Saturday, July 31, 2010

Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

August 1, 2010

Although today’s readings confront our capacity and inclination to obtain more than we actually need, they skim the surface of our attachments to those possessions that we perceive will bring us security. Qoheleth, the author of Ecclesiastes, writes that all is vanity. Another translation of the word vanity is breath, so he is saying that everything is breath. It is passing, transitory, it cannot be grasped and it vanishes quickly. He asks, “Why do we get anxious about those possessions or activities that, in the long run, do not matter so much?” We are seeking to grasp onto something to give us some security, but in the end, the happiness that comes from our wise choices give us peace. Our greed, whether for possessions or security, can become idolatrous. I recall the bumper sticker that appeared years ago, “He who has the most toys wins.” This worldview reveals it is the pursuit, not the actual possessions, that becomes idolatrous. The letter to the Colossians tells us that we have to put to death this insidious type of greed so that we can put on the new self, that is, to put on Christ.

Jesus tells a story to one of two brothers who is constrained by his greed. The first brother doesn’t want to share his inheritance and the second one may or may not be too consumed with the inheritance, but he does want his brother to share out of sheer principles of fairness. In the story we learn of the futility of stockpiling and self-centeredness. The rich man builds a sense of security for himself because he will not go hungry, he will not have to rely upon others, and his hard work will surely pay off in the end, but the Lord God appears to him and chastises him for his foolishness. He gets no real benefit from his actions because he dies before he is able to enjoy his possessions. His relative wealth and comfort provides no surety in the long run. We do not want to be like this man even though we want to be hard workers, prudent savers, and wise stewards of the gifts we have been given. It is wise for us to properly understand our relationship to those things in life that we pine for with the backdrop of Qoheleth’s pronouncement that all in life is fleeting. What can we really hold onto?

The parable explains our attachment to material possessions because it is easy to visualize, but more often in life we hold onto intangibles like honor, status, influence, appearances, or reputation. We cling to these because they define our character and personality, and it is helpful to remember that we get our sense of security and stability from them as well. Our world becomes shaken when we deal with shame rather than honor, or when our high esteem and status is overturned and we lose our prestige, and so on. We begin to question our identity and our compass in life. These aspects of life are fleeting too and we can’t rely upon them, just like the man in the parable cannot rely upon those possessions he has stockpiled. Take some time this week to examine your personal (intangible) possessions. How many of them are really illusory? Onto what can we really grasp and hold onto during a lifetime that is merely a breath? Until we have it sorted out, let’s follow the advice of Qoheleth who teaches us to live well, to enjoy life, to take matters in stride, and to know we will one day be called back to God. Let’s be generous and giving to one another; generosity has a way of paying back in exponential ways. Loosen up and let go. All is breath.

Quote for the Week

From The Book of Ecclesiastes:

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!

For what profit comes to [one] from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun? … This also is vanity.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: King Zedekiah breaks the yoke from the neck of Jeremiah and raises the false hopes of the people because he preached rebellion against the Lord, but Jeremiah prophesies that the Lord has not sent Zedekiah on his mission. The Lord tells Israel that because he has brought calamity upon them because of their numerous sins, but there will come a day when the punishment will be lifted. At the right time, the Lord will show his age-old love for the people once again in fullness. The days are coming when the Lord will make a new covenant with Israel and will no more remember their sin, and the just, because of their steadfast faith, will live.

Gospel: When Jesus hears of John the Baptist’s murder, he retires to a secluded place to pray, but many people come to him for healing. He teaches them and since it is late, he provides them with the fish and loaves that satisfy their hunger. He sends the disciples to the other side of the lake and meets up with them by walking on the surface of the lake. A Canaanite woman who knows of the power of Jesus begs him to heal her daughter who is tormented by demons. Jesus pauses to ask his disciples to tell him who they think he is. He declare him to be the Christ. A man begs Jesus to care for his son who is a lunatic. The disciples are baffled by their inability to cure him while Jesus has the greater power to expel the demon and make him sane.

Saints of the Week

Monday: Blessed Peter Faber, S.J., priest, was one of the founding members of the Society of Jesus. He was an ordained priest when the original companions professed vows at Montmartre outside of Paris on August 15, 1534. He wrote his Memoriale to record the development of his spiritual life. Chosen as a delegate to the Council of Trent, Faber fell ill and died on August 1st. Eusebius of Vercelli, bishop¸ settled a dispute between the Arians and Catholics in 355 and was subsequently banished to Palestine unti 361 when the emperor died. Peter Julian Eymard, priest, entered the Marists in 1839 and left to found the Blessed Sacrament Fathers in 1856 in an effort to promote devotion to the Eucharist as a model for Christian living.

Wednesday: John Mary Vianney, priest, is the patron saint of priests and was called upon last year to intercession during the Year of the Priest. He was a parish priest who became known for his extended devotion to hearing confessions and for pastorally caring for the people of the village of Ars-en-Dombes near Lyons, France.

Thursday: The Dedication of the Basilica of Mary Major in Rome is the church were St. Ignatius said his Mass of Thanksgiving a year after his ordination. It is also the church in which Francis of Assisi set up the first Nativity crèche. The basilica was renamed after the Council of Ephesus in 431 after Mary was proclaimed to be the mother of God. It is larger and older than other churches in Rome named after Mary.

Friday: The Transfiguration of the Lord appears in each of the Synoptic Gospels when Jesus took Peter, James, and John up the mountain to pray and he was transfigured before their eyes. Jesus was affirmed by his Father in heaven and he was confirmed by his friends to be the Christ. Sadly, we also remember the transfiguring event of the anniversary of dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.

Saturday: Sixtus, II, pope and martyr with companions, died during the Valerian persecutions in 258. They were killed in the catacombs where they celebrated Mass. Sixtus was beheaded while speaking in his presidential chair and six deacons were killed as well. Lawrence, the Deacon, is honored on August 10th.

This Week in Jesuit History

• Aug 1, 1938. The Jesuits of the Middle United States, by Gilbert Garrigan was copyrighted. This monumental three-volume work followed the history of the Jesuits in the Midwest from the early 1820s to the 1930s.
• Aug 2, 1981. The death of Gerald Kelly, moral theologian and author of Modern Youth and Chastity.
• Aug 3, 1553. Queen Mary Tudor made her solemn entrance into London. As she passed St Paul's School, an address was delivered by Edmund Campion, then a boy of thirteen.
• Aug 4, 1871. King Victor Emmanuel signed the decree that sanctioned the seizure of all of the properties belonging to the Roman College and to S. Andrea.
• Aug 5, 1762. The Parliament at Paris condemned the Society's Institute as opposed to natural law. It confiscated all Jesuit property and forbade the Jesuit habit and community life.
• Aug 6, 1552. The death of Claude Jay, a French priest who was one of Ignatius' original companions at the University of Paris.
• Aug 7, 1814. The universal restoration of the Society of Jesus.

Weather

Might the worst of the weather be over? The sustained sweltering heat has gripped much of the U.S., so it is reassuring to know that the crest of summer has passed. In the Southern Hemisphere, the increasing amounts of daylight bring relief to many people that the worst of the sustained cold weather is gone. We are over the hump!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Prayer: Timothy Healy, S.J.

Once or twice in 450 years we have made the dream come true; in the Paraguay reductions, in the battle against Jansenism, in John Carroll’s Georgetown, in the Vatican Council’s canonization of the work of John Courtney Murray. The dream came swiftly true for the six men teaching in El Salvador who died last November because they fought for human dignity. It also comes true for most Jesuits, I think, in quiet classrooms and corridors where, by being ourselves, we bear witness to how many strange tools a patient God can make use of. Jesuits share the Christian insight that only for God is truth a noun. For the rest of us it’s an achingly unclosing verb.

Let me tell one last story, this time a personal one. Almost 30 years ago one of the great Jesuits of my time, Edwin Cuffe, S.J., sat with me on a baking night near Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where we were both teaching a summer course to young Jesuits. The only antidote to the heat of the evening was a cold beer, and indeed we applied the medicine several times. In the course of settling the world’s other problems, we came to the conclusion that the most interesting enterprise on the earth was the Church, and that probably its liveliest corner was the religious order we both shared.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Spirituality: The Grace to Receive Freedom From ___

On retreats and in prayer, we often seek graces to be liberated “from” something that holds us back and to be liberated “for” some greater good. Here is a list of some conditions in which we desire to be freed from some aspect of our lives.

• Sin
• Guilt
• Existential anxieties (fear of demons, the grip of fate, death, every day cares/concerns, sorrow, despair and hopelessness
• Dissatisfaction with God and with others
• No freedom, chains
• Oppressive and alienating ties
• A life of no expression of love
• Arbitrariness
• Egotism
• Exploitation of credibility
• Merciless condemnation of others
• Concern about reputation
• Trying to impress others
• Panic
• Absence of pleasure
• Addictions

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Spirituality: The Grace to Receive Freedom For ___

On retreats and in prayer, we often seek graces to be liberated “from” something that holds us back and to be liberated “for” some greater good. Here is a list of some conditions in which we desire to be freed for some new and life-giving aspect in our lives.

• Freedom
• Righteousness
• Peace with God and with others
• Confidence in life
• New creation
• Restoration of all things
• Joy
• Happiness
• Living
• Life in eternal glory
• Love
• Hope
• Sanctification
• Ethical commitment to the good
• All that is noble, true, just, pure, attractive, deserving of love
• To be generous and warm to each other
• To overcome evil with good
• To share goods for healing and making whole
• To be imitators of God
• To walk in love as Christ loved us

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sacred Heart: A Salutation Prayer by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

Hail, Heart of Jesus, save me!
Hail, Heart of my Creator, perfect me!
Hail, Heart of my Saviour, deliver me!
Hail, Heart of my Judge, grant me pardon!
Hail, Heart of my Father, govern me!
Hail, Heart of my Spouse, grant me love!
Hail, Heart of my Master, teach me!
Hail, Heart of my King, be my crown!
Hail, Heart of my Benefactor, enrich me!
Hail, Heart of my Shepherd, guard me!
Hail, Heart of my Friend, comfort me!
Hail, Heart of my Brother, stay with me!
Hail, Heart of the Child Jesus, draw me to Thyself!
Hail, Heart of Jesus dying on the Cross, redeem me!
Hail, Heart of Jesus in all Thy states, give Thyself to me!
Hail, Heart of incomparable goodness, have mercy on me!
Hail, Heart of splendor, shine within me!
Hail, most loving Heart, inflame me!
Hail, most merciful Heart, work within me!
Hail, most humble Heart, dwell within me!
Hail, most patient Heart, support me!
Hail, most faithful Heart, be my reward!
Hail, most admirable and most worthy Heart, bless me!

Prayer: Cecil McGarry

My deepest moments of intimacy with the Lord have always been in the struggle to remain available to him, faithful in the moments of darkness, defeat, frustration, weariness, in the big and small rebellions of every day when I have tried to impose my wisdom and my ways. I continue to find him more intimately when he proves stronger in the daily demands for availability and service than in times of prayer. I find God more sensibly in the things of every day which require effort and surrender of self than in times of formal prayer which are often ‘empty’ and dry, lived in faith and the natural feeling of wasting time. Ignatius’ note in the Exercises which can appear cold and negative has become positive for me and an experience of devotion: For everyone ought to reflect that in all spiritual matters, the more one divests oneself of self-love, self-will and self-interests, the more progress one will make. The Lord’s companion, Peter, discovered this, and with him I too can only say, ‘To whom should I go? You have the words of eternal life, and I believe. I know that you are the Holy One of God.’

Monday, July 26, 2010

Spirituality: “Prayer and Desire” from Primary Speech by Ann and Barry Ulanov

…God does not need to be told anything about what we need and want. Our words in prayer are not for God’s instruction but our own. We discover this way what in fact we do desire, what we want to reach out to and love. Thus we come to hold in open awareness what before we had lived unknowingly.

Surprises happen. We may discover we want more than we thought we dared. In the secret space of prayer, we may reveal to ourselves how much we want truth, beauty, love. In daily life, we usually hide from such desires, trying to protect ourselves from their urgency with the cynical argument that those are merely childish hops that life correctly disillusions. We may discover desires we did not know about or knew only dimly, desires that if followed would take us far off the path we have so carefully constructed. We might have to change jobs, leave relationships, forsake our whole way of living to take up an entirely different one. Following desires does not, as critics might warn, necessarily lead to self-indulgence and all the hedonistic sensations. Rather, it heads straight into the dangers of moral dilemma. The voice that God hears in prayer gets louder and louder for us if we go on praying. It may come to speak of a truth and a way of life that break sharply with the life we are living.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Poem: The Two Wolves

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, "Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times." He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way. But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing. Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit." The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?" The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, "The one I feed."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 25, 2010

Last week we heard about Abraham’s three visitors, one who happened to be the Lord. This week, Abraham and the Lord travel to the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Lord rhetorically asks if their sin, that is their failure to offer hospitality, is as grave as people say it is. Abraham pleads for justice for the righteous few who live in the city. Surely the Lord would not take vengeance on innocent people. We don’t know whether the Lord ever passes judgment or whether he teases answers out of Abraham to see how steadfast he will remain. Anyways, the Lord is teaching Abraham to ask for what he wants. We see the same dynamic in the Gospel: the midnight visitor asks for bread for his guest; Jesus teaches us how to call upon God as Father with petitions and demands, and then Jesus encourages us to boldly ask.

The moral of the story is that we are to be more assertive in our prayers for ourselves and one another, and yet too often we are afraid to approach God with our needs – and then we feel guilty when we do ask. We rationalize by saying things like “I know others are more in need than I am” or “I’m already blessed. I can’t ask for too much” or “I feel selfish in asking for my own needs, but I have no problem praying for others.” Jesus wants us to pray always because prayer is fundamentally a relationship and we need to spend time developing our friendship with God. We are to persevere in prayer – even if only for our needs. The fact is we are not a selfish people in general. Few of us would ever shamefully deny a friend in need. Jesus is trying to tell us that God is like a generously giving friend, especially when we are in need, and God wants to abundantly give us plenty of graces that we do not deserve and have not earned. That is just the hospitable character and nature of God.

Isn’t it reassuring to know that the friends of Jesus needed instructions on prayer? Jesus, the Messiah, lives with the people day by day and still his closest friends are bewildered and dissatisfied with their own prayer style. Amazing. We are not to get down on ourselves when we find our prayer desolating or ineffective. We judge ourselves much too harshly. We need to find a style of praying that energizes us and is right for us. We each have styles and modes of being in relationship with other people – they differ from person to person; we have to find ways that are comfortable in order to relate to the God who is in our midst. All too often, we think that is praying is saying devotional prayers that we learned up until the eighth grade in secondary school. While we have evolved over the years, we also need our prayer styles to reflect our maturity. The prayer that Jesus teaches his Jewish disciples models a lifestyle of generosity, forgiveness, and compassion. Everyone is welcome in this kingdom of heaven that is marked by peace, safety and abundance. It is a perfect prayer and it is good for us to chew on it bits at a time every so often so that we can see how the prayer penetrates deeply into our lives. When we truly pray it, we cannot help but feel a great deal of thankfulness for the many ways that God is always there – just ready to answer our prayers. This is an amazing God.

Quote for the Week

From The Contemplation to Attain Divine Love by Ignatius of Loyola:

I will call back to memory the gifts I have received – my creation, redemption, and other gifts particular to myself. I ponder with deep affection how much God our Lord has done for me, and how much he has given me of what he possesses, and consequently how he, the same Lord, desires to give me even his very self, in accordance with his divine design.

I will consider how God dwells in creatures; in the elements, giving them existence; in the plants, giving them life; in the animals, giving them sensation; in human beings, giving them intelligence; and finally, how in this way he dwells also in myself, giving me existence, life, sensation, and intelligence; and even further, making me his temple, since I am created as a likeness and image of the Divine Majesty. Then once again I will reflect on myself, in the manner described in the first point, or in any other way I feel to be better.

I will consider how God labors and works for me in all the creatures on the face of the earth; that is, he acts in the manner of one who is laboring. For example, he is working in the heavens, elements, plants, fruits, cattle, and all the rest – giving them existence, conserving them, concurring with their vegetative and sensitive activities, and so forth.

I will consider how all good things and gifts descend from above; for example, my limited power from the Supreme and Infinite Power above; and so of justice, goodness, piety, mercy, and so forth – just as the rays come down from the sun or the rains from their source.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: The Lord illustrates to the prophet Jeremiah the blessings of staying close to the Lord God and keeping his commandments. He shows that infidelity to his commandments will cause the person to rot and be useless. The people, realizing their sins and those of their fathers, petition God for mercy. Even the innocent suffer and those in pain await the Lord God’s protection. God sends Jeremiah to the potter’s house so that he may reshape the people into an image pleasing to God. The Lord speaks to Jeremiah in the audience of King Jehoiakim of the house of Judah urging repentance from their sins or they shall become like the inhabitants of Shiloh. The priests, prophets, and people ridicule Jeremiah and telling them that he is to be put to death. Jeremiah reveals that the Lord God is the source of his prophecy. The princes protect Jeremiah because an innocent man does not deserve to be put to death.

Gospel: Jesus speaks of the kingdom of heaven likening it to a mustard seed and yeast. He then explains the parable of the weeds in the field to his disciples telling them that the Son of Man is Lord of the Harvest and will come in judgment to collect the pure and holy from among the vile. He continues speaking of images of the kingdom calling it a treasure and a pearl. Though he is powerful in words and deeds, the people of his own town find it hard to see him as the Messiah. Because of their lack of faith, Jesus did not work many mighty deeds in their presence. At this time, Herod the tetrarch murders John the Baptist because he made an oath to his daughter to grant her whatever she wished.

Saints of the Week

Monday: We know little about Joachim and Anne, parents of Mary, because there is no scriptural reference to them, just some non-scriptural references to some writings of James the apostle. The lineage of women was not important in the Mediterranean world. Devotions to Anne began to crop up in the 6th century in the West and Joachim was honored in the East from earlier times.

Thursday: Martha, apostle, is the sister of Mary and Lazarus from Bethany near Jerusalem. We know Martha as the sister who devoted her time attending to the social needs of hospitality while he sister, Mary, sat attentively at the feet of Jesus. When Lazarus died, Martha went out to meet Jesus as he approached the family home. There she confessed her belief in Jesus as the Messiah.

Friday: Peter Chrysologus, bishop and doctor, a contemporary of Augustine, was archbishop of Ravenna in Italy during a time of strong pagan influence. Many Catholics had lapsed in their faith so Peter set about invigorating the faith through inspirational homilies that earned him the title Chrysologus “of golden words.”

Saturday: Ignatius of Loyola, priest and founder of the Jesuits, and author of “The Spiritual Exercises” that help a person develop a deeper relationship with God through Christ. Ignatius was born of nobility and was wounded as a soldier in 1521. During his convalescence he was inspired by the life of Christ and desired to live like the saints. He wrote “The Spiritual Exercises” during a period of mysticism in a cave north of Barcelona. He later studied at the University of Paris and attracted friends who would later profess vows in order to help souls at the disposal of the church. Ignatius became the founder of the Society of Jesus in 1540 and wrote its constitutions before dying in 1556.

This Week in Jesuit History

• Jul 25, 1581. In the house of the Earl of Leicester in London, an interview occurred between Queen Elizabeth and Edmund Campion. The Queen could scarcely have recognized the worn and broken person before her as the same brilliant scholar who had addressed here at Oxford 15 years before.
• Jul 26, 1872. At Rome, the greater part of the Professed House of the Gesu was seized and appropriated by the Piedmontese government.
• Jul 27, 1609. Pope Paul V beatifies Ignatius.
• Jul 28, 1564. In a consistory held before twenty-four Cardinals, Pope Paul IV announced his intention of entrusting the Roman Seminary to the Society.
• Jul 29, 1865. The death in Cincinnati, Ohio of Fr. Peter Arnoudt, a Belgian. He was the author of The Imitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
• Jul 30, 1556. As he lay near death, Ignatius asked Juan de Polanco to go and obtain for him the blessing of the pope.
• Jul 31, 1556. The death in Rome of Ignatius Loyola.

Change in Status

Each year on July 31st (The Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola), provincials in many parts of the world release the new status of assignments for the coming year. Jesuits leave their former apostolates to accept a new mission. I am happy to report that I am assigned to Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, Massachusetts to be a director of retreats. Pray for me as I work with the people of God to help them become even closer to the Lord.

Retreat

Please pray for the Jesuits of the New England Province who are on retreat in the week leading up to St. Ignatius day. We will be praying for an increase of mobility and availability for mission as we step closer to merging provinces.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Prayer: Aloysius Pieris, S.J.

Hence, all frontier ministries have to be saturated with the spirit of the One who breathes a joyous promise of victory from the Cross of apparent failure where he is exalted in glory; this faith guarantees a sense of humor in an otherwise harsh situation. Jesuits without a sense of humor – without the ability to laugh at themselves as much as at the failures and foibles of the church – cannot be in the frontier. This is the meaning of hope which accompanies faith in every life of love.

The holy Jesuit whom Ignatius defined as a mortified Jesuit [rather than as a mere praying Jesuit [ is therefore a crucified man full of hope and humor. He alone is qualified to be at the frontier. When he asks himself the Triple Question of the First Week, he should have before him the medieval artist’s “Crucified Christ with the smiling face” (which makes Christ say: I have done it! It is accomplished!), an image still preserved in the Cistercian Monastery in Lerins. Another sculpture of the same genre can be seen at the Xavier Castle. In this smile of the crucified one “lies” the non-existent boundary between the Third and the Fourth Weeks of the Spiritual Exercises!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Poem: from Jubilate Agno, Christopher Smart, 1759-63

Let man and beast appear before him, and magnify his name together.
Let Noah and his company approach the throne of Grace and do homage to the Ark of their Salvation.
Let Abraham present a Ram, and worship the God of his Redemption.
Let Isaac, the Bridegroom, kneel with his Camels, and bless the hope of his pilgrimage.
Let Jacob, and his speckled Drove adore the good Shepherd of Israel.
Let Esau offer a scape Goat for his seed…
Let Nimrod, the mighty hunter, bind a Leopard to the altar…

Let Daniel come forth with a Lion, and praise God…
Let Naphtali with an Hind give glory…
Let Aaron, the high priest, sanctify a Bull…

Let Abiathar with a Fox praise the name of the Lord…
Let Moses, the Man of God, bless with a Lizard, in the sweet majesty of good-nature, and magnanimity of meekness.
Let Joshua praise God with a Unicorn…
Let David bless with the Bear…
Let Solomon praise with the Ant…

Let Tobias bless Charity with his Dog…
Let Anna bless God with the Cat…
Let Benaiah praise with the Asp…
Let Barzillai bless with the Snail…
Let Joab with the Horse Worship the Lord God of Hosts
Let Shemaiah bless God with the Caterpillar…

Let Iddo praise the Lord with the Moth – the writings of man perish as the garment, but the Book of God endureth forever.
Let Nebuchadnezzar bless with the Grasshopper – the pomp and vanities of the World are as the herb of the field, but the glory of the Lord increaseth forever.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Spirituality: General Examen 101

Just as people of the world, who follow the world, love and seek with such great diligence honors, fame, and esteem for a great name on earth, as the world teaches them, so those who are progressing in the spiritual life and truly following Christ our Lord love and intensely desire everything opposite. That is to say, they desire to clothe themselves with the same clothing and uniform of their Lord, because of the love and reverence which he deserves, to such an extent that where there would be no offence to his Divine Majesty and no imputation of sin to the neighbor, they would wish to suffer injuries, false accusations, and affronts, and to be held and esteemed as fools (but without their giving any occasion for this), because of their desire to resemble and imitate in some manner our Creator and Lord Jesus Christ, by putting on his clothing and uniform, since it was for our spiritual profit that the clothes himself as he did. For he gave us an example that in all things possible to us we might seek, through the aid of his grace, to imitate and follow him, since he is the way which leads to life.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Poem: I will not rush by by John Predmore, SJ

Too often I have rushed by you,
doing many things about you,
for you.
Meanwhile I’ve missed you
and searched for you,
but now I know you are here.
You always were.
You’ve always wanted me.
You’ve tried to get to me,
but I passed by.
I am here
and so are you.
I won’t go
(Maybe I will –
sooner than you want.)
As I’m learning to stay by your side
without moving
without running away.
You overwhelm me though you try not to.
I’m frightened of who I might find inside myself,
but I’m in your great stillness.
You affirm me
and ask me to stay
and I feel the tingle
in the tips of my toes
that makes me want to reach up to you,
but I’m just sitting
on a rock
in the sun
by the beach
beaming that you remain by my side.

Prayer: John Paul II

To everyone, Christians, believers, and men and women of good will, I say: Do not be afraid to take a chance on peace, to teach peace. The aspiration for peace will not be disappointed forever. Work for peace, inspired by charity which does not pass away, will produce its fruits.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Poem: The Sea Eagle by John Predmore, SJ

The grace of the sea eagle makes me think of you.
As I look up and see you are near.
How I wish to glide through life in the same way.
You are solitary, but your gaze is directed downwards.
To have my head in the clouds
and see you more nearly
is what I seek.
No, I want to fly alongside you
and frolic without limits.
Tumbling, swerving, stretching into new boundaries,
joining others who are lifted up -
just the breath of air to sustain us,
passing time through the brightness of day.
This is our moment.
Stay aloft over those frothy surfs.
Savor the thrill.
When day is done
just come and rest with me on the rocks
with our shadows left in the memory of the day
and feel the tickly of the splash upon our faces
knowing with a content heart how good it is.

Prayer: Insanity by Anthony de Mello, S.J.

On the question of his own Enlightenment the Master always remained reticent, even though the disciples tried every means to get him to talk.

All the information they had on this subject was what the Master once said to his youngest son who wanted to know what his father felt when he became Enlightened.

The answer was:

"A fool."

When the boy asked why, the Master had replied, "Well, son, it was like going to great pains to break into a house by climbing a ladder and smashing a window and then realizing later that the door of the house was open."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Prayer: Meister Eckhart

You need not seek him here or there, for he is no further than the door of your heart; there he stands patiently awaiting whoever is ready to open up and let him in. No need to call to him from afar: he can hardly wait for you to open up, he longs for you a thousand times more than you long for him.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 18, 2010

Abraham’s example of hospitality to the three strangers sets up our imagination to look at Mary and Martha’s style of welcome to Jesus. We meet Abraham directly after he promises obedience to God’s covenant while he is resting after circumcising himself. Three foreigners pass by Abraham’s camp and he begs them to stop for rest and nourishment. Abraham does not eat with them but waits on them while they eat. For his goodness, Abraham is rewarded by these men with a prophecy that his wife, Sarah, well beyond her child-bearing years, will bear a son within the next year. Abraham is upholding the revered custom in the ancient world to welcome the foreigner for everyone is a pilgrim at one time or another in life. One can never know when an angel of the Lord God may appear.

Just as Abraham spends precious time with these three strangers, we find Mary and Martha attending, at varying degrees, to the words of Jesus. We often highlight the differing approaches they take – Martha, the ever-responsible one who makes events move smoothly, and Mary, the one who is enraptured by the words of Jesus and becomes a model for contemplative life. Mary’s way gets the nod from Jesus, but it does not resolve the tension as both ways are necessary for hospitality. We must prepare for our guests and when they arrive, it is time to relax with them. Martha feels too responsible to relax because Mary shirks her duties leaving too great of a burden on her. Maybe we do not understand fully the message Luke intends, but common sense will tell us that both ways have to be integrated if we are to be truly hospitable. However, Abraham shows us that it is key to offer the choicest welcome we can to foreigners. We just do not know the unexpected surprises that await us – for when we give generously, we also seem to get back much more than we ever gave. It is quite a paradox.

How well do we receive people into our lives? We wouldn’t dare invite foreigners to our homes mostly because of security concerns, especially in a litigious society. Regretfully, we don’t even want them in our country. Our schedules are often horrific as they are so cluttered with many details that we often don’t get the chance to relax. If we can’t take care of ourselves, we will not be able to tend to the needs of others. Reflect upon the last time you have invited someone over to your house. We scarcely invite our friends over anymore. Many people would rather meet out at a coffee house or a restaurant because it is more convenient, safer, and we can control the amount of time we allot for the gathering, and then we have to debate over who is going to pay this time. But on those times in which we do invite someone over for a leisurely conversation, it is good if we learn a lesson from Abraham, Martha, and Mary. They did all they could to make the person feel honored. They listened well to their guests and were thereby enriched. It is only when we slow down within ourselves that we are truly able to receive the other person and we exponentially receive much more than we could ever give. Life is too short to fill up with so many activities. Learn to receive another with grace. You will be more than satisfied.

Quote for the Week

From Abraham Lincoln:

During the darkest days of the Civil War, the hopes of the Union nearly died. When certain goals seemed unreachable, the leaders of the Union turned to President Abraham Lincoln for solace, guidance and hope. Once, when a delegation called at the White House and detailed a long list of crisis facing our nation, Lincoln told this story:

Years ago, a young friend and I were out one night when a shower of meteors fell from the clear November sky. The young man was frightened, but I told him to look up in the sky past the shooting stars to the "fixed" stars beyond, shining serene in the firmament, and I said, "let us not mind the meteors, but let us keep our eyes on the stars.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: Micah dialogues with the Lord God to find out what is required to gain good favor of God. The answer is: Do the right, love goodness, and walk humbly with God. He appeals to God to shepherd the people because there is no other God as good and caring. Jeremiah is called from his priestly family to be a prophet. This was his calling from the womb. He is called to help rebellious Israel return to its covenantal fidelity. When the people return, all will be restored and their memories will be only of the good actions of God and the people. To reform their ways, they must turn away from Ba’al, keep the commandments, care for the orphans and the poor, and welcome the foreigner.

Gospel: The scribes and Pharisees ask for a sign of the origin of the power of Jesus and he calls to mind the story of the people of Jonah who repented merely at his words. Jesus then establishes the family of the kingdom by declaring blood lines no longer matter; those who do the will of God belong to this new family. He tells the parable of the sower and urges the people to take heart to what he is saying about accepting his teaching. He further urges patience because sometimes the good seed is planting among weeds and we must take care that we do not extinguish the harvest of that good seed.

Saints of the Week

Tuesday: Apollinaris, bishop and martyr, was the first bishop of Ravenna appointed by Peter during the reign of Claudius and Vespasian. He was repeatedly exiled and tortured, but he continued to preach the Gospel during his difficult times.

Wednesday: Lawrence di Brindisi, priest and Doctor, was a scholarly Capuchin priest in Verona, Italy whose ministry spanned the year 1575 to 1619. As a scripture scholar he served as a diplomat and missionary and was commissioned by the Pope to convert Jews to Christianity and to combat the spread of Protestantism.

Thursday: Mary Magdalene, apostle, is called the “Apostle to the Apostles” because she was the first witness to the Resurrection. She was moved to anoint the dead body of Jesus by bringing ointment to the tomb on Easter morning. Scriptural references portray her as being a faithful disciple to Jesus and as a woman who was cured fully (with perfection) of seven demons.

Friday: Bridget of Sweden, religious, founded the Bridgettine Order for men and women in 1370, though today only the women’s portion has survived. She desired to live in a lifestyle defined by prayer and penance. Her husband of 28 years died after producing eight children with Bridget. She then moved to Rome to begin the new order.

Saturday: Sharbel Makluf, priest, joined a monastery in the Maronite tradition and lived as a hermit for 23 years after living fifteen years in the community. He became known for his wisdom and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

This Week in Jesuit History

• Jul 18, 1973. The death of Fr. Eugene P Murphy. Under his direction the Sacred Heart Hour, which was introduced by Saint Louis University in 1939 on its radio station [WEW], became a nationwide favorite.
• Jul 19, 1767. At Naples, Prime Minister Tannic, deprived the Jesuits of the spiritual care of the prisoners, a ministry that they had nobly discharged for 158 years.
• Jul 20, 1944. An abortive plot against Adolf Hitler by Claus von Stauffenberg and his allies resulted in the arrest of Fr. Alfred Delp.
• Jul 21, 1773. In the Quirinal Palace, Rome, the Brief for the suppression of the Society was signed by Clement XIV.
• Jul 22, 1679. The martyrdom at Cardiff, Wales, of St Phillip Evans.
• Jul 23, 1553. At Palermo, the parish priests expressed to Fr. Paul Achilles, rector of the college, indignation that more than 400 persons had received Holy Communion in the Society's church, rather than in their parish churches.
• Jul 24, 1805. In Maryland, Fr. Robert Molyneux was appointed the first superior by Father General Gruber.

Mary Magdalene

Each year as I approach the Memorial of Mary Magdalene, I wonder how she will be treated by preachers and the church. The fact is we know so little about her, but we conflate various stories of “Marys” into the tale of Mary Magdalene and we fill our mind with a distorted view. I do wish we knew more, but sometimes knowing less can help our prayers. Some attempts have been made to rehabilitate her reputation. The best we can do is to get in touch with our scriptural tradition and learn from our tradition. It will help us gain better perspective into our church and our saints and we will feel much more secure in the mystery that is our church.



Friday, July 16, 2010

Prayer: Catherine of Siena

Thanks, thanks be to you, Eternal Father! I am imperfect and full of darkness, but you, perfection and light, have shown me to perfection and the way of your Son. I was dead and you brought me to life.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Poem: After the Museum by John Predmore, S.J.

I wrench my shoes from my bruised swollen feet
and release them from the day’s tension.
Toes pointing upwards, red and throbbing,
gasping for their fresh freedom.
They soldiered valiantly
and bore much weight
for they had to carry me home.
Now they rest, raised up, steaming hot.
“We are weary,” they cry proudly.
“We’ve toiled well.
Stretch us. Unbind us. Let the air be our salve.
We must ready ourselves for another tomorrow.”

Prayer: Dan Harrington, S.J.

I find God largely in and through the Bible. Most of my academic, spiritual, and pastoral life revolves around the Bible. It is for me the most important way to come to know, love, and serve God.

My love for the Bible goes back a long way. I stutter. I always have, and I guess I always will. As a young boy I read in the newspaper that Moses stuttered. I looked it up in the Bible, and sure enough in Exodus 4:10 Moses says to God: “I as slow of speech and slow of tongue.” But I found much more in Exodus 3-4. It is the story of God’s self-revelation to Moses at Mount Horeb. It tells about the burning bush, the suffering of God’s people Israel is Egypt, the revelation of the special divine name (“I am who I am”), God’s promise of liberation from slavery, Moses’ miraculous powers, and God’s call to Moses to speak on God’s behalf. I read that story over and over, and it gradually worked upon me so that it has shaped my religious consciousness to this day. As a boy of ten or eleven years of age I found God in the Bible, and I have continued to do so ever since.

The God of the Bible is the God of Jesus Christ. I experience his God in and through the Bible and my life. It is my privilege as a Jesuit priest to study and teach Scripture, to proclaim and preach God’s word, and to celebrate the Church’s liturgies (which are largely cast in the language of the Bible). In the midst of these wonderful activities (which are my greatest joy), I occasionally stutter. And this brings me back to where my spiritual journey with the Bible began. Though I am slow of speech and tongue like Moses, I still hear the words of Exodus 4:11-12: “Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, and I will be your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.”

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Poem: from “May I have this Dance?” by Joyce Rupp

The small wooden flute and I,
We need the one who breathes….
So that the song-starved world
May be fed with golden melodies.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Prayer: John LaFarge, S.J.

The latter years are a time when we simply allow ourselves to become more familiar with God and His saints in heaven. We should let ourselves grow closer to that source of life, that ocean of love, toward which we are inexorably moving, just as the waterborne traveler on a great river begins to scent the first tang of the mighty sea to which the current is noiselessly carrying him. It means talking much to God: to our Father in Heaven, to His Son, our Redeemer, to the Holy Spirit, who is our invisible and ever-working companion, and to Christ’s Blessed Mother Mary.

We don’t delude ourselves. Our minds may wander more readily in the later years. Troublesome memories of the past may obtrude, if we don’t banish them at their first appearance. We may even forget prayers we used to know by heart.

But the main thing is that prayer becomes more and more a part of the texture of our lives. We dwell a little longer in meditating. We spend a little longer time in a visit to the Blessed Sacrament. We refer things to God more naturally and frequently. We do much praying for the Church, for the See of Peter, for all the body of faithful, for souls akin to us outside the visible Church, for so many great intentions. In our later years we become more conscious that we do not pray alone. The Church is praying with us and in us – the whole Mystical Body of Christ.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Poem: The Ferry by John Predmore, S.J.

Knees wobbled and weak,
at the rim of the world.
for the journey ahead.
From its southern tip,
the ferry pulls away,
in blue-green waters,
my legs like taffy,
on a trip of immensity,
where little is contained.
We bobble and float,
the soothing wave of nothingness
with closed eyes,
yet I fear sleep,
for if I do,
I may be gone,
and who would know?
You’ve no control.
Your destiny can’t be shaped.
The raft will carry you,
or it may sink.
Will I reach out to cling to its beams?
Endless bouncing,
deep into the gut,
undetectable at times,
past the safe confines
and into the open horizons
where no birds glide
or fish jump.
Ankles weak and stomach aquiver,
tosses out the question,
Which is greater?
the hovering sky,
the arched sea,
or those distant peaks
of snow and ice
that rip open in defiance
the placid surface
and calls out, “I dare you.”
I am weak and finite.
I can’t contend.
It bends my mind,
so my lids I close
and float
and wonder
where it goes.

Prayer: Teresa of Calcutta

Into each of our lives Jesus comes as the bread of life - to be eaten, to be consumed by us. This is how he loves us. Then Jesus comes in our human life as the hungry one, the other, hoping to be fed with the bread of our life, our hearts loving, and our hands serving. In loving and serving, we prove that we have been created in the likeness of God, for God is love and when we love, we are like God. This is what Jesus meant when he said, "Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Prayer: Thomas A Kempis

Whoever finds Jesus finds a rare treasure, indeed, a good above every good. Whereas one who loses him lose more than the whole world. The one who lives without Jesus is the poorest of the poor, whereas no one is so rich as the one who lives in his grace.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 11, 2010

I suspect that the Parable of the Good Samaritan is a favorite of many because it makes one feel good about doing what is instinctively right. In our consciousness we become this Good Samaritan who can break boundaries to do what is good and therefore we put ourselves on the path for the approval of Jesus to enter into eternal life. Over the years, we have answered the questions “Who is my neighbor” and reflected upon “Who is my enemy?” This parable begs us not to be deceived about our relationships. Often those who could be the closest to us because of some family bond are those who in some sense can pose the greatest opposition to us, but we merely call them family. We neither classify them as neighbor nor adversary. They are in a category of their own. This is the situation between the Jews and Samaritans. They despise one another – probably because of their shared ancestry and scripture. Each built their own rival temple after the Babylonian captivity that further heightened the tension between these cousins. Attempts at reconciliation were historically made, but neither side would ever consider violating the sacred customs that continuously demonize one another. Each has too much self-respect to lose. The other is termed as “those people” who don’t have the ability to ever do the right thing.

Astoundingly, the Samaritan is the one who acts rightly from his heart and shows mercy to the one in need. The Samaritan acts out of our sacred scriptures and his own. He obeys the primacy of conscience that informs his heart. Moses tells us that we don’t have to go searching for the answers because they reside confidently in our hearts – if we just call them forth. We have all the resources we need to make our best moral choices. When we set up our defenses or act solely through reasoned arguments, we are betraying the precepts of our scriptures. The scholar of the law arrives at this answer intellectually in the Gospel and we sense that he also understands the fullness of the parable. He now is left to act upon it – in the face of a culture that actively forbids it. He is called to “Go and do likewise.”

Never mind looking at our worldwide enemies; think of the broken relationships we have in the family we call our church. We hold vehemently to our positions on liturgy and language, sexual ethics, moral conduct, and conservative or progressive interpretations of our teachings. We polarize one another; we demonize the other camp; we will not engage in dialogue; we would never transgress the safe boundaries we have established. Is this healthy? No. Of course not. No amount of dialogue, no amount of reasoning can restore this relationship, only compassion - a much deeper affection can do this. Treating our own “modern-day Samaritans” with charity could really move us forward toward a reconciliation of joy. We can do it. It is in our hearts. The hymn to Christ in Colossians is a good reminder for us to realize that God is the one who makes possible this reconciliation. If through Christ we are to restore relationships, we are to listen to the deep recesses of our heart where God resides so that we can choose to do the good and the right – in adverse conditions. Then we will have the basis to act in the surprising way of the Samaritan whose example of faith challenges us to “Go and do likewise.”

Quote for the Week

The Dawn by John Predmore, S.J.

Dawn,
protrudes her head into the darkness
summoning all to rise.
The day begins,
and leads nowhere.
I sit and note
elsewhere I could be doing.
My time would be filled.
I would have purpose.
I swig a drop of coffee,
and yet another,
my breath melts under the sun.
I watch the birds and cows,
and empty my cup,
with no cause to arise.
I sit.
I feel.
Onwards I stay,
and breathe until midday.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: The beginning of Isaiah instructs people to hear the word of the Lord and to put away misdeeds so they can learn to do the good. With mounting armies outside of the gates of Jerusalem, the Lord tells the people that in the very near future Ephraim will be crushed and shall no longer be a nation. In their misery, the people cry out to the Lord remembering the love he had for them. As King Hezekiah is mortally ill, the prophet Isaiah comes to tend his wounds. He tells the king that the Lord has heard the prayers of the people; Hezekiah himself will recover. Micah tells us that those who plan evil will have evil come to them. Destruction and pillage takes place in the land.

Gospel: In his instructions to the disciples sent on mission, he tells them that not everyone will come into the kingdom. Families will be split up and deep divisions will occur based on belief that Jesus is Lord and the kingdom of God is arriving. People will be judged on the degree of hospitality they extend to Jesus and the Word of God. To conclude the instructions, he blesses the Father and gives thanks. He invites all to come unto him and then declares he is the Lord of the Sabbath by eating the heads of grain. The incensed Pharisees seek to put him to death so he withdraws and cures people and speaks of the kingdom.

Saints of the Week

Tuesday: Henry is a descendent of the Emperor Charlemagne. He became king of Germany and of the Holy Roman Empire near the turn of the new millennium. He merged civil and secular affairs with ecclesiastical ones and he supported the reforms of the Cluny monastery.

Wednesday: Kateri Tekakwitha is called the Lily of the Mohawks because of the kindness and Christian virtue she showed the missionaries to the New World in the 17th century. She suffered from smallpox as a child that left her scarred and nearly blind. She was baptized on Easter Sunday and continued her devotion to the Eucharist during a persecution by her fellow Mohawks.

Thursday: Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor, was a good friend of Thomas Aquinas and was made the superior of the Franciscan Order in 1257. He was so named (good fortune) because of his cure by Francis of Assisi after a childhood illness. He was the leading figure in the ecumenical council at Lyons that set out to unite the Greek and Latin rites. Friday:

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a feast that is special to the Carmelites because it is regarded as the day in which Simon Stock was given the brown scapular by Mary in 1251. A century before the apparition, a group of hermits settled near a chapel dedicated to Mary on Mount Carmel that overlooked the plain of Galilee in the place where the prophet Elijah lived.

This Week in Jesuit History

• Jul 11, 1809. After Pius VII had been dragged into exile by General Radet, Fr. Alphonsus Muzzarrelli SJ, his confessor, was arrested in Rome and imprisoned at Civita Vecchia.
• Jul 12, 1594. In the French Parliament Antoine Arnauld, the Jansenist, made a violent attack on the Society, charging it with rebellious feelings toward King Henry IV and with advocating the doctrine of regicide.
• Jul 13, 1556. Ignatius, gravely ill, handed over the daily governance of the Society to Juan de Polanco and Cristobal de Madrid.
• Jul 14, 1523. Ignatius departs from Venice on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
• Jul 15, 1570. At Avila, St Teresa had a vision of Blessed Ignatius de Azevedo and his companions ascending to heaven. This occurred at the very time of their martyrdom.
• Jul 16, 1766. The death of Giuseppe Castiglione, painter and missionary to China. They paid him a tribute and gave him a state funeral in Peking (Beijing).
• Jul 17, 1581. Edmund Campion was arrested in England.

Happy Bastille Day

Warm wishes to the French who celebrate the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789, the beginning of the French Revolution, a symbol of the establishment of the modern nation. The Bastille was a prison and a symbol of the absolute and arbitrary power of King Louis XVI's Ancient Regime. By capturing this symbol, the people signaled that the king's power was no longer absolute: power should be based on the Nation and be limited by a separation of powers. The storming of the prison was a symbol of liberty and the fight against oppression for all French citizens; like the tri-colored flag, it symbolized the Republic's three ideals: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. It marked the end of absolute monarchy, the birth of the sovereign Nation, and, eventually, the creation of the Republic.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Prayer: El Credo (The Apostles Creed) in Spanish

Creo en Dios, Padre todopoderoso, creador del Cielo y de la Tierra.
Creo en Jesucristo su único Hijo, Nuestro Señor,
que fue concebido por obra y garcia del Espíritu Santo;
nació de Santa María Virgen;
padeció bajo el poder de Poncio Pilato;
fue crucificado, muerto y sepultado;
descendió a los infiernos;
al tercer día resucitó de entre los muertos;
subió a los cielos y está a la diestra de Dios Padre;
desde allí ha de venir a juzgar a los vivos y a los muertos.
Creo en el Espíritu Santo, en la Santa Iglesia Católica,
la comumión de los Santos en el perdon de los pecados
la resurrección de los muertos y la vida eterna.
Amén.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Poem: The Tide by John Predmore, S.J.

The soft mid-afternoon light speaks of day’s end,
But it won’t rush too soon as much yet is to happen.
Nearly the same events occur each day,
and I too often have just passed by.
I want to watch, but where to look?
Like cherished relationships, I fail to see the one who desires me most.
Dare I walk away?
Like I always do?
Gentle strength deserves notice as the sun steadily warms my hair.
The silence builds so loudly
and its bellow clunks into me. Progressively.
Declare the battle waged.
The soft black sand gives way.
I have no footing to fight back.
I won’t reach. I refuse to take hold.
Higher ground is safety’s illusion.
The grip is upon me.
A trickle turns into a strengthening stream.
From out of nowhere, firm power.
The surf is violent and edgy,
while the opposing stream lazily laps down to the ocean,
the tide pulls in, and no power can suppress it.
Like the stream, I can’t compete.
I am to give myself over to who I am.
No. I give myself over to the good
and bend to the rhythm of life.
Rock solid, I am surrounded.
Don’t get up. Don’t leave.
Become a part of it.
Life has been too long apart from it.
I am immersed.
No fight is left.
No struggle.
The flow is within me.
The fight is now for others.
All turmoil is drowned in contentment.
I am not giving up life; life amazes always.
Drench me.
Submerge me.
Don’t resist. The illusion is over.
Cover me and let me become who you are.

Prayer: Horace McKenna, S.J.

I guess I’ll be thankful when these cares have been taken out of my hands. I will thank God for having mixed me up for a number of years with, and for having blessed me with the knowledge and appreciations of, so many families involved in these difficult situations, and with the support of my dear brothers in the Society of Jesus, and my sisters throughout the Church, and with generous benefactors who have kept my hand open all these days, and who have encouraged me so that my heart in unafraid, and who have enabled me to stay as an image of Christ doing good amongst the people.

Then, in my dream of the Last Day, Our Lord will come back and reward us for having, by his grace, straightened the world out, and having the poor competent, and the rich thoughtful, and the well-protected kindly and generous and involved, and the educated enthralled with the kingdom of God, and the spiritual able to perceive him in such a way as to make him visible to us.

I’m very grateful to God for having put me here and for maintaining me here through the grace and love of Our Lord and Savior, jesus Christ, and for the health and spirit and strength of the Holy Spirit and the grace he works in the whole Church. I am ready at any time to surrender myself to the arms of my heavenly Father. And when God lets me into heaven, I think I’ll ask to go off in a corner somewhere for half an hour and sit down and cry because the strain is off, the work is done, and I haven’t been unfaithful or disloyal, all these needs that I have known are in the hands of Providence and I don’t have to worry any longer who’s at the door, whose breadbox is empty, whose baby is sick, whose house is shaken and discouraged, and whose children can’t read.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Prayer: Augustine of Hippo

If you are his body and members of him, then you will find set on the Lord’s Table your own mystery. Yes, you receive your own mystery.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Poem: The Bath by John Predmore, S.J.

Streaming.
Soothing.
Sinking.
As water flows,
all else slows.
Steam and bubbles rise
as I immerse my weariness.
Movements quell
as I slip away
forever still
in this coffin.
Arms folded on chest,
Submerged for eternal rest,
and I drift away.
Deep, penetrating unconsciousness,
thinking only of what was
and I sleep
with stopped breath,
hearing the deaf inner rhythm,
lifeless,
pulse less,
the faintest of heartbeat slowed

Then I rise,
Ever afresh,
To greet the clear, crisp air.

Prayer: Pio of Pietrelcina

The cross will not crush you; if its weight makes you stagger, its power will also sustain you.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Poem: Onwards by John Predmore, S.J.

Dawn,
protrudes her head into the darkness
summoning all to rise.
The day begins,
and leads nowhere.
I sit and note
elsewhere I could be doing.
My time would be filled.
I would have purpose.
I swig a drop of coffee,
and yet another,
my breath melts under the sun.
I watch the birds and cows,
and empty my cup,
with no cause to arise.
I sit.
I feel.
Onwards I stay,
And breathe until midday.

Prayer: Mechthild of Magdeburg

The person’s petition to God:

God, you are my lover,
My longing,
My flowing stream,
My sun,
And I am your reflection.

God’s response:

It is my nature that makes me love you often,
For I am love itself.
It is my longing that makes me love you intensely,
For I yearn to be loved from the heart.
It is my eternity that makes me love you long,
For I have no end.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Poem: The Watch by John Predmore, S.J.

I sit,
in stillness,
with the tall mountain
peering over my shoulders,
brooding,
waiting,
clamoring,
as the days pass,
watching the strangers scurry by,
who have no grounds to look back.

Spirituality: “Life Bounded by Death” from Christian Life Patterns

Human life is bounded by death. To be appreciated fully at any point in its course, life must be apprehended as a whole. Human life, then, must find its deepest meaning in its relation to death. But death seems to stand as a stubborn impediment to meaning. It destroys plans, it undercuts purpose, it breaks the bonds of love. Humankind has struggled to discern a meaning in life that can prevail against the power of death. In this struggle Christians have been among the most audacious. For we claim the hope of the resurrection. This hope does not void death; death always precedes resurrection. For many of us it does not lessen death’s difficulty or lighten its pain. But it rescues death from absurdity.

Jesus Christ stands as the enduring witness to the promise of life through death. The religious conviction that arises from this promise finds resonance in the experience of loss and change in adult life. Growth does not come easily nor by simple addition. At each important junction in our life there is the threat of loss, the fear of what lies ahead, the temptation to hold on to what we already possess, and the resistance to standing open to the possibility of change and the ambiguity of a future that we do not control. Yet it has been through such experiences of confusion and loss that we have moved toward growth and fulfillment. It has been in letting go of the evanescent security of life under our own control that we have received the gifts of love and the true accomplishments that have enriched our life.

Hidden in the dynamic of adult growth is a confirmation of Christianity’s deepest paradox. I must be willing to lose all in order to find myself. It is in letting go of life that I discover it. And in dying, we believe, we shall find life.

Evelyn Eaton Whitehead and James D. Whitehead

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 4, 2010

We anticipate homecomings with great expectation, especially when someone has been away for a long time. We bake the person’s favorite meal, put out lavish spreads, and do everything to make the returning person feel welcome with our generous hospitality. The Lord God is doing the same for the return of the Israelites upon their return from a spirit-crushing exile. He is rejoicing and wants everyone to share his joy as he promises to give them comfort for their mourning is over. The return of the seventy-two to Jesus depicts this same type of excitement. The disciples are amazed at the incredible power they exercised through the spirit of Jesus and they realize something incredible is happening through the works of ordinary people. They experience the healing of the sick and the exorcising of demons all in preparation for the arrival of Jesus so he can preach the imminent arrival of the Kingdom of God. Divine power is entrusted to regular people. The seventy-two are sent to determine which towns and villages are hospitable to the Word of God.

Consider the major focus of Jesus on hospitality in the Gospel. He sends forth the seventy-two before he intends to visit and they are to be received as guests. They are to live like their respectable hosts and they are to wish them peace. The peace will last if they receive the message ‘the kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ Who wouldn’t want to hear that message? The disciples learn that some don’t want to hear it just as people in our world don’t want to hear it. We are to simply move on. Peace knows where it can settle and peace brings like-minded people together. But for those who don’t want to receive the message Jesus assures them that their punishment will be greater than Sodom’s. And what was Sodom and Gomorrah’s big sin? These cities broke social graces by failing to offer hospitality. (Attributing the sin of these cities to sexual behaviors is a more modern construct. This is a reason why we must learn our tradition.)Therefore, failure to offer hospitality to Jesus carries stern consequences.

Jesus has a simple plan. Through our simple way of life and acts of caring, we are to provide hospitality to Christ through our brothers and sisters in the ordinary events of the world. It can be simply visiting the sick or listening to one’s story or just providing companionship – each of them are great acts of hospitality. We receive Christ when we receive others in his name. The seventy-two were sent out with few provisions. If we have baggage, try to leave it behind, but if you can’t, then take it with you. Christ will still work through the chaos of your life. It is no reason not to move forward with him. All he is looking for is a place where he can proclaim that the Kingdom of God is here for you and for any who can receive it. If we let his power course through us, like the seventy-two disciples, we can witness great change in the world and our names will be inscribed in heaven, and it is in heaven that God is preparing for our eventual return. I suspect that God will be ever so gracious to receive you into the kingdom for all the hospitality you provided for Christ and his people. Rejoice. Your heart shall rejoice and the Lord’s power will be known to his servants.

Quote for the Week

On Independence Day in the United States:

This, then, is the state of the union: free and restless, growing and full of hope. So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith. ~Lyndon B. Johnson

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: Using the language of marital fidelity, Hosea interprets for the Lord his espousal to Israel, however, Israel became wayward and the Lord is displeased with their turning away from their commitments. Hosea warns the people of their fate unless they seek the Lord God once again. Otherwise, God’s justice will rain down upon them. Hosea describes God’s emotions as he mourns for the loss of Israel, whom he loved when they were like children. The Lord’s heart is overwhelmed and will not destroy Israel again. The Lord implores them to turn away from Ba’al and return to him and they will be forgiven. God’s love will love them freely once again. On Saturday, the readings begin Isaiah’s vision of the heavenly liturgy where he receives his mission as prophet.

Gospel: In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus raises the official’s daughter from the dead and cures a woman who suffered from hemorrhages for twelve years. He drives out the evil spirits from a mute demoniac and cures many others. His heart is moved with pity for the people who are troubled and abandoned. He summons the Twelve and gives them authority over unclean spirits and tells them to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel proclaiming the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. He gives further instructions that testify to their authenticity and credibility of mission. He tells them to look for openness and hospitality and warns them to be shrewd and cautious, yet simple in their worldview. They will experience hatred and persecution, but they will have the confidence of God as they go forth on mission. Persevere and worry about nothing.

Saints of the Week

Monday: Anthony Mary Zaccaria, priest, founded the Barnabite religious order in Milan for men and the Angelics of Saint Paul for women in the 1530’s. Both orders rely upon Paul’s teachings as the basis for running their communities. They urged people to receive frequent communion. Zaccaria wore himself out at age 37 and died from a life given over to exhaustive works.

Tuesday: Maria Goretti, martyr, fought the sexual advances of an 18-year old neighbor, Alessandro, when she was 12 years old. Since she would not submit, Alessandro stabbed and killed her. Eight years into his prison sentence, he was released to work in a monastery garden for the rest of his life.

Friday: Augustine Zhao Rong, priest and 120 companions, Chinese martyrs, are remembered for the sacrifice of their lives during the Christian persecution in China between 1648 and 1930. Zhao Rong was a Chinese diocesan priest who was once a soldier who heard Bishop Dufresse speak about Christianity and converted. Zhao Rong died in 1815 for the crimes of spreading the gospel.

This Week in Jesuit History

• Jul 4, 1648. The martyrdom in Canada of Anthony Daniel who was shot with arrows and thrown into flames by the Iroquois.
• Jul 5, 1592. The arrest of Fr. Robert Southwell at Uxenden Manor, the house of Mr. Bellamy. Tortured and then transferred to the Tower, he remained there for two and a half years.
• Jul 6, 1758. The election to the papacy of Clement XIII who would defend the Society against the Jansenists and the Bourbon Courts of Europe.
• Jul 7, 1867. The beatification of the 205 Japanese Martyrs, 33 of them members of the Society of Jesus.
• Jul 8, 1767. D'Aubeterre wrote to De Choiseul: "It is impossible to obtain the Suppression from the Pope [Clement XIII]; it must be wrested from him by occupying papal territory."
• Jul 9, 1763. The Society is expelled from New Orleans and Louisiana at the bidding of the French government.
• Jul 10, 1881. Fr. Frederick Garesche wrote from Sequin, Texas, to his Superior: "The cowboys who had not deigned at first to lift their hat to the priest or missionary; who had come to the mission as to a camp meeting, for the fun of the thing, gave in, and their smiles and awkward salutes showed that they had hearts under their rude exterior."

Prayer for the Fourth of July in the United States

O God, we give thanks to you on this day of celebration for giving us the freedom to use our gifts responsibly. We pray that we can be in solidarity with others who share in the dream of freedom that protects the inherent dignity of every person. We honor our nation with summer picnics, fireworks and unfurled flags that symbolize the founding of our country. We remember those who have worked hard for freedom and for our military who put their lives in harm’s way to protect our way of life. We honor our Constitution that protects its citizens and inspire our patriotism. Bless us and our celebrations today for you are the one in whom we trust. Amen.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Spirituality: List of Basic Human Needs

CONNECTION
acceptance
affection
appreciation
belonging
cooperation
communication
closeness
community
companionship
compassion
consideration
consistency
empathy
inclusion
intimacy
love
mutuality
nurturing
respect/self-respect
safety
security
stability
support
to know and be known
to see and be seen
to understand and
be understood
trust
warmth

PHYSICAL WELL-BEING
air
food
movement/exercise
rest/sleep
sexual expression
safety
shelter
touch
water

HONESTY
authenticity
integrity
presence

PLAY
joy
humor

PEACE
beauty
communion
ease
equality
harmony
inspiration
order

MEANING
awareness
celebration of life
challenge
clarity
competence
consciousness
contribution
creativity
discovery
efficacy
effectiveness
growth
hope
learning
mourning
participation
purpose
self-expression
stimulation
to matter
understanding

AUTONOMY
choice
freedom
independence
space
spontaneity

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Spirituality: List of Feelings When Your Needs Are NOT Satisfied

AFRAID
apprehensive
dread
foreboding
frightened
mistrustful
panicked
petrified
scared
suspicious
terrified
wary
worried

ANNOYED
aggravated
dismayed
disgruntled
displeased
exasperated
frustrated
impatient
irritated
irked

ANGRY
enraged
furious
incensed
indignant
irate
livid
outraged
resentful

AVERSION
animosity
appalled
contempt
disgusted
dislike
hate
horrified
hostile
repulsed

CONFUSED
ambivalent
baffled
bewildered
dazed
hesitant
lost
mystified
perplexed
puzzled
torn

DISCONNECTED
alienated
aloof
apathetic
bored
cold
detached
distant
distracted
indifferent
numb
removed
uninterested
withdrawn

DISQUIET
agitated
alarmed
discombobulated
disconcerted
disturbed
perturbed
rattled
restless
shocked
startled
surprised
troubled
turbulent
turmoil
uncomfortable
uneasy
unnerved
unsettled
upset

EMBARRASSED
ashamed
chagrined
flustered
guilty
mortified
self-conscious

FATIGUE
beat
burnt out
depleted
exhausted
lethargic
listless
sleepy
tired
weary
worn out

PAIN
agony
anguished
bereaved
devastated
grief
heartbroken
hurt
lonely
miserable
regretful
remorseful

SAD
depressed
dejected
despair
despondent
disappointed
discouraged
disheartened
forlorn
gloomy
heavy hearted
hopeless
melancholy
unhappy
wretched

TENSE
anxious
cranky
distressed
distraught
edgy
fidgety
frazzled
irritable
jittery
nervous
overwhelmed
restless
stressed out

VULNERABLE
fragile
guarded
helpless
insecure
leery
reserved
sensitive
shaky

YEARNING
envious
jealous
longing
nostalgic
pining
wistful