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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Const.: GC 34, Decree 4: “Our Mission and Culture”, par. 13

We bring the Gospel into an open dialogue with the positive and negative elements that these cultures present. In this way, the Gospel comes to be seen in a new light: its meaning is enriched, renewed, even transformed by what these cultures bring to it.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Poem: "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou

You may shoot me with your words
You may cut me with your eyes
You may kill me with your faithfulness
But still, like air, I'll rise

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Prayer: John of Damascus (8th century hymn)

Tis the spring of souls today:
Christ has burst his prison;
And from three days’ sleep in death
As a sun has risen.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Second Sunday in Easter

May 1, 2011
Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 118; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31

The disciples' first moments are captured in the Gospel when they huddle in fear of "the Jews" behind locked doors. The crucified Risen Jesus appears in their midst and greets them with "Peace" and "Do not be afraid." Partly, this scene answers the question raised by Mary Magdalene and the women who ran from the tomb and wondered, "where have they ("the Jews") put him (the body of Jesus.) The answer is 'nowhere.' They have not put him anywhere because the heavenly glory of the exalted Jesus appears before them.

The disciples realize their joy is fulfilled when the risen Jesus grants them the peace he promised. He shows them the marks of his crucifixion and wishes them peace once more. He breathes on them to receive the Holy Spirit and to be witnesses to him in the world. They are sent into the world to represent him and his teachings that have been validated by God. The Spirit is the one expression of divine indwelling that flows from the Risen Jesus as a source of eternal life. The instructions to go forth are given to the believing community rather than strictly to the Twelve.

The Fourth Gospel's author writes about disbelief as sin. The power of forgiveness is probably expressed in the bestowing of the Spirit on those who believe as a result of the disciples' mission and who join the community. It is less likely that the author is setting up a process of dealing with Christians who have committed sin. Coming to the light, coming to belief, is a main theme for the Fourth Evangelist. The passage with Thomas that follows illustrates his focus on belief.

Thomas represents many potential believers who demand some further clinical evidence. Before Thomas is summoned to become a believer, the risen Jesus offers him 'peace.' The peace that comes from Jesus has to embrace a special quality that brings people further into his kingdom. Once Thomas confesses, "My Lord and my God," a blessing is administered out to all future believers. Though Thomas is chastised because he does not believe the testimony of others, he proclaims the greatest Christological statement in the Gospels: the crucified/exalted Jesus is Lord and God. Faith becomes grounded in the present of the Lord through the Spirit.

For the Fourth Evangelist, the purpose of his Gospel is to have faith in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God as the source of eternal life. Luke describes the communal life of the first believers who taught others, broke bread with their neighbors and devoted themselves to prayer. Each day they lived with exultation and sincerity of heart and they enjoyed the favor of everyone.

My prayer for our community of believers today is that we can receive the peace that the same risen Jesus bestowed on his first friends. His peace removes fear, yet we still live in fear. We have not accepted the authority that has been given to us. Perhaps this Easter season, we can receive this peace and the power that comes with it. We might want to ask the risen Jesus about the dimensions of this peace. I might suspect that he wants us to live as freely and as boldly as Peter and John and his first witnesses. Through the power of Jesus, their boldness and joy brought many others to faith. I believe we can live as joyfully and as harmoniously as the community of faith Luke describes in the Acts of the Apostles. It is all at our fingertips just waiting for us to grasp and receive it.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: We continue with the Acts of the Apostles in the Easter octave. Peter and John return to their people after being released from the religious authorities. They prayed to the Lord about their ordeal and as they prayed, the whole house shook. The high priest with the Sadducees had the Apostles jailed but during the night the doors of the prison were opened by the Lord and the Apostles went back to the Temple to teach. As the Apostles were brought forth again during their arrest, they were reminded that they were forbidden to preach. Peter said on behalf of the Apostles that they are to obey God, not men. Gamaliel the Pharisee urged wisdom for the Sanhedrin declaring that if this is of God it cannot be stopped, but if it is of men it will certainly die out. The number of disciples grew. Hellenists complained to the Hebrews that their widows were being neglected. The Twelve decided it was right to select seven reputable men (deacons) to take care of the daily distribution while they continued with prayer and the ministry of the word. Meanwhile the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly. Even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

Gospel: In John, Nicodemus appeared to Jesus at night asking how one could be born again to which Jesus answered, "you must be born from above." As the discourse continues, the Evangelist proclaims, "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world might be saved through him." He explains that Jesus has come from above and speaks of the things that are from above. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. At a feast of the Passover, Jesus miraculously feeds the hungry crowds as a good shepherd would. He reminds the people that the actions in his earthly life were precursors of the meal that are to share. They are to eat his body and drink his blood. Jesus then departs to the other side of the sea. When a storm picks up, he walked on the turbulent waves and instructed them not to be afraid. He is with them. He has power over the natural and supernatural world.

Saints of the Week

Monday: Athanasius, bishop and doctor (295-373), was an Egyptian who attended the Nicene Council in 325. He wrote about Christ's divinity but this caused his exile by non-Christian emperors. He wrote a treatise on the Incarnation and brought monasticism to the West.

Tuesday: Philip and James, Apostles (first century), were present to Jesus throughout his entire ministry. Philip was named as being explicitly called. James is called the Lesser to distinguish him from James of Zebedee. Little is known of these founders of our faith.

Wednesday, Joseph Mary Rubio, S.J., priest (1864-1929), is a Jesuit known as the Apostle of Madrid. He worked with the poor bringing them the Spiritual Exercises and spiritual direction and he established local trade schools.  

This Week in Jesuit History

·         May 1, 1572. At Rome, Pope St. Pius V dies. His decree imposing Choir on the Society was cancelled by his successor, Gregory XIII.
·         May 2, 1706. The death of Jesuit brother G J Kamel. The camellia flower is named after him.
·         May 3, 1945. American troops take over Innsbruck, Austria. Theology studies at the Canisianum resume a few months later.
·         May 4, 1902. The death of Charles Sommervogel, historian of the Society and editor of the bibliography of all publications of the Jesuits from the beginnings of the Society onward.
·         May 5, 1782. At Coimbra, Sebastian Carvahlo, Marquis de Pombal, a cruel persecutor of the Society in Portugal, died in disgrace and exile. His body remained unburied fifty years, till Father Philip Delvaux performed the last rites in 1832.
·         May 6, 1816. Letter of John Adams to Thomas Jefferson mentioning the Jesuits. "If any congregation of men could merit eternal perdition on earth and in hell, it is the company of Loyola."
·         May 7, 1547. Letter of St. Ignatius to the scholastics at Coimbra on Religious Perfection.


Let us pray for the Neophytes (new members) of our church who were or will be received during the Easter Season.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Prayer: Elizabeth Johnson – Consider Jesus p. 126

We are united with God in Jesus by being in compassionate solidarity with those who suffer. If God is there, resisting evil and willing life wherever people are being damaged, then the followers of Jesus must enter into the same solidarity. Suffering people are the privileged place where the suffering of God is to be found.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Poem: The Deer’s Cry - Anonymous 8th Century

I arise today through the strength of heaven
Light of sun, radiance of moon
Splendor of fire, speed of lighting
Swiftness of wind, depth of the sea
Stability of earth, firmness of rock

 I arise today through God’s strength to pilot me
God’s eye to look before me
God’s wisdom to guide me
God’s way to lie before me
God’s shield to protect me

From all who shall wish me ill
Afar and a-near
Alone and in a multitude
Against every cruel, merciless power
That may oppose my body and soul

Christ with me, Christ before me
Christ behind me, Christ in me
Christ beneath me, Christ above me
Christ on my right, Christ on my left
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down
Christ when I arise, Christ to shield me
 Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me

 I arise today

Translated from old Irish by Kuno Meyer

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Poem: Hilary of Poitiers

Soon as the earliest light we see, we lift our souls, O Lord to thee;
to thee, sweet source of living light, in song and prayer our hearts unite.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Saturday morning reflection

Stillness hovers over Eastern Point Retreat House this Holy Saturday morning. The light drizzle keeps the retreatants indoors. The atmosphere is subdued but not somber. The water-saturated land can drink no more. The ocean rests. The waves cease. This is a liminal time - for waiting and for waiting for nothing. Lent is over and the Holy Week Services have begun. Upon waking this morning, I felt no reason to arise and no reason to stay in bed. I have lost my good friend and while life does not seem bleak, I feel a gaping hole in my day. I feel no compunction to do anything meaningful because many events seem devoid of meaning. I know it will change and yet I won't deny what is happening in the present.

I've worked hard in the lawn clearing out the tangled vines this Lent. I made great progress and the land is looking more beautiful. It is ripe with possibilities for enhanced beauty. I'm covered with scrapes and bruises and sore muscles but it is the activity I chose for one of my Lenten observances. I rushed to complete my work and as I moved closer to Easter I realized my work, like all work, remains unfinished. I am not the architect or the master gardener. Much of life remains unresolved, incomplete, and un-reconciled. It is a good way for me to spend this Holy Saturday.

I think of what we did together over the past year. We spent a time of great fun in Australia as we heard stories from other tertians across the world. Many beautiful people were brought into my life from Sydney, Melbourne, Clare, and Hervey Bay. We went to New Zealand (Aotearoa) together and had a sacred time just getting immersed into the lives of the people of Taranaki and Wellington. Upon my return Stateside, we settled into Eastern Point Retreat House to begin a privileged time of listening to stories of many good people who want to be closer to him. I marveled at all the people he entrusted to me. Through them, he made me a nicer and kinder man. He continually brought me out of myself so I could more faithfully do what he asked of me.

We spent a picturesque autumn season in New England and we endured a hard winter. Now, we await spring that doesn't quite seem to have arrived yet. Even though Easter is later in the calendar this year, it seems cooler than prior years. I've prayed the holy liturgy each day in his honor. I've buried loved ones and I've prayed with those who were or still are sick. We've held the sacred stories of many people who hold the weight of the world on their shoulders and we've encouraged them to give that heaviness over to him so that he can take it to the cross and bury it with him. I'm told him of my own heaviness that I somehow cannot quite give over to him.

I have tried to love my Jesuit brothers more fully. I can see many beautiful aspects of their lives. I can see that they are truly disciples of Jesus Christ. He radiates through them and gives them some amazing graces. He has been generous to them and they are generous to the church and their ministries. I am grateful to be their brother and I hope I do some of the good that they do. I realize that much of our work will remain unfinished because it is really his work to do and he is happy to have us as a part of it. I think of Ecclesiastes 3 when the preacher writes that we are to find happiness in the toils of our labors. Seek happiness. If we seek, we will find it. I'm sure of that which is why I try to choose to be happy each day. We are given by God as gifts to ourselves and we are to freely give ourselves to others.

I sense he is inviting me to spend the day thinking about what we did together throughout the last year. We are to recall together those times in which he was present to me regardless of whether they were filled with pain or happiness. I'd like him to re-member the events of my life and re-order them into a way that is life-giving and healing. I want to recall those times when he merely beheld me and told me that I am beautiful to him and I'd like to tell him again that I find him beautiful and that I'm grateful that he would choose to bother with me. Our best times together are when we reverentially behold each other and find wonder in one another. These times are sustaining. I'll try not to rush through the day.

Intellectually, I know that our steadfast, saving God will raise him from his death tomorrow. I know that. I believe it. I never will understand the Resurrection, but I know it happens. I feel something changed within me and as I mature I begin to look forward to the events of his Passion, Death, and Resurrection out of necessity. I know I will feel the consoling presence of Jesus Christ who will want to share with me the joy he feels in his great victory over sin and death. He will want me to join him in his joyful song and dance. I know my heart will be lighter, my heaviness gone, and that I will have a greater appreciation for all that is beautiful and meaningful. I will feel great assurance that he lives.

He will take care of his church and the people of God. It means I can be free from the anxieties that beset the church. If I trust in him and believe in him then I realize the limitations of my power and the power of others. I know he will take care of those many people who carry angst, anger, deep grief, or confusion  in their hearts. I know that he can provide meaning for them. Our task is both radically simple and extraordinarily difficult - we have to be open. We may have to let go of our strong will and our firmly held opinions in order to let another's perspective be heard. We are to be open to the growth that he desires for us. Know when it is time to embrace rather than cling tightly. Mary Magdalene had to learn that lesson right away when the Risen Lord tells her, "Do not cling to me." The time is right to give him a little bit of room to enter more fully into our lives.

Yesterday during the Good Friday Scriptures, we heard Christ say, "It is finished." Yes, his life had ended. However, it is not finished....

He is Risen! Alleluia!

Rest well, your blessed limbs

Rest well, your blessed limbs, now I will no longer mourn you, rest well and bring me also to peace! The grave that is allotted to you and encloses no further suffering, opens heaven for me and closes off Hell.

Ah, Lord, let your dear angle, at my final end, take my soul to Abraham's bosom. Let my body, in its sleeping chamber, without any anguish for pain, rest until the last day! At that day wake me from my death, so that these poor eyes may see you in all joy, O Son of God, my savior on the throne of grace! Lord Jesus Christ, hear me, I will praise you evermore!

St. John's Passion

Faith: both adventure and holding fast

Might it be possible, sometimes at least, to combine faith as adventure with faith as holding fast? The idea appears paradoxical, but a traditional Christian response combines the two: Hold fast to your companions and set out on the road. Companions faithful to one another, adventuring for the sake of others – this was Jesus’ hope for the band he called to travel with him. Through Galilee, Samaria, and Judea he was accompanied by women and men in whom he hoped to find both steadfastness and eagerness for the new.

Adrian Lyons, S.J. from Imagine Believing

Prayer: Augustine

We are Easter people and Alleluia is our song.

Let us sing "Alleluia" here and now in this life... so that we may sing it one day in the world to come, when we are set free.

How happy will our shout of "Alleluia" as we enter heaven, how carefree, how secure from any assault, where no enemy lurks and no friend dies.

Advance in virtue, in true faith, and in right conduct. Sing up!

Friday, April 22, 2011

O help

O help, Christ, Son of God, through your bitter Passion, that we, being always obedient to you, might shun all vice. Your death and its cause consider fruitfully, so that, although poor and weak, we might offer you thanksgiving.

St. John's Passion

Poem: "Prayer of a Soldier in France" by Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

My shoulders ache beneath my pack
(Lie easier, Cross, upon his back).
I march with feet that burn and smart
(Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).
Men shout at me who may not speak.
(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).
I may not lift a hand to clear
my eyes of salty drops that sear,
(Then hall my fickle soul forget
Thy agony of Bloody Sweat?)
My rifle hand is stiff and numb
(From Thy pierced palm red rivers come.)
Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
Than all the hosts of land and sea.
So let me render back again
This millionth of Thy gift. Amen.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My heart suffering

My heart while the entire world with Jesus' suffering likewise suffers; the sun drapes itself in mourning, the curtain is rent, the crag crumbles, the earth trembles, the graves split open, since they behold the Creator growing cold; how shall you react from your depths?

St. John's Passion

Prayer: Ambrose of Milan

When we find ourselves in some grave danger we must not lose courage but firmly trust in God, for where there is the greatest danger, there is also the greatest help from the One who wants to be called our ‘help’ in times of peace and in times of tribulation.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Precious Savior

My precious Savior, let me ask, now that you have been nailed to the Cross and have said yourself: It is finished, am I made free from death? Can I, through your pain and death inherit the kingdom of heaven? Has the redemption of the whole world arrived? You cannot say a single thing out of pain; yet your bow your head and say silently: yes.

Jesus, you were were dead, live now unendingly, in the last pangs of death I will turn nowhere else but to you, who has absolved me, O beloved Lord! Only give me what you earned, more I do not desire!

St. John's Passion

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday
April 24, 2011
Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3:1-4 (or 1 Cor. 5:6-8); John 20:1-9
He is Risen! Alleluia!

Waking up on Easter morning does not automatically bring about great joy for all Christians. We recognize that the resurrection is not a magical event brought about by God at midnight on Holy Saturday, but that news of the resurrection reaches the faithful ones at different times based on where one is with one's relationship with Jesus. For some people, Lent and sorrow continues. For others, the fullness of the mystery unfolds slowly. We hear about the differing ways the disciples came to experience that God raised Jesus from the dead.

Of all the disciples, Mary of Magdala gives us the first example of struggling to understand the resurrection. She is the first to the tomb and her faith is still in darkness. She saw the stone removed from the tomb and went to tell the others that the body of Jesus was taken, presumably by "The Jews." Though only her name is mentioned, she tells the disciples "we don't know where they put him." Presumably she was not alone. Mary was one of the women standing at the foot of the cross to witness the death of Jesus. She is a witness to the facts of the story, but also an illustration of a person who is in darkness (life without faith) and comes to the light (belief in Jesus and the power of the resurrection.) She has loved Jesus well during his earthly ministry.

After Mary tells the others, Peter runs to the tomb. Alongside him is the beloved disciple who arrives at the tomb first because of his exemplary love for Jesus. He delays entering the tomb and allows Peter to go in first. The beloved disciple's affirmation of faith is the climax of the visit. He is set in contrast to Peter who sees the burial cloths neatly arranged that indicates the body of Jesus was not stolen. Peter does not yet comprehend what had happened while the beloved disciple knew in his heart that Jesus was raised from the dead. Until Jesus' glorification, the disciples will not be able to remember and understand the significance of the events that just occurred. In the Fourth Gospel, Jesus' mission is completed only in his return to the Father and the glory he had "before the foundation of the world." The Spirit comes when Jesus has been glorified.

We encounter Mary Magdalene as afraid, Peter as perplexed, and the beloved disciple is able to perceive the truth of the resurrection events immediately. Everything will be understood in due time. We are to be patient and to embrace the feelings that we have now. It is in our struggling with our emotions that we can engage the assault on our reason as the disciples did. The resurrection becomes personally meaningful to us when we wrestle with the ways Jesus Christ continues to be present to us presently. Let's give him a little space each day to let us know that he remembers us and comes back to be with us. This man, Jesus, who was brutally and unjustly killed, did so in order that we will be brought closing to the heart of our saving God. As he appears to us, let us thank him for being faithful to his Father and for bringing our needs to God. He wants to continue his ministry of consoling us and sharing the joy of his victory over sin and death. It is indeed a happy day. God has saved us.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: We follow the Acts of the Apostles in the Easter octave. Peter stands up on Pentecost to proclaim to Jews in Jerusalem that Jesus of Nazareth who they put to death has been vindicated by God and raised to new life. When the Jews realize the significance of their actions, they petition Peter to be baptized in the name of Jesus. Peter and John heal the crippled man at "the Beautiful Gate" at the temple. All who witnessed it recognized that the man used to be the crippled beggar. Peter and John preach to the Jews gathered at Solomon's portico and tell them all that the prophets and scripture say about Jesus. The priests, temple guards, and the Sadducees confront Peter and John and hold them in custody. The religious authorities question their teaching and healing power. The Sanhedrin dismissed them with instructions not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter, John, and the healed man persevere in their boldness. The Sanhedrin wait to see if this is of God or of another source of power.

Gospel: In Matthew, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary meet Jesus on the way and he exhorts them not to be afraid. The chief priests hire soldiers to say, "the disciples came and stole the body of Jesus." In John, Magdalene weeps outside the tomb and thinks Jesus is the gardener, until he speaks to her familiarly. In Luke, two disciples heading towards Emmaus meet Jesus along the way and he opens the scripture for them. As they recount their story to the Eleven, Jesus appears before them, beckons them not to be afraid, and eats with them. In John, six disciples are with Peter as they fish at the Sea of Tiberius. After a frustrating night of fishing, Jesus instructs them to cast their nets wide and they catch 153 large fish. The beloved disciple recognized the man on the beach as the Lord and they rush to meet him. In Mark, Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene who told the Eleven about him. Two other disciples on the road returned to speak of their encounter, and then Jesus appears to them while they were at table.

Saints of the Week

No saints are remembered during the Easter octave.

This Week in Jesuit History

·         Apr 24, 1589. At Bordeaux, the Society was ordered to leave the city. It had been falsely accused of favoring the faction which was opposed to King Henry III.
·         Apr 25, 1915. Pierre Rousselot, Professor at the Institute Catholique in Paris, is wounded and taken prisoner during World War I.
·         Apr 26, 1935. Lumen Vitae, center for catechetics and religious formation was founded in Brussels.
·         Apr 27, 1880. On the occasion of the visit of Jules Ferry, French minister of education, to Amiens, France, shouts were raised under the Jesuit College windows: "Les Jesuites a la guillotine."
·         Apr 28, 1542. St Ignatius sent Pedro Ribadeneira, aged fifteen, from Rome to Paris for his studies. Pedro had been admitted into the Society in l539 or l540.
·         Apr 29, 1933. Thomas Ewing Sherman died in New Orleans. An orator on the mission band, he was the son of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. He suffered a breakdown, and wanted to leave the Society, but was refused because of his ill health. Before his death he renewed his vows in the Society.
·         Apr 30, 1585. The landing at Osaka of Fr. Gaspar Coelho. At first the Emperor was favorably disposed towards Christianity. This changed later because of Christianity's attitude toward polygamy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It is finished!

It is finished! O comfort for the ailing soul! The night of sorrow now measures out its last hour. The hero of Judah conquers with might and concludes the battle. It is finished!

St. John's Passion

He took good care

He took good care of everything in the last hour, still thinking of his mother; he provided a guardian for her. O humankind, lead a righteous life, love God and humanity, die without any sorrow, and do not be troubled!

St. John's Passion

Prayer: Sebastian

The devil strains every nerve to secure the souls which belong to Christ. We should not grudge our toil in wresting them from Satan and giving them back to God.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Second Vatican Council: The Mystery of Death

In the face of death the enigma of human existence reaches its climax. Man is not only the victim of pain and the progressive deterioration of his body; he is also, and more deeply, tormented by the fear of his final extinction. But the instinctive  judgment of his heart is right when he shrinks from, and rejects, the idea of a total collapse and definitive end of his own person. He carries within him the seed of eternity, which cannot be reduced to matter alone, and so he rebels against death. All efforts of technology, however useful they may be, cannot calm his anxieties; the biological extension of his life-span cannot satisfy the desire inescapably present in his heart for a life beyond this life.

Imagination is completely helpless when confronted with death. Yet the Church, instructed by divine revelation, affirms tha man has been created by God for a destiny of happiness beyond the reach of earthly trials. Moreover, the Christian faith teaches that bodily death, to which man would not have been subject if he had not sinned, will be conquered; the almight and merciful Savior will restore man to the wholeness that he had lost through his own fault. God has called man, and still calls him, to be united in his whole being in perpetual communion with himself in the imortality of the divine life. This victory has been gained for us by the risen Christ, who by his own death has freed man from death.

Faith, presented with solid arguments, offeres every thinking person the answer to his questionings concerning his future destiny. At the same time, it enables him to be one in Christ with his loved ones who have been taken from him by death and gives him hope that they have entered into true life with God.

Certainly, the Christian is faced with the necessity, and the duty, of fighting against evil through many trials, and of undergoind death. But by entering into the paschal mystery and being made like Christ in death, he will look forward, strong in hope, to the resurrection.

This is true not only of Christians but also of all men of good will in whose heart grace is invisibly at work. Since Christ died for all men, and the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, that is, a divine vocation, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being united with this paschal mysterry in a way known only to God.

Such is the great mystery of man, enlightening believers through the Christian revelation. Through Christ and in Christ light is thrown on the enigma of pain and death which overwhelms us without his Gospel to teach us. Christ has risen, destroying death by his own death; he has given us the free gift of life so that as sons in the Son we may cry out in the Spirit, saying: Abba, Father!

The documents of the Second Vatican Council were not written with inclusive language.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Poem: Paul Revere's Ride by Longfellow

Patriot's Day is celebrated on April 18th to commemorate the start of the war for American Independence.

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,                    
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,–
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,–
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse’s side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry’s height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer’s dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.

Paul Revere's Ride

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,—
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,—
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere set out on his now famous ride from Boston, Massachusetts to Concord, Massachusetts. Revere was asked to make the journey by Dr. Joseph Warren of the Sons of Liberty, one of the first formal organizations of patriotic colonists. The purpose was to give warning to Samuel Adams, John Hancock (who were also members of the Sons of Liberty) and the other colonists that the British were preparing to march on Lexington.

Revere was taken by boat across the Charles River to Charleston, where he then borrowed a horse from a friend, Deacon John Larkin. Revere and a fellow patriot, Robert Newman, had previously arranged for signals to be given (lanterns in the tower of the North Church) so Revere would know how the British had begun their attack. This is where the famous phrase "one if by land, two if by sea" originated. While in Charleston, Revere and the Sons of Liberty saw that two lanterns had been hung in the North Church tower, indicating the British movement. Revere then left for Lexington.

On his way to Lexington, Revere stopped at each house to spread the word that the British troops would soon be arriving. Sometime around midnight, Revere arrived at the house of Reverend Jonas Clark, where Hancock and Adams were staying, and gave them his message. Soon after Revere’s message was delivered, another horseman sent on a different route by Dr. Warren, William Dawes, arrived. Revere and Dawes decided that they would continue on to Concord, Massachusetts, where the local militia had stockpiled weapons and other supplies for battle. Dr. Samuel Prescott, a third rider, joined Revere and Dawes.

On their way to Concord, the three were arrested by a patrol of British officers. Prescott and Dawes escaped almost immediately, but Revere was held and questioned at gunpoint. He was released after being taken to Lexington. Revere then went to the aid of Hancock and Adams, whom he helped escape the coming seige. He then went to a tavern with another man, Mr. Lowell, to retrieve a trunk of documents belonging to Hancock. At 5:00 a.m., as Revere and his associate emerged from the tavern, they saw the approaching British troops and heard the first shot of the battle fired on the Lexington Green. This gunshot of unknown origin, which caused the British troops to fire on the colonists, is known as "the shot heard round the world."

Many believe Longfellow’s account of the Midnight Ride is inaccurate because he portrays Revere as a lone rider alerting the colonists. Longfellow also fails to mention that Revere was captured by British soldiers before he reached Concord. However, the literary creation of a folk hero named Paul Revere was inspiring to many, and the poem still reminds people of all ages what it means to be a patriot.

The Bottom of my Heart

In the bottom of my heart your name and cross alone sparkles at all times and hours, for which I can be joyful. Shine forth for me in that image as comfort in my need, how you, Lord Christ, so gently bled to death.

Prayer: Bonaventure

Prayer is, therefore, the source and origin of every upward journey toward God. Let us each, then, turn to prayer and say to our Lord God: ‘Lead me, O Lord, on your path, that I may walk in your truth.’”

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hurry, you tempted souls

Hurry, you tempted souls, come out of your caves of torment, hurry -- where? -- to Golgotha! Take up the wings of faith, fly -- where? -- to the Hill of the Cross, your salvation blooms there!

Const.: GC 34, Decree 4: “Our Mission and Culture”, par. 11

Particularly at the present time, when the sensitive quality of so many indigenous cultures is threatened by powerful, but less benign, pressures, we want to recover a reverence for culture as exemplified by the best of our predecessors. Throughout the world, Jesuits are working with great numbers of ethnic groups, tribes and countries with traditional cultures. Theirs is a wonderful patrimony of culture, religion and ancient wisdom that has moulded their people’s identities. These peoples are now struggling to affirm their cultural identity by incorporating elements of modern and global culture. We must do what we can to keep this relation between traditional cultures and modernity from becoming an imposition and try to make it a genuine intercultural dialogue. This would be a sign of liberation for both sides. Our intuition is that the Gospel resonates with what is good in each culture.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Through your Prison

Through your prison, Son of God, must freedom come to us; your cell is the throne of grace, the sanctuary of all the righteous; for it you had not undergone servitude, our slavery would have been eternal.

Prayer: A Simple Prayer

Dear Lord:

Thank you.

I'm sorry.

I love you.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Contemplate, my soul

Contemplate, my soul, with anxious pleasure, with bitter joy and half-constricted heart, your highest good in Jesus' suffering, how for you, out of the thorns that pierce him, the tiny 'keys of Heaven' bloom! You can pluck much sweet fruit from his wormwood; therefore gaze without pause upon him!

Consider, how his blood-stained back in every aspect is like heaven, in which, after the watery deluge was released upon our flood of sins, the most beautiful rainbow as God's sign of grace was placed!

St. John's Passion

Prayer: Cyprian of Carthage

If he who was without sin prayed, how much more ought sinners to pray?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ah, Great King

Ah, great King, great for all times, how can I fitly sing your praises? No mortal heart can ever hope to show its debt and gratitude to you.

I cannot grasp with my mind, how to imitate your mercy. How can I then repay your deeds of love with my actions?

St. John's Passion

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday
April 17, 2011
Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66

 Year after year we hear the Passion of the Lord proclaimed to us on Palm Sunday and again on Good Friday. The story is worth hearing repeatedly because we hear a different detail each time. It is good to pay attention to the small details because something larger is communicated. In this cycle, we get Matthew's version of the Passion and he has included finer details than Mark's original story. His Jewish-Christian audience want to hear of the cosmic details Matthew inserts, like the earthquakes, the angels, and the Temple's torn veil. Dramatic events punctuate Matthew's story to signify God's involvement.

The story opens with Judas' agreement to betray Jesus, which is set up in contrast to the woman's loyal love at Bethany when she excessively anointed the feet of Jesus. Jesus is in charge of the details in Matthew's story and the loyal disciples obediently follow his command. The meal as a whole is presented as a reinterpreted Passover supper. He stresses the covenant that links all of salvation history to this moment. In the Garden of Gethsemane, God has tested his Son to see what was in his heart. Matthew's climax in the story is the arrest of Jesus for it is the hour of his tragic destiny. The Pharisees, who were a constant source of irritation for Jesus, are exonerated from his death. The temple authorities and the Romans bear the responsibility. At the arrest, a disciples cuts off the earlobe of the high priest's servant. This was not a casual incident, but highly symbolic. The servant was a high ranking official and was the representative of the high priest. A mutilated ear disqualifies one in Jewish law from serving as high priest. Thus the one who arrested Jesus, God's emissary, was spiritually bankrupt and unfit for office. Jesus is then brought before the Sanhedrin.

Peter is last mentioned in Matthew at the point of his betrayal. The death of Judas is fulfilled by linking him with the historical "field of blood." It is the last of the fulfillment citations. Jesus appears before Pilate in a formal juridical Roman trial and he halfway confirms Pilate's question, but if no one brings a specific charge, no trial can be conducted. In the customary amnesty, a prisoner at Passover is released. Barsabbas (son of the father) is released as a contrast to Jesus. A contrast is set up between Pilate's claim to be innocent and the priests, lay elders, and crowds claim to be responsible for his death, but Pilate remains ultimately responsible by handing him over to the cross.

The soldiers mock Jesus as king as a gesture of momentary moral chaos associated with Roman saturnalia festivals. Jesus goes to his death with a humiliating, inglorious excruciating death as he is derided by passers-by, the authorities, and robbers. His death is bitter, not mythic. Even the devil is brought in to deride Jesus. "If you are the Son of God," elevates the theological level of the derision. At his death, Jesus feels abandoned, not despair. For Matthew, Jesus voluntarily went to his death, however ignoble. The burial of Jesus is dignified to underline the reality of death and guards are placed around the tomb to secure it by the legitimate, responsible authorities.

I suggest that you reflect upon the way you will listen to the story proclaimed this week. There's a lot in the story so I further suggest that you give voice to your emotions as you hear it proclaimed. If you still have energy, pay great attention to the emotions of Jesus. When we do that, we naturally want to console him. This is a good instinct. Just be present to him as he relives his last moments on earth. Comfort him if you can.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

 Monday of Holy Week: We hear from Isaiah 42 in the First Oracle of the Servant of the Lord in which God’s servant will suffer silently, but will bring justice to the world. In the Gospel, Lazarus’ sister, Mary, anoints Jesus’ feet with costly oil in preparation for his funeral.

Tuesday of Holy Week: In the Second Oracle of the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 49), he cries out that I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth. In deep hurt, distress and grief, Jesus tells his closest friends at supper that one of them will betray him and another will deny him three times before the cock crows.

(Spy) Wednesday of Holy Week: In the Third Oracle of the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 50), the suffering servant does not turn away from the ridicule and torture of his persecutors and tormentors. The time has come.
Matthew’s account shows Judas eating during the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread with Jesus and their good friends after he had already arranged to hand him over to the chief priests for thirty pieces of silver. The Son of Man will be handed over by Judas, one of the Twelve, who sets the terms of Jesus’ arrest.

Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday: Only an evening Mass can be said today and we let our bells ring freely during the Gloria that has been absent all Lent. In Exodus, we hear the laws and customs about eating the Passover meal prior to God’s deliverance of the people through Moses from the Egyptians. Paul tells us of the custom by early Christians that as often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. In John’s Gospel, Jesus loves us to the end giving us a mandate to wash one another’s feet.

Good Friday: No Mass is celebrated today though there may be a service of veneration of the cross and a Stations of the Cross service. In Isaiah, we hear the Fourth Oracle of the Servant of the Lord who was wounded for our sins. In Hebrews, we are told that Jesus learned obedience through his faith and thus became the source of salvation for all. The Passion of our Lord is proclaimed from John’s Gospel.

Holy Saturday and the Easter Vigil: No Mass, baptisms, or confirmations can be celebrated before the Vigil to honor the Lord who has been buried in the tomb. The Old Testament readings point to God’s vision of the world and the deliverance of the people from sin and death. All of Scripture points to the coming of the Righteous One who will bring about salvation for all. The Old Testament is relished during the Vigil of the Word as God’s story of salvation is told to us again. The New Testament epistle from Romans tells us that Christ, who was raised from the dead, dies no more. Matthew's Gospel finds Mary Magdalene and the other Mary at dawn arriving at the tomb only to find it empty. After a great earthquake that made the guards tremble, and angel appears telling the women, "Do not be afraid." The angel instructs them to go to the Twelve to tell them, "Jesus has been raised from the dead, and is going before you to Galilee."

 Saints of the Week

No saints are remembered on the calendar during this solemn week of our Lord's Passion.

This Week in Jesuit History

·         Apr 17, 1540. The arrival in Lisbon of St Francis Xavier and Fr. Simon Rodriguez. Both were destined for India, but the latter was retained in Portugal by the King.
·         Apr 18, 1906. At Rome, the death of Rev Fr. Luis Martin, twenty-fourth General of the Society. Pope Pius X spoke of him as a saint, a martyr, a man of extraordinary ability and prudence.
·         Apr 19, 1602. At Tyburn, Ven. James Ducket, a layman, suffered death for publishing a work written by Robert Southwell.
·         Apr 20, 1864. Father Peter de Smet left St Louis to evangelize the Sioux Indians.
·         Apr 21, 1926. Fr. General Ledochowski sent out a letter De Usu Machinae Photographicae. It stated that cameras should belong to the house, not the individual. Further, they should not be used for recreation or time spent on trifles rather than for the greater glory of God.
·         Apr 22, 1541. Ignatius and his first companions made their solemn profession of vows in the basilica of St Paul Outside-the-Walls.
·         Apr 23, 1644. A General Chapter of the Benedictines condemned the calumny that St Ignatius was not the real author of the Spiritual Exercises. A monk had earlier claimed that the matter was borrowed from a work by Garzia Cisneros.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Where will you Flee?

Alas, my mind, where will you flee at last, where shall I find refreshment? Should I stay here, or do I desire mountain and hill at my back? In all the world there is not counsel, and in my heart remains the pain of my misdeed, since the servant has denied the Lord.

Peter, while his conscience slept, thrice denied his Savior; when it woke we wept bitterly at his base behavior; Jesus never let me forget, true devotion teach me; when on evil I am set, through my conscience reach me.

Christ, through whom we all are blest, knew no evil doing. For us he was taken in the night like a thief, led before the godless throng and falsely accused, scorned, shamed, and spat upon, as the Scripture says.

St. John's Passion

Prayer: Victor Hugo

Have courage for the great sorrows of life, and patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Who Struck You?

Who has struck you thus, my Savior, and with torments so evilly used you? You are not at all a sinner like us and our children. You are free from wrongdoing.

I, I and my sins, that can be found like the grains of sand by the sea, these have brought you this misery that assails you, and this tormenting martyrdom.

St. John's Passion

Prayer: John of God

If we share with the poor, out of love for God, whatever God has given to us, we shall receive according to God’s promise a hundredfold in eternal happiness. What a fine profit, what a blessed reward.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Song: Who am I? by the Casting Crowns

"Who am I?" is a song by the Casting Crowns that speaks of our relationship with Christ. It can be played by clicking the link below:

Who am I? on Youtube.

Prayer: Prayer for Reconciliation

God of compassion, You sent Jesus to proclaim a time of mercy reaching out to those who had no voice, releasing those trapped by their own shame, and welcoming those scorned by society. Make us abassadors of reconciliation. Open our ears that we may listen with respect and understanding. Touch our lips that we may speak your words of peace and forgiveness. Warm our hearts that we may bring wholeness to the broken-hearted and dissolve the barriers of division. Guide the work of your church and renew us with the Spirit of your love. Help us and all people shape a world where all will have a place, where the flames of hatred are quenched, and where all can grow together as one. Forgive, restore and strengthen us through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Knots of my Sins

To untie me from the knots of my sins, my Savior is bound. To completely heal me of all blasphemous sores, he allows himself to be wounded.

I follow you likewise with happy steps and do not leave you, my life, my light. Pursue your journey and do not stop, but let me be near thee to solace and cheer thee.

St. John's Passion

Prayer: Ambrose of Milan

A blessed life may be defined as consisting simply and solely in the possession of goodness and truth.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thy Will

Thy will, O Lord our God, be done on earth as round thy heavenly throne. Thy patience, Lord, on us bestow, that we obey in weal and woe. Stay thou the hand and spoil the skill of them that work against thy will.

St. John's Passion

Prayer: Paul Tillich

Our time is a time of waiting; waiting is its special destiny. And every time is a time of waiting, waiting for the breaking in of eternity. All time runs forward. All time, both history and in personal life, is expectation. Time itself is waiting, waiting not for another time, but for that which is eternal.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Prayer: Rose Philippine Duchesne

Learn to let others do their share of the work. Things may be done less well, but you will have more peace of soul and health of body. And what temporal interest should we not sacrifice in order to gain these blessings?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Prayer: Titus Brandsma

They who want to win the world for Christ must have the courage to come into conflict with it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Reconciling Christ

Fifth Sunday in Lent

April 10, 2011
Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:8-11; John 11:1-45

The raising of Lazarus is an important transitional passage in John's Gospel because Jesus ends his public ministry through his greatest miracle, that is, raising a man from the dead, and by doing so receives death himself. The gift of life Jesus brings to humanity ironically leads to the decisive act of unbelief by religious leaders. They formally decide that Jesus must "die for the people." Throughout the gospel, Jesus has become the fulfillment of each major Jewish feast. Last week, he become the "light" of the world; today he becomes the "life" of the world. He demonstrates that the Father has given power over life and death to the Son.

Jesus makes the point of waiting to see Lazarus so no claims could be made that he was still alive, but dormant. Lazarus died and his body decayed. His soul would have left his body in the duration. Mary and Martha and their friends mourned his death. Jesus delayed in order to make "the glory of God" manifest so that the Son will be glorified. Jesus is "glad" because the sign will provide an occasion for the disciples to believe. As Jesus goes to Judea to see Lazarus, he knows his is going to his own death.

On the way, Martha runs out to see Jesus. After being angry with him, Jesus tells her that her brother will rise and she asserts her belief in the resurrection of the dead at the end times. Jesus declares that he is the resurrection and the life and Martha exclaims, "You are the Messiah, the one coming into the world." Martha's sister Mary comes to see Jesus. Jesus shows his love for the two sisters and for Lazarus. He weeps and then proceeds to raise Lazarus. The crowds witness that the Father has given Jesus the power over "life." All who believed will now wait for the hour that is coming when all in the tombs will hear the voice of Jesus and will come forth to him. Resurrection is available to all who believe in Jesus and follow his teachings.

This event hardened the hearts of the Pharisees and religious authorities from Jerusalem. It raised tremendously dangerous questions about the hotly-debated ideas of resurrection, resuscitation, and the source of this power. They witnessed no other event as tumultuous as this one and it rattled their assumptions of faith. They needed to end this controversy. When we experience the unimaginable, we have the capacity to push God away from us.

Today, people struggle with this passage in prayer. Often they find themselves in a place of death like Lazarus and they feel too uncomfortable with their own mortality. They are bound in layers upon layers of restrictive bonds that can only be removed from one who is more powerful on the outside. It is easy to identify with Lazarus, but it is less easy for one to move towards the One who brings life. As much as we may want it, we have no strength to get past the structures that snuff life out of us.

We have to turn to Jesus Christ who can bring us that life, and it is not easy to do because we focus on all the stuff that weighs us down and the pain we feel. It is during a time like this that we realize the formidable strength of our will. It is all we have and we don't give it up easily. We also fear what the unknown future will bring. It only gets easier when we let ourselves be powerless so we can experience the strength that comes from Jesus. He alone gives us life and bring us to a place that sustains and nourishes us. He is the one who will unwrap us. We can't do it ourselves. He is the one who can liberate us to a new mode of being with him. We all want it. Let's cooperate with his desires by giving up our very own. Just as he loved Lazarus and wept for him, he does the same for each of us.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: In Daniel, we hear the riveting story about Susanna's unjust condemnation. She stands innocent before the prejudiced-stacked trial and declares, "Here I am about to die, though I have done none of the things charged against me." It sets up Jesus as the innocent victim who went to his death. In Numbers, the despairing nomads face death from saraph serpents. The Lord tells Moses to make a saraph and lift it up on a pole. Anyone who looks upon it after being bitten will live. The theme of "lifting up" in order to save is introduced. In Daniel, the Lord sends his angel to deliver his servants, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the consuming fire. This is a saving God. In Genesis, Abram is renamed Abraham, which means "father of many nations." The covenant is set with Abraham and his descendants. In Jeremiah, the Lord God is with the Suffering Servant - even in the darkest of hours. The Lord is a mighty hero. In Ezekiel, the Lord promises to take the children of Israel from among the nations and make them into one people. They shall never be divided again.  

Gospel: Jesus symbolically acts as God when he writes in the sand when the woman condemned in adultery is brought before him for judgment. He grants her mercy. As he prepares for his death, Jesus tells the Pharisees that when he is lifted up, they will realize that he is God. Through his death, God will make people free. The works of Jesus testify to the truth that he is God. While the Pharisees invoke memories of Abraham, Jesus tells them that Abraham rejoiced to see the day of Jesus come again. The Jews picked up rocks to stone him. They wanted to arrest him, but he eluded them. Many people who witnessed the raising of Lazarus began to come to Jesus. He was gathering into one the dispersed children of God. The Passover was near and many were going up to Jerusalem. They waited to see if Jesus would come.

Saints of the Week

Monday - Stanislaus, bishop and martyr (1030-1079), was a priest at the cathedral in Krakow, Poland. He was a noted preacher and a concerned pastor for the poor. Shortly after he was appointed bishop, King Boleslaus II disagreed with him on policies and eventually killed him during Mass. The king fled to Hungary where he lived as a penitent in a Benedictine abbey.

Wednesday - Martin I, pope and martyr (d. 655), was an Italian deacon who was sent to Constantinople as the Pope's delegate. He was elevated to pope after Theodore I. He opposed the heresy that stated Christ only had a divine will and no human will. The emperor Constans II believed in the heresy and arrested Martin and threw him into exile in Constantinople. He was stripped on honors, lived in misery, condemned to death, and because the last pope to be venerated for martyrdom.

This Week in Jesuit History

·         Apr 10, 1585. At Rome, the death of Pope Gregory XIII, founder of the Gregorian University and the German College, whose memory will ever be cherished as that of one of the Society's greatest benefactors.
·         Apr 11, 1573. Pope Gregory XIII suggested to the Fathers who were assembling for the Third General Congregation that it might be well for them to choose a General of some nationality other than Spanish. Later he expressed his satisfaction that they had elected Everard Mercurian, a Belgian.
·         Apr 12, 1671. Francis Borgia, the 3rd general of the Society, was canonized by Pope Clement X.
·         Apr 13, 1541. Ignatius was elected general in a second election, after having declined the results of the first election several days earlier.
·         Apr 14, 1618. The father of John Berchmans is ordained a priest. John himself was still a novice.
·         Apr 15, 1610. The death of Fr. Robert Parsons, the most active and indefatigable of all the leaders of the English Catholics during the reign of Elizabeth I.
·         Apr 16, 1767. Pope Clement XIII wrote to Charles III of Spain imploring him to cancel the decree of expulsion of the Society from Spain, issued on April 2nd. The Pope's letter nobly defends the innocence of the Society.

Lenten Scrutinies

Candidates and catechumen who have been preparing this past year for their sacraments during the Easter season will be scrutinized by their church and their community of faith. This third and last scrutiny is conducted this week.

In Cycle A, the third scrutiny is from John 11: Raising Lazarus from the dead.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Prayer: Meister Eckhart

To be full of things is to be empty of God. To be empty of things is to be full of God.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Poem: I Hear Spring Breathing

I hear Spring breathing softly,
her quiet respiration
rising and falling
through the heavy snow banks
as they gurgle in the sunshine.

I hear the slow, steady intake
of mid-February air
stirring the awakening crocuses.

I hear the sigh
of the oak tree’s terminal buds,
warm wind stretching them out
beneath the turquoise sky.

I hear my own lungs
inhaling and exhaling
with renewed hope,
ready for the coming
of green and the shedding
of all that is grayed
with winter's feigned death.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Second Scrutiny

Ezekiel 36:23-26

I will prove my holiness through you. I will gather you from the ends of the earth; I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins. I will give a new spirit within you, says the Lord.

Ritual Prayer:

Almighty and eternal God, may your church increase in true joy. May these candidates for baptism, and all your family, be reborn into the life of your kingdom. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Const.: GC 34, Decree 4: “Our Mission and Culture”, par. 10

This institution is what has led Jesuits to adopt such a positive approach to the religions and cultures in which they work. The early Jesuits, in their schools, linked Christian catechesis to an education in classical humanism, art and theatre, in order to make their students versed both in faith and in European culture. It is also what prompted Jesuits outside Europe to express a profound respect for indigenous cultures and to compose dictionaries and grammars of local languages, and pioneering studies of the people among whom they worked and whom they tried to understand.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Prayer: Ignatius of Loyola

For any individual person the best is where God our Lord communicates himself through a manifestation of his holy graces and spiritual gifts. For he sees and knows what is best for the person and, knowing all things, points out to him the way. To discover this way it is useful for us, with the help of his grace, to seek out and try a number of ways so as to tread the one made clearest to us, as the happiest and most blessed in this life and wholly directed and ordered to the other everlasting life - whereby we are encompassed and made one with these most holy gifts.

Friday, April 1, 2011

G. C. 32, 11: Jesuits Today

What is it to be a Jesuit? It is to know that one is a sinner, yet called to be a companion of Jesus as Ignatius was: Ignatius, who begged the Blessed Virgin to "place him with her Son," and who then saw the Father himself ask Jesus, carrying his Cross, to take this pilgrim into his company.