mature bloom.
• When you see an artist, after long frustration, look with such satisfaction on a work she has just completed that everything else for the moment is blotted out, you are seeing sexuality in its mature bloom.
• When you see a young man, cold and wet, but happy to have been of service, standing on a dock where he has just carried the unconscious body of a child he has just saved from drowning, you are seeing sexuality in its mature bloom.
• When you see someone throw back his or her head in genuine laughter, caught off-guard by the surprise of joy itself, you are seeing sexuality in its mature bloom.
• When you are seeing an elderly nun who, never having slept with a man, been married, or given birth to a child, has through years of selfless service become a person whose very compassion gives her a mischievous smile, you are seeing sexuality in its mature bloom.
• When you see a community gathered around a grave, making peace with tragedy and consoling each other so that life can go on, you are seeing sexuality in its mature bloom.
• When you see an elderly husband and wife who after nearly half a century of marriage have made peace with each other’s humanity that now they can quietly share a bowl of soup, content just to know that the other is there, you are seeing sexuality in its mature bloom.
• When you see a table, surrounded by a family, laughing, arguing, and sharing life with each other, you are seeing sexuality in its mature bloom.
• When you see a Mother Teresa dress the wounds of a street-person in Calcutta or an Oscar Romero give his life in defense of the poor, you are seeing sexuality in its mature bloom.
• When you see any person – man, woman, or child – who in a moment of service, affection, love, friendship, creativity, joy, or compassion, is, for that moment, so caught up in what is beyond him or her that for that instant his or her separateness from others is overcome, you are seeing sexuality in its mature bloom.
• When you see God, having just created the earth or just seen Jesus baptized in the Jordan River, look down on what has just happened and say, ‘It is good. In this I take delight,’ you are seeing sexuality in its mature bloom.

Sexuality is not simply about finding a lover or even finding a friend. It is about overcoming separateness by giving life and blessing it. Thus, in its maturity, sexuality is about giving oneself over to community, friendship, family, service, creativity, humor, delight, and martyrdom so that, with God, we can help bring life to the world.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spirituality: Ronald Rolheiser in Seeking Spirituality, 2 of 3

The ancient Greek philosophers gave us the word eros. For them, however, it meant much more than it does for us today. Generally today we understand it to mean mainly sexual attraction. For the ancient Greeks, eros was a reality with six interpenetrating dimensions: It referred, at one and the same time, to ludens (love’s playfulness, teasing and humor); erotic attraction (sexual attractiveness and the desire to have sex); mania (obsessiveness, falling in love, romance); pragma (sensible arrangement in view of family life, home, and community); philia (friendship); and agape (altruism, selflessness, sacrifice). Unlike us, the ancient Greeks did not ask one aspect of love to carry all the others.

Sexuality is an all-encompassing energy inside of us. In one sense, it is identifiable with the principle of life itself. It is the drive for love, communion, community, friendship, family, affection, wholeness, consummation, creativity, self-perpetuation, immortality, joy, delight, humor, and self-transcendence. It is not good to be alone. When God said this about Adam at the dawn of creation, God meant it about every man, woman, child, animal, insect, plant, atom, and molecule in the universe. Sex is the energy inside of us that works incessantly against our being alone.

Genitality, having sex, is only one aspect of that larger reality of sexuality, albeit a very important one. Genitality is particularized, physical consummation, a certain privileged constellation of many of the energies that are contained within our wider erotic energies in one bodily encounter with another person.

Second Sunday of Lent

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February 28, 2010

Have you ever seen a person return from a particularly consoling annual spiritual retreat with a special glow about her? It reminds me of that famous quote from Thomas Merton when he exclaims, “There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.” The whole essence of the person seems to be transfigured. In Luke’s account of the Transfiguration, Jesus goes up to the mountain to pray with Peter, John and James and his “faced changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white,” and from “ a cloud came a voice that said: This is my chosen Son, listen to him.”

While the prayer experience of Jesus was certainly remarkable, we can take out of it that God, the Father, validated him as his own, intimately-loved, chosen Son, especially as Jesus will soon set his face toward Jerusalem where he knows he must endure a deadly fate. Moses, who represents the beloved Law of the Elect, and Elijah, the miracle-working prophet, appear with Jesus representing the fullness of the Jewish faith. Jesus is given special privilege before the Torah and the Prophets as God’s unique revealer whose mission will be consummated in Jerusalem, the Holy City. With God’s personal revelation to Jesus and his closest friends, Jesus will have the confirmation and courage to enter more deeply into God’s will.

While we will not experience the Transfiguration event as Jesus did, God can transform our lives so that we shine like the dazzling sun. Notice that this just did not happen to Jesus. It was a moment of supreme confirmation by his loving Father after spending time in prayer. We need to take greater time in prayer just to be with God so that we can build a more intimate friendship based on mutual care and affection. When we are confirmed by God, our whole being changes and we become more faithful and confident in the providence of God. We learn to listen to the familiar voice that we depend upon and crave. Our whole being radiates God’s favor and like Abram in the first reading, we enjoy divine blessings now and for the ages to come.

Quote for the Week

From Philippians 3, an excerpt from today’s second reading:

“Brothers and sisters: Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm for the Lord.”

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: The church turns to Daniel this week who yells out that he and the people have sinned, been wicked, and have turned against God and we immediately turn to Isaiah who exhort the people to learn to do what is good and to make justice your aim. We are then reminded of Jeremiah’s fate when he did good works – the people turned against him and his righteousness. Cursed is the one who trusts in humans, but blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. This is illustrated in Genesis when Joseph’s death is plotted by his brothers because he was a dreamer of innocence. When we place our trust in God, our sins are wiped away from God’s consciousness.

Gospel: Jesus tells his friends to be merciful like his Father. Stop judging. Stop condemning. Forgiveness brings a multitude of blessings. Pay attention to the good teachings of the Pharisees, but know that they are hypocritical in their actions. As we have seen in numerous O.T. stories, the righteous are condemned. Jesus tells his friends that the Son of Man will be put to death. The moving story of Lazarus and Dives shows that the poor and the disenfranchised will be comforted for the afflictions they suffered in this life. The righteous, even God’s heir, will be done in by jealous people. The mercy of the Father is highlighted in the story of the prodigal son and his brother.

Saints of the Week

Wednesday: The Philadelphia-born Katherine Drexel is the second American-born U.S. saint and she was canonized in 2000. Katherine formed the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and served the Native Americans and African Americans in the U.S. West and Southwest. She became a vocal advocate for racial justice.

Thursday: Casimir was a 15th century prince of Lithuania and Poland. He was offered the throne of Hungary and after an unsuccessful attempt returned to Poland. He was known for his prudence and justice and is named the patron saint of all youth.

This Week in Jesuit History

• Feb 28, 1957. The Jesuit Volunteer Corps began.
• Mar 1, 1549. At Gandia, the opening of a college of the Society founded by St Francis Borgia.
• Mar 2, 1606. The martyrdom in the Tower of London of St Nicholas Owen, a brother nicknamed "Little John." For 26 years he constructed hiding places for priests in homes throughout England. Despite severe torture he never revealed the location of these safe places.
• Mar 3, 1595. Clement VIII raised Fr. Robert Bellarmine to the Cardinalate, saying that the Church had not his equal in learning.
• Mar 4, 1873. At Rome, the government officials presented themselves at the Professed House of the Gesu for the purpose of appropriating the greater part of the building.
• Mar 5, 1887. At Rome, the obsequies of Fr. Beckx who died on the previous day. He was 91 years of age and had governed the Society as General for 34 years. He is buried at San Lorenzo in Campo Verano.
• Mar 6, 1643. Arnauld, the Jansenist, published his famous tract against Frequent Communion. Fifteen French bishops gave it their approval, whereas the Jesuit fathers at once exposed the dangers in it.

Novena of Grace in Honor of Francis Xavier

Jesuits and their colleagues worldwide pray a Novena of Grace in honor of Francis Xavier, one of the founding Jesuits who was missioned to the Far East and the Indies. This nine-day period of prayer was instituted in gratitude for the canonization of Xavier and Ignatius of Loyola in 1622. The prayer runs from March 4th to March 12th. The Novena is imbedded below.

Lord God, our Father, we honor the memory of the Apostle of the East, St. Francis Xavier. The remembrance of the favors with which You blessed him during life and of his glory after death, fills us with joy; and we unite with him in offering to You our sincere tribute of thanksgiving and of grace.

We ask You to grant us, through his powerful intercession, the inestimable blessings of living and dying in the state of grace. We also ask You to grant us the favors we seek in this novena.

(Pause for personal petitions)

But if what we ask is not for the glory of God and the good of our souls, grant us, we pray, what is more conducive to both. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Closing Prayer

Almighty God, by the preaching of St. Francis Xavier You won many peoples to Yourself. Give his zeal for the faith to all who believe in You, that Your Church may rejoice to see the virtue and number of the faithful increase throughout the world. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.


During my tertianship program there might be times when I cannot send out the weekly email list, but I will update my blog regularly. Access predmore.blogspot.com for weekly and daily updates or predmoresj.blogspot.com for my tertian program news.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Spirituality: Gerald May “Grace: Qualities of Mercy” Addiction and Grace Part 4 of 8

Grace is the expression of God’s active love. God’s love is the root of grace; grace itself is the dynamic flowering of this love; and the good things that result in life are the fruit of this divine process. Grace appears in many ways. Theologians speak of it as a love so abundant, so selfless, so endlessly overflowing as to surpass description. Jesus spoke of God as being our intimate, loving parent, and he wished for us to receive God’s love like little children.

It is very difficult to understand a mother’s love; she loves her baby, finally, just because he is her baby. God’s love for us may be something like this. We are God’s children, so we are simply loved. Ideally, an infant does not earn her parents’ love; they love the baby first. Because of this preexisting love, the parents care for their child. God “graces” us in similar ways. There is grace in the simple gift of our existence, in the opportunity to live consciously and appreciatively in this world, and in the goodness of our nature. There is grace in the natural steadiness of life, in the simple things God gives us. God spontaneously gives us beauty and breath and touches of love, just as parents give their children food and warmth naturally, almost automatically. And there is grace in the steady self-giving of God that protects our freedom and keeps us yearning.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spirituality: Ronald Rolheiser in Seeking Spirituality, 1 of 3

The Greek philosophers used to say that we are fired into life with a madness that comes from the gods and that this energy is the root of all love, hate, creativity, joy and sadness. A Christian should agree with that, then add that God put that great power, sexuality, within us so that, ultimately, we might also create life and, like God, look upon what we have helped create, overflow with a joy that breaks the very casings of our selfishness, and say: ‘It is good; indeed, it is very good.’ A mature sexuality is when a person looks at what he or she has helped create, swells in a delight that breaks the prison of his or her selfishness, and feels as God feels when God looks at creation.

For this reason sexuality lies at the center of the spiritual life. A healthy sexuality is the single most powerful vehicle there is to lead us to selflessness and joy, just as an unhealthy sexuality helps constellate selfishness and unhappiness as does nothing else. We will be happy in this life, depending upon whether or not we have a healthy sexuality. One of the fundamental tasks of spirituality, therefore, is to help us to understand and channel our sexuality correctly. This, however, is no easy task. Sexuality is such a powerful fire that it is not always easy to channel it in life-giving ways. Its very power – and it is the most powerful force on the planet – makes it a force not just for formidable love, life, and blessing but also for the worst hate, death, and destruction imaginable. Sex is responsible for lots of murders and suicides. It is the most powerful of all fires, the best of all fires, the most dangerous of all fires, and the fire which ultimately lies at the base of everything including the spiritual life.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spirituality: Gerald May “Grace: Qualities of Mercy” Addiction and Grace Part 3 of 8

Let us not forget that deserts are gardens of courtship as well as fields of battle… The battle of the desert is waged, the courtship engaged, for no less a prize than where our true treasure will be stored up, and therefore where our hearts will be. .. For all, however, the desert of the heart remains unchanged. It is not comfortable.

The three temptations Satan offers Jesus consist of the consequences of attachment. First, Satan suggests that Jesus satisfy his hunger by turning stones into bread. This invitation is remarkably similar to the one the serpent gave to Eve: to play god by using autonomous personal power, and to seek satisfaction through something other than God. Failing at this, Satan next tempts Jesus to manipulate God’s power for the sake of his own self-indulgence, by jumping off the temple parapet. The invitation is to test rather than trust God, to use God superstitiously, as a puppet. Failing once more, Satan proposes the last temptation: he offers Jesus the entire world if he will make Satan his god. This is the ultimate invitation to idolatry.

Throughout these temptations, Satan was hoping Jesus would fall prey to attachment: attachment to meeting his own needs, attachment to his own power, or attachment to the material riches of the world. Satan was trying to lure Jesus into the “I can handle it” trap, and he could have. But instead of giving in to the massive power of temptations to attachment, Jesus stood firm in his own freedom and in his faith and in grace.

It is easy to see Jesus’ success in the desert ascribed to such magnificence as God incarnate, but it makes it difficult for us to identify with him. If we think of Jesus as truly human, as a real man who was truly vulnerable to attachment, then the way he responded to Satan’s temptations reveals some things that are critically important. Jesus’ actions in the desert reveal the way through all our deserts, the way home. (1) He stood firm. He met the adversary, faced the temptation, and did not run away or rationalize. (2) He acted with strength: he claimed and used his free will with dignity. (3) He did not use his freedom willfully. None of his responses to Satan was his own autonomous creation. Instead, he relied upon the Law: his words to Satan were quotations from Scripture, the Torah.

The power of grace flows most fully when human will chooses to act in harmony with the divine will. This means staying in a situation, being willing to confront it as it is, remaining responsible for the choices one makes in response to it, but at the same time turning to God’s grace, protection, and guidance as the ground for one’s choices and behavior. It is the difference between testing God by avoiding ones’ own responsibilities and trusting God as one acts responsibly. Responsible human freedom thus becomes authentic spiritual surrender, and authentic spiritual surrender is nothing other than responsible human freedom.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spirituality: Common Categories of Mistakes

Mistakes are a form of feedback. Every error tells us what we need to correct.

The most common mistake categories are:

1. Data errors - I transpose two digits on my account number.
2. Judgment errors - I buy a less expensive pair of shoes and they wear out in six months.
3. White Lies - I tell a friend I cannot go out and I bump into her at the mall.
4. Procrastination - I put off a dental visit and now I'm in pain.
5. Forgetfulness - I go to a movie without my wallet.
6. Missed Opportunities - I did not buy Microsoft's stock in 1982 when I had the chance.
7. Overindulgence - I did not need that Banana Split after a full meal.
8. Wasted Energy - I spent too much time on the computer or watching TV.
9. Fail to Reach a Goal - I haven't lost the 20 pounds I wanted and now I can't wear my new bathing suit.
10. Impatience - I though I could take a shortcut, but now it will take me longer.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Spirituality: Relationships Broken in the Fall from Grace

Genesis suggests that four relationships were broken by Adam's toxic shame: (1)the relationship with God, (2)with the self, (3) with brother, sister, and neighbor, and (4) with the world (nature).

The restoration of a bond of mutuality with God has enormous power to heal shame. When we admit our powerlessnesss and unmanageability, we tell God that we give up control and we submit our will to God's care. God then can ground us in fundamentl humanness. Being mirrored in the loving and honest eyes of God and of others allows us to accept ourselves and the process of self-reunion can begin to take place.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spirituality: Gerald May “Grace: Qualities of Mercy” Addiction and Grace Part 2 of 8

The desert is where battle with attachment takes place. The saga of the desert tells of a journey out of slavery, through the desert, toward the garden that is home. But it is much more than a journey; it is a discovery of the depths of weakness, the power of grace, and the price of both. Moreover, what takes place in the desert is not simply difficult travel and adventurous learning; it is repentance and conversion, the transformation of mixed motivations into purified desire, the greening of the desert into garden through the living water of grace. There is no geographic journey here; it all takes place within our hearts. And what happens is not only a purgation and purification, but also a loving courtship, a homemaking between the human soul and its Creator.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

First Sunday of Lent

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February 21, 2010

This past week I read again the autobiography of Ignatius of Loyola. I was glued to the pages that talked about his illuminating experience of daydreaming as he sat on the banks of the Cardoner River near his Manresa cave. As soon as this experience was complete, he went directly to the cross to pray to our Lord. During this prayer, he had a vision that at first blush seemed beautiful, but then he saw that it lacked its full color and distinction. He realized this was a vision from the devil. The experience of Jesus in the desert brings to mind that same type of experience. Filled with the Holy Spirit after his baptism and the start of his public ministry, he was led into the desert where he was visited by the devil.

Perhaps it is good that we reflect upon our understanding of the devil and its role in our spiritual life. Jesus and Ignatius had a well-developed understanding of a personal devil, but I think many people today view the devil merely as an undistinguished, general force of evil. We think in terms of a destructive anti-life force rather than a personal being or adversary to the spiritual and worldly life. At the end of the Gospel, we hear that the devil departed from Jesus “for a time.” Ignatius, repulsed by the presence of the devil, vehemently tossed away that vision, but the devil would try again later in his life. One of Ignatius’ rules for discernment in the Spiritual Exercises tells us that once we have had a profoundly significant experience of God, the devil will in full deceit try to derail us on our path of doing good.

It is good for us to know the ways of the devil so that we can see where and how he tempts us. We have to be bold enough to always return to God in prayer so we can confirm the spirits that battle for our souls. This is serious business and the devil, which is real, means us harm. A second aid for us in dealing with the devil is to stay close to sacred scripture. Jesus quotes scripture back to the devil and Paul tells us in Romans that “the word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” Praying over scripture allows us to become familiar with God’s voice so we can reject the subtle and deceitful ways of the devil. Paul writes “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…. Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Quote for the Week

Please enjoy this prayer from Edward Hays about a helpful attitude towards Lent.

May you live these Lenten days not in purple penitential denial but in the joyfulness of the intimate embrace of your Blessed God.

May you hear on the Lenten winds your beloved calling you daily to go apart from your routine time to spend desert time with your God. Then your heart can be freshly aflame
with a lover’s delight in your God.

May you have a blessed and grace-filled Lenten season so as to be a new person in Christ in alleluia joy on Holy Easter.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: Isaiah’s words begin this Lenten season emphasizing the power of the word of God to achieve the end for which it was sent. It is enacted in Jonah as he is sent in a mission to the city of Nineveh to bring people to repentance. The people believed, fasted, and their king repented from his evil ways. Queen Esther likewise turns to the Lord for saving protection. In the wisdom literature, even the common person could turn to the Lord, repent, and receive life and virtue. We lastly hear from Moses who tells the newly elected people of God about the covenant that God is making with them. For their part, they are to walk in God’s ways and to observe his statutes, decrees and commandments.

Gospel: Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray and offers them his prayer to the Father. He likens his generation to Jonah’s time in which the people would not be moved unless they had a divine sign. He instructs them to ask for whatever they want in his name during prayer because the Father is gracious and generous, and then tells them that they are to be more righteous than the Pharisees who preach, but do not practice. Forgiveness is a key trait for their conduct; love of enemies will distinguish them from all other people.

Saints of the Week

Monday: The Chair of Peter is honored today with a feast that focuses on the work of Peter and his successors as bishops of Rome. Catholics show their gratitude for the pastoral service the bishops have provided the city and the world.

Tuesday: Polycarp was a disciple of the apostle John and knew Ignatius of Antioch. Polycarp helped many new Christians to become initiated into the faith. He died in 155 CE because of the he was doing to promote the faith.

This Week in Jesuit History

• Feb 21, 1595. At Tyburn, the martyrdom of Robert Southwell after he had suffered brutal tortures in Topcliffe's house and in prison. He embraced the jailer who brought him word that he was to be executed. As he breathed his last, Lord Mountjoy, who presided over the execution, exclaimed: "May my soul be one day with that of this man."
• Feb 22, 1599. By order of Pope Clement VIII, the superiors general of the Jesuits and the Dominicans, assisted by others, met to settle, if possible, the controversies about grace. Nothing came of the meeting, since the Dominicans insisted on the condemnation of the writings of Fr. Molina.
• Feb 23, 1551. The Roman College, the major school of the Society later to become the Gregorian University, began its first scholastic year with 15 teachers and 60 students.
• Feb 24, 1637. The death of Francis Pavone. Inflamed by his words and holy example, sixty members of a class of philosophy that he taught and the entire class of poetry embraced the religious state.
• Feb 25, 1558. St Aloysius Gonzaga received tonsure at the Lateran basilica. Within the next month he would receive the minor orders.
• Feb 26, 1611. The death of Antonio Possevino, sent by Pope Gregory XIII on many important embassies to Sweden, Russia, Poland, and Germany. In addition to founding colleges and seminaries in Cracow, Olmutz, Prague, Braunsberg, and Vilna, he found time to write 24 books.
• Feb 27, 1767. Charles III banished the Society from Spain and seized its property.

Lenten Regulations

In keeping with the spirit and meaning of the Lenten fast, Catholics are encouraged to observe the Good Friday fast through Holy Saturday and until the celebration of the Easter Vigil. Fridays in Lent are days for fasting.

The law of fasting binds persons from the day after their 18th birthday to the day after their 59th birthday.

The law of fasting allows only one full meal a day, but does not prohibit taking some food in the morning and evening, observing as far as quantity and quality are concerned, approved local custom. The order of meals is optional; i.e., the full meal may be taken in the evening instead of at midday. Also: 1) The quantity of food taken at the two lighter meals should not exceed the quantity taken at the full meal; 2) The drinking of ordinary liquids does not break the fast.

The law of abstinence binds persons from the day after their 14th birthday throughout life.

The law of abstinence forbids the use of meat. It does not forbid the use of eggs, the products of milk or condiments made of animal fat. Also permissible are soups flavored with meat, meat gravy and sauces.

Rite of Election

In the dioceses around the world, the Rite of Election is celebrated in its cathedral today. Catechumen, men and women who seek baptism in the Catholic Church, and candidates for full communion and confirmation, will attend a Mass in which their names will be inscribed in the Book of the Elect. Parishes will specially care for these men and women who will soon undergo more intensive scrutiny on their path to the Easter sacraments. Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters who will soon join us at the table of the Lord and let us also pray that many others will hear the word of sacred scripture and be brought into our community of faith.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Prayer: Psalm 89

O God, you have been our refuge from one generation to the next. Before the mountains were born or the earth or the world brought forth, you are God, without beginning or end.

You turn us back into dust and say: “Go back, children of the earth.” To your eyes a thousand years are like yesterday, come and gone, no more than a watch in the night.

You sweep us away like a dream, like grass which springs up in the morning. In the morning it springs up and flowers; by evening it withers and fades.

Our guilt lies open before you, our secrets in the light of your face. Our life is over like a sigh; our span is seventy years, or eighty for those who are strong. They pass swiftly and we are gone.

Make us know the shortness of life that we may gain wisdom of heart. Lord, relent! Is your anger forever? Show pity to your servants.

In the morning, fill us with your steadfast love; we shall exult and rejoice all our days. Show forth your work to your servants. Let you favor, O Lord, be upon us.
O God, you have been our refuge from one generation to the next. Before the mountains were born or the earth or the world brought forth, you are God, without beginning or end.

Spirituality: The Work of Love

The work of love involves giving yourself time. How much time do you spend with yourself? Do you take time for proper rest and relaxation or do you drive yourself unmercifully? In you're a "human doing" [instead of a human being], you drive yourself. You need more and more achievement in order to feel okay about yourself.

If you're willing to love and accept yourself unconditionally, you will allow yourself time to just be. You will set aside times when there's nothing you have to do and nowhere you have to go. You will allow yourself solitude, a nourishing time of aloneness. You will take time for hygiene and exercise. You will take time for fun and entertainment. You will take vacations. You will take time to work at your sex life. You will be willing to give yourself pleasure and enjoyment.

John Bradshaw - Healing the Shame that Binds you.

First Saint from Australia

from the Associated Press

Pope Benedict XVI approved sainthood for Mother Mary MacKillop on Friday, making the woman known for her work among the needy Australia's first saint.

The pope made the announcement during a ceremony at the Vatican and set the formal canonization for Oct. 17 in Rome.

MacKillop founded the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, an order that built dozens of schools for impoverished children across the Australian Outback in the 1800s, as well as orphanages and clinics for the needy.

With vows of abstinence from owning personal belongings and dedication to helping the poor, MacKillop is credited with spreading Roman Catholicism in Australia and New Zealand.

But she was a strong-willed advocate who sometimes got into trouble for challenging orthodox thinking within the male-dominated church. In 1869 she was excommunicated for inciting her followers to disobedience, though the bishop who punished her recanted three years later and she was exonerated by a church commission.

"This is a great, great tribute to the Catholic church and a great, great tribute to her hard work in education," Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Friday. "This is a great honor for Australia. I offer a heartfelt expression of appreciation to the wider Catholic community."

MacKillop died in 1909 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Prayer: The Art of Living Well by Robert Bellarmine, S.J.

If we wish to learn the art of living well and dying well, let us not follow the crowd, which only believes and values what is seen. Instead let us follow Christ.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Prayer: A Prayer for Lent by Edward Hays

May you live these Lenten days
not in purple penitential denial
but in the joyfulness of the
intimate embrace of your Blessed God.

May you hear on the Lenten winds
your Beloved calling you daily
to go apart from your routine time
to spend desert time with your God.

Then your heart can be freshly aflame
with a lover’s delight in your God.

May you have a blessed and grace-filled
Lenten season so as to be a new person
in Christ in alleluia joy on Holy Easter.

Spirituality: Some Key Ignatian Themes

- All of creation is God’s gift to us.

- God has a plan for us. It is possible to come to know this plan. Each person is individually gifted by God, a unique creation in God’s plan.

- Our experience is the starting point in coming to know God.

- Jesus Christ is central to our relating to God and in understanding right values. The more closely we come to know Jesus, the more we can know and choose the values of Jesus.

- Our choices are of means to the end of God’s greater glory.

- The greater a person’s freedom, the more directed towards God can be that person’s choices.

- We are invited to join God in laboring to bring about God’s reign.

- Prayer is the essential communication of mind and heart between God and each person.

- Discernment reveals the pattern of God’s work with the whole person. Understanding the characteristics of this pattern is essential in growing closer to God and making choices according to God’s plan.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Anticipating Ash Wednesday

As I sit silently in our small chapel here at Canisius College in New South Wales, Australia on the eve of Ash Wednesday, I reflect upon the ways I will be more available to the Lord during Lent. Regardless of what I intend to do, Christ is already busy about opening my heart more deeply to his promptings. I am asked simply to assent to his desire to grow closer to me. I have the great benefit of using these days as a time of disposition before I make the 30-day retreat in a few weeks.

While the readings for Ash Wednesday (Joel 2 and Matthew 6) suggest a time of fasting, prayer and almsgiving, I find myself resonating with other points of the passages. Joel writes ‘return to me with your whole heart,’ yet I find this is incredibly difficult to do. It is not that I do not want it, but I am becoming more aware of the attachments that stop me from being the person that God and I would like me to be. I am flooded with seemingly random memories, some happy and others painful, that I have to examine in greater detail and perhaps with much repetition and I have to ask myself whether I am courageous enough to let Christ help me to re-view these memories again – this time with his help. I am confident that he has valuable insights for me, but I fear the pain that I might experience again, and yet I know that fear is not faith. I also know that this may lead to incredible healing or at least that I may gain a more compassionate understanding of myself. My growing realization of just how much I need Christ to die for me and to personally save me becomes larger in my consciousness. I believe Christ will help me grow into a loving, kinder, more generous person. Just as the Psalmist asks God for a steadfast spirit to renew him, I also ask for that very same grace.

I become encouraged by Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians when he tells us to “be reconciled to God.” He continues, “Do not receive the grace of God in vain,” for “this is an acceptable time” and God has heard us; this is the day of salvation and God has helped us. Yes, I want what God is doing for me, but I fear I do not have the discipline to stay with God and do my part. God has been pouring out graces upon me and I want to be open enough to receive them. My prayer is that I can just simply “be” in the company of Jesus. Therefore, my Lent will have less to do with fasting from meat, food, or desserts; it will have much more to do with fasting from my many attachments that I am learning about more fully. It means that I will do my best to stay open to his call and to respond as best I can, no matter how insufficient. It means that I will give an honest and sincere attempt to enter into the fullness of my memories so Christ can help me unpack my experiences and allow me to examine my life as he sees it. What an adventure! So off I go into my desert experience, but I am wise enough to know now that Christ will be with me on each step of the journey and also during those times when I cannot put another foot forward.

Spirituality: Gerald May “Grace: Qualities of Mercy” Addiction and Grace Part 1 of 8

In the arid lands that were the birthplace of monotheistic religion, the desert was a primary symbol of trial and temptation. And water, especially freshly flowing “living” water, became a prominent image of God’s grace. Just as fresh water could transform wastelands into gardens, the living water of God’s Spirit could cause love to grow within the most parched and willful souls. In the psalms, the soul thirsts for God “as a deer yearns for running waters,” “like a dry and weary land.” And in Isaiah, God promises grace: “Let the desert rejoice… For waters shall break forth in the thirsty grounds… The wasteland will be turned into an Eden… You will become like a watered garden.”

Eden, as a garden, becomes symbolic of humanity’s rightful relationship with God’s grace. It represents both our birthplace and our destiny, our home and our promised land, where we rely upon grace as our ultimate security. Addiction’s empty and idolatrous wasteland is transformed by grace into a garden of freedom and love.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Song: Gustav Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer

I went out this morning into the fields,
the dew was still hanging on the grass,
the happy finch said to me:
"Hey, you! Good morning! Yes, you!
Right! Isn't it a beautiful world?
Chirrup! Chirrup! Lovely and lively!
How I love the world!"

Even the bluebells in the field
merrily and with good spirits
ring out to me with their little bells,
ding, ding, ding,
their morning greeting:
"Isn't it a beautiful world?
Ding, ding! What a lovely thing!
How I love the world!

And then in the sunshine,
the world began to sparkle;
everything took on sound and color
in the sunshine!
Flowers and birds, great and small!
"Good morning! Isn't this a beautiful world?
Hey! You! It's a lovely world!"

Now will my happiness also begin?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Prayer: Our Way of Proceeding by Pedro Arrupe

Lord, meditating on ‘our way of proceeding’, I have discovered that the ideal way of our way of acting is your way of acting.

Give me that sensus Christi that I may feel with your feelings, with the sentiments of your heart, which basically are love for your Father and love for all men and women.

Teach me how to be compassionate to the suffering, to the poor, the blind, the lame and the lepers.

Teach us your way so that it becomes our way today, so that we may come closer to the great ideal of Saint Ignatius: to be companions of Jesus, collaborators in the work of redemption.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Prayer: John of Capistrano

Those who are called to the table of the Lord must glow with the brightness that comes from the good example of a praiseworthy and blameless life. The brightness of their wisdom must make them like the light of the world that brings light to others.

Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

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February 14, 2010

Without diminishing the impact of the words of Jesus upon his hearers, I view his words through Ignatius of Loyola’s understanding of indifference. Jeremiah curses the person who seeks after human esteem instead of God’s glory while urging his people to turn their hearts back to the Lord. Jesus does the same thing in Luke’s account of the sermon on the plain. Above all, Jeremiah, Jesus, and Ignatius wants each of us to orient all our meaningful actions and thoughts toward pleasing God and to discover the end for which we are created.

The provocative words of Jesus to the poor, hungry and suffering tell us that the happiness that Jesus sees in us is a taste of present liberation from chaos and poverty that will be fully eliminated in God’s kingdom. Enduring happiness in God’s future realm stems from the realization that God will fully remove our chaos and fulfill our needs. Jesus likewise chastises the rich, the satisfied, and the financially secure and heaps a myriad of woes upon them. What does this mean for us who are financially secure? He is not condemning our possession of wealth as much as he is urging us to be apostles of divine blessings to those who are needy. We are not to be preoccupied with our financial stability or to care too much about our own satisfaction. These conditions separate us from others and we are always called, no matter our financial situation, to look beyond ourselves. Jesus also asks us to consider and to embrace the ways that we are poor and in need. We then become more compassionate and can better identify with others who are dependent upon human mercy. Only doing God’s will can satisfy us.

Ignatian indifference begs us to look at God’s will for us today and to rid ourselves of anything that prohibit us from receiving or acting upon God’s will. In his meditation on the Three Classes of Persons, the one who has inherited a great sum of money does not decide to give the money away or keep it. She decides to discern God’s will for her, which may have nothing to do with the money. The important matter is discovering God’s will and being indifferent to our status in life as we learn not to seek human glory or reward. Ignatius, like Jesus, reminds us that we are to share the gifts with one another that we have freely received. By taking care of other’s needs, our needs become met.

Quote for the Week

From the Joel 2 from the Ash Wednesday liturgy:

“Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord your God.”

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: This week’s readings (James) prepare us for the upcoming Lenten season by instructing us in ways to persevere in trial and to give of ourselves joyfully. Temptations are based on our desires and evil desires bring about sin, which results in death. Joel implores us to turn back to the Lord and to repent from our wrongdoings. We are to make God proud by living lives worthy of God’s judgment. Moses in Deuteronomy tells us that we have two possible routes to take in life – the one that leads to life and prosperity or the one that brings about death and doom. We have a choice and we exercise our choice by keeping God’s commandments that are based on divine love. Isaiah sings about the necessity of fasting – a fasting based on social concern for our weaker brothers and sisters. If you delight in the Lord, the Lord will nourish you.

Gospel: Jesus is frustrated with the designs of the Pharisees as they demand a sign as proof of his authority. He asserts that his power is not to be used for such purposes. Jesus perplexes his already confused disciples when they do not understand his references to the attitudes of the Pharisees and Herod. The proof of his miracles point to God’s providence over the poor and hungry, but they become dull in their comprehension. After giving instructions for appropriate fasting, Jesus tells his friends that he will suffer greatly and be rejected and that his true followers must do the same. Jesus surprises everyone by calling men into his closest circle. He calls Levi (Matthew), a despicable tax collector and he eats and drinks with sinners.

Saints of the Week

Tuesday: Mardi Gras is your last chance to eat meat before Lent. This is the last day of Carnival (Carne- meat, Goodbye – vale). Say goodbye to meat as we begin the fasting practices tomorrow.

Wednesday: Ash Wednesday is the customary beginning to the season of Lent. A penitential time marked by increased fasting, prayer and almsgiving, we begin our 40-day tradition of sacrifice as we walk the way of Jesus that ends at the Cross during Holy Week. Lent is a time of conversion, a time to deepen one’s relationship with Christ, for all roads lead to his Cross of Suffering and Glory.

This Week in Jesuit History

• Feb 14, 1769. At Cadiz, 241 Jesuits from Chile were put on board a Swedish vessel to be deported to Italy as exiles.
• Feb 15, 1732. Fr. Chamillard SJ, who had been reported by the Jansenists as having died a Jansenist and working miracles, suddenly appeared alive and well!
• Feb 16, 1776. At Rome, the Jesuit prisoners in Castel San Angelo were restored to liberty. Fr Romberg, the German assistant, aged 80, expressed a wish to remain in prison.
• Feb 17, 1775. The French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Neapolitan Ambassadors in Rome intimate to the newly elected Pope Pius VI the will of their respective sovereigns that the Jesuits imprisoned in Castel San Angelo should not be released.
• Feb 18, 1595. Fr. Robert Southwell, after two and a half years imprisonment in the tower, was removed to Newgate and there thrust into a dungeon known as "Limbo."
• Feb 19, 1581. The election of Fr. Claude Acquaviva as fifth general in the Fourth General Congregation. He was only 37 years of age and a Jesuit for only l4 years. He served general under eight popes. He had been a fellow novice with Stanislaus.
• Feb 20, 1860. Pope Pius IX visits the Ignatius’ rooms in Rome.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Much love, joy, and intimacy to all of you who are in love. May you find delight in one another in the way that God delights in you.

Blessing and Giving of Ashes

Lord, bless these ashes by which we show that we are dust. Pardon our sins and keep us faithful to the discipline of Lent, for you do not want sinners to die but to live with the risen Christ, who reigns and lives with you forever and ever.

The priest places the ashes on the foreheads of the faithful saying:

“Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel” or
“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

Chinese New Year

Happy New Year to all the Chinese Catholic Communities (especially to my friends at the Boston Chinese Catholic Community) who are celebrating the start of the lunar new year! This is the year of the Tiger. May you all eat plenty of good food - fish for the good days ahead, noodles for a long life, dumplings that look like gold for prosperity, and sweet candies with red wrappers for good luck! Scare away that monstrous beast that roams the streets on New Years with plenty of lights, firecrackers, dragon and lion dances, and fireworks. Blessings on your new year.


During my tertianship program there might be times when I cannot send out the weekly email list, but I will update my blog regularly. Access predmore.blogspot.com for weekly and daily updates or predmoresj.blogspot.com for my tertian program news.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Proverb: The Monk and his Vision (An Asian Proverb)

An old monk prayed fervently many years for a vision from God. It came on day just at the minute the monk was scheduled to feed the poor who gathered daily at the monastery gate. If he didn't show up with food, the people would leave, thinking the monastery had nothing to give them that day. The monk was torn between his duty to the poor and his pursuit of the heavenly vision. Then, with a heavy heart, he madehis decision: he would feed the poor. A hour later, the monk returned to his room. When he opened the door, he could hardly believe his eyes. There was the vision, waiting for him. It smiled and said, "My son, had you not gone to feed the poor, I would not have remained."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Prayer: Padre Nuestro (The Lord's Prayer) in Spanish

Padre nuestro,
que estás en el cielo.
Santificado sea tu nombre.
Venga tu reino.
Hágase tu voluntad en la tierra como en el cielo.
Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día.
Perdona nuestras ofensas,
como también nosotros perdonamos a los que nos ofenden.
No nos dejes caer en tentación y líbranos del mal.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Poem: We are Seven by Williams Wordsworth

--A Simple Child,
That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?

I met a little cottage Girl:
She was eight years old, she said;
Her hair was thick with many a curl
That clustered round her head.

She had a rustic, woodland air,
And she was wildly clad:
Her eyes were fair, and very fair;
--Her beauty made me glad.

"Sisters and brothers, little Maid,
How many may you be?"
"How many? Seven in all," she said
And wondering looked at me.

"And where are they? I pray you tell."
She answered, "Seven are we;
And two of us at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea.

"Two of us in the church-yard lie,
My sister and my brother;
And, in the church-yard cottage, I
Dwell near them with my mother."

"You say that two at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea,
Yet ye are seven!--I pray you tell,
Sweet Maid, how this may be."

Then did the little Maid reply,
"Seven boys and girls are we;
Two of us in the church-yard lie,
Beneath the church-yard tree."

"You run above, my little Maid,
Your limbs they are alive;
If two are in the church-yard laid,
Then ye are only five."

"Their graves are green, they may be seen,"
The little Maid replied,
"Twelve steps or more from my mother's door,
And they are side by side.

"My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem;
And there upon the ground I sit,
And sing a song to them.

"And often after sun-set, Sir,
When it is light and fair,
I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there.

"The first that died was sister Jane;
In bed she moaning lay,
Till God released her of her pain;
And then she went away.

"So in the church-yard she was laid;
And, when the grass was dry,
Together round her grave we played,
My brother John and I.

"And when the ground was white with snow,
And I could run and slide,
My brother John was forced to go,
And he lies by her side."

"How many are you, then," said I,
"If they two are in heaven?"
Quick was the little Maid's reply,
"O Master! we are seven."

"But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!"
'Twas throwing words away; for still
The little Maid would have her will,
And said, "Nay, we are seven!"

Monday, February 8, 2010

Spirituality: Toxic Shame

Toxic shame, the shame that binds you, is experienced as the all-pervasive sense that I am flawed and defective as a human being. Toxic shame is no longer an emotion that signals our limits, it is a state of being a core identity. Toxic shame gives you a sense of worthlessness, a sense of failing and falling short as a human being. Toxic shame is a rupture of the self with the self.

Toxic shame is so excruciating because it is the painful exposure of the believed failure of the self to the self. In toxic shame the self becomes an object of its own contempt, an object that can't be trusted. One therefore experiences oneself as untrustworthy. Toxic shame is experienced as inner torment, a sickness of the soul. If I'm an object that can't be trusted, then I'm not in me. Toxic shame is paradoxical and self-generating.

John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Prayer: Peter Canisius

I commend to you, Lord Jesus,
the whole Society of Jesus:
our superiors and our subjects,
our sound and our sick,
our ministries of body and soul;
may we be rightly governed
to the glory of your name
and to the upbuilding of your Church.

Through you may we grow in our numbers
and in our service.
May we know our vocation thoroughly, and,
knowing it, love it.
And thus may all in the Society
serve your majest worthily and faithfully,
cling to the commands and the counsels
of the Gospel, and, united
in the love of brothers,
feel your blessings on our provinces, our
schools, our missions, and all our ministries.
May we be sober, simple, prudent,
peaceable, and studious of solid virtue.

May our lives conform to the Name we bear
and our deeds reflect the vows we possess.

We commend to you all the brothers
who share our life in the Society
and all our companions and partners
who share our heritage and our vision.
With the Father and the Holy Spirit,
we praise you forever.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2010

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February 7, 2010

At one time in our lives, we may have had an encounter with the divine that communicated something personally profound to us. The three readings today describe the ways in which Isaiah, Paul and Peter initially reacted to the incomprehensible power of God. We first hear about the prophet Isaiah’s account of his encounter with the “holy of holies” during a solemn liturgical celebration. As he encounters God in his midst, he is reminded of his unworthiness and unclean actions. His inadequacies make him feel like a doomed man. Paul likewise feels ashamed of his actions as he was once a persecutor of Christians. For this behavior, he claims to be unfit to be called an apostle. Once Peter recognizes Jesus as one who has supernatural authority over words and nature, begs him to depart from him because of his worthlessness.

It is helpful for us to examine how we personally respond to our moments of encounter with God. Just like in the readings, our own sense of shame can kick in. Shame can debilitate a person and can cut one off from a meaningful relationship. We have both healthy shame that allows us to see our essential limitations that also reminds us that we are not God, but we also have toxic shame that can produce all sorts of obstacles to our relationship with God, ourselves, each other, and the world around us. It is helpful for us to pray over our own stories and history of healthy shame and poisonous shame so that we can better understand how we respond to many situations in life. However, we do this only in the presence of Jesus who will guide us. This review can help us understand our family dynamics better and will undoubtedly open us up to a more intimate, healthy, freedom-based response to God’s many initiatives to us.

We see in the readings that God’s love has the last word. Only God’s grace, a deeper affection of love, can heal us. Isaiah experiences God’s call to deeper ministry after healing his shame; despite his previous destruction actions, Paul is called to be an apostle – equivalent to the other disciples, and maybe more so – and to become Christ’s special apostle to the Gentiles; Peter is called to become the leader of the continuing Jesus movement – to be a fisher of people par excellence. Jesus tells us “do not be afraid.” God’s grace is that which really matters, not our inadequate human condition. God will be able to use our skills and talents in new and exciting ways. We have to learn to let go of the shame that binds us so that we can courageously delight in the ways that God calls us into service. What do you have to gain?

Quote for the Week

According to the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great, the Benedict and his sister Scholastica spent their last day together in prayer and conversation. Scholastica sensed her death was close at hand and she begged Benedict to stay with her until the next day.

He refused her request because he did not want to spend a night outside the monastery, thus breaking his own rule. Scholastica asked God to let her brother remain and a severe thunderstorm broke out, preventing Benedict and his monks from returning to the abbey.

Benedict cried out, “God forgive you, Sister. What have you done?” Scholastica replied, “I asked a favor of you and you refused. I asked it of God and he granted it.”

Brother and sister parted the next morning after their long discussion. Three days later, Benedict was praying in his monastery and saw the soul of his sister rising heavenward in the form of a white dove. Benedict then announced the death of his sister to the monks and later buried her in the tomb he had prepared for himself.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: David’s son, Solomon, in a highly orchestrated ceremony dedicates the Temple in Jerusalem as God’s hold dwelling place. The queen of Sheba hears of the wonders of Solomon – his wisdom and prosperity – and she talks with him about many things. The reports about Solomon are true; the queen praises God and rewards Solomon with many gifts of friendship. In his old age, Solomon partially turns away from God to build houses for the gods of his wives. For his punishment, God tells Solomon that misfortune will befall his son’s kingdom. Only one kingdom of the twelve shall remain for the sake of David and Jerusalem. Jeroboam turns towards sin and builds golden calves for the people to worship. He anoints priests from the common people to make sacrifices to the false gods and their evil ways.

Gospel: News of Jesus’ power spreads fast and soon he is swamped by requests of many sick people who want healing. Negative fame also spreads fast and Jesus is accosted by the elders for disobeying the dietary and fasting rules of the Torah. He then instructs his disciples on the origins of sin and one’s unclean actions, which come from within a person’s attitudes and hardness of hearts. A Greek woman, a Syrophoenician foreigner, begs him to heal with daughter. She pushes him to acknowledge that his power to heal transcends creed or nationality. He continues on to other Greek-speaking cities and he heals a deaf man with a speech impediment. As he rests, his heart is moved with compassion upon the crowds who hunger for God’s righteousness. He miraculously feeds them in a foreshadowing of the Eucharist because he wants the people to be satisfied with God’s providence.

Saints of the Week

Monday: Jerome Emiliani experienced a deepening conversion when he was captured while serving in the Venetian military. When he was released he became a priest and founded a religious order that cared for the orphans and abandoned children. Josephine Bahkita was a Sudanese woman captured by slave traders and brought to the Italian Consulate for housekeeping tasks. Upon being freed, she joined a religious order as a cook, seamstress and porter. She treated all she encountered with great kindness.

Wednesday: Scholastica, twin sister of Benedict, founder of Western monasticism, is honored for her devotion to her brother’s work. She depicts miracles attributed to Benedict in her writings. Reportedly, Scholastica and Benedict share the same tomb.

Thursday: Our Lady of Lourdes is celebrated for her appearances to Bernadette Soubirous in a cave in southern France from February to July 1858. Lourdes is a thriving pilgrim site for those faithful Catholics who want to renew their faith or find healing in the springs.

This Week in Jesuit History

• Feb 7, 1878. At Rome, Pius IX died. He was sincerely devoted to the Society; when one of the cardinals expressed surprise that he could be so attached to an order against which even high ecclesiastics brought serious charges, his reply was: "You have to be pope to know the worth of the Society."
• Feb 8, 1885. In Chicago, Fr. Isidore Bourdreaux, master of novices at Florissant, Missouri, from 1857 to 1870, died. He was the first scholastic novice to enter the Society from any of the colleges in Missouri.
• Feb 9, 1621. Cardinal Ludovisi was elected Pope Gregory XV. He was responsible for the canonization of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier.
• Feb 10, 1773. The rector of Florence informed the general, Fr. Ricci, that a copy of the proposed Brief of Suppression had been sent to the Emperor of Austria. The general refused to believe that the Society would be suppressed.
• Feb 11, 1563. At the Council of Trent, Fr. James Laynez, the Pope's theologian, made such an impression on the cardinal president by his learning and eloquence, that cardinal decided at once to open a Jesuit College in Mantua, his Episcopal see.
• Feb 12, 1564. Francis Borgia was appointed assistant for Spain and Portugal.
• Feb 13, 1787. In Milan, Fr. Rudjer Boskovic, an illustrious mathematician, scientist, and astronomer, died. At Paris he was appointed "Directeur de la Marine."


During my tertianship program there might be times when I cannot send out the weekly email list, but I will update my blog regularly. Access predmore.blogspot.com for the weekly and daily updates or predmoresj.blogspot.com for my tertian program news.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Prayer: Why remain a Jesuit? by Karl Rahner

I still see around me living in many of my companions a readiness for disinterested service carried out in silence, a readiness for prayer, for abandonment to the incomprehensibility of God, for the calm acceptance of death in whatever form it may come, for total dedication to the following of Christ crucified.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Spirituality: Shame as a Source of Spirituality

What is spirituality? I believe it has to do with our life-style. I believe that life is ever-unfolding and growing. So spirituality is about expansion and growth. It is about love, truth, goodness, beauty, giving and caring. Spirituality is about wholeness and completion. Spirituality is our ultimate human need. It pushes us to transcend ourselves, and to become grounded in the ultimate source of reality. Most call that source God.

Our healthy shame is essential as the ground of our spirituality. By signaling us of our essential limitations, our healthy shame lets us know that we are not God. Our healthy shame points us in the direction of some larger meaning. It lets us know that there is something or someone greater than ourselves. Our healthy shame is the psychological ground of our humility.

Spirituality is life-style - that which enhances and expands life. Therefore, spirituality is about growth and expansion, newness and creativity. Spirituality is about being. Being is that victorious thrust whereby we triumph over nothingness. Being is about why there s something rather than nothing. Being is the ground of all the beings that are.

John Bradshaw, author of Healing the Shame That Binds You.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Spirituality: KAIROS and Chronos

To a soul, the only real time is right NOW. Not the future or the past. It lives in connecting deeply with the rich experience of each moment. Through awareness we can be in touch with our authentic self and how it perceives all of the energies and guidance around and within us.

"Chronos is clocks, deadlines, watches, calendars, agendas, planners, schedules, beepers. Chronos is time at her worst. Chronos keeps track. ...Chronos is the world's time.

Kairos is transcendence, infinity, reverence, joy, passion, love, the Sacred. Kairos is intimacy with the Real. Kairos is time at her best. ...Kairos is Spirit's time. We exist in Chronos. We long for Kairos. That's our duality.

Chronos requires speed so that it won't be wasted. Kairos requires space so that it might be savored. We do in Chronos. In Kairos we're allowed to be ... It takes only a moment to cross over from Chronos into Kairos, but it does take a moment. All that Kairos asks is our willingness to stop running long enough to hear the music of the spheres."

-- Sarah Ban Breathnach
(a reflection by a student who attended KAIROS)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Prayer: Blessing to Begin a Meeting

My Lord and My God,
You called from their busy daily lives
your servants Abraham and Sarah, Moses and Miriam,
Mary of Nazareth and your Son, Jesus,
to come apart and to spend time with you.

Come and consecrate this place
where we gather today.
Cleanse it of noise and
anything that might call us away from your presence.

May this space
become a place where we wait upon You,
our Lord and our friend.

May prayerful peace flow outward from here
touching with grace all those we love
and all the earth as well.

Lord, may our prayer be one with the prayer of all
throughout the earth who are aware of your presence,
forming a luminous hymn of praise to You.

May the Blessing of Almighty God,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be upon us as we meet today. Amen.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Prayer: Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

Look at it this way. We become Jesuits and continue to be Jesuits simply out of our enthusiasm for Jesus Christ, and from our desire to work for Him and for others. Jesus Christ is very faithful. He does not abandon those dedicated to his service. Jesus Christ lived two thousand years ago, but he still lives today in the Eucharist and in the depths of our hearts.