Tuesday, May 26, 2015
As the academic year ends...
Before we break…
This is the time to reflect upon our year as we look forward to the summer break. In an Ignatian way, we look back and savor so we can move forward – with courage and energy ever onwards and upwards.
A most important question to ask is, “Where was God in _____ moments of my year?” It is a very different question than, “Where did I find God in these moments of my year?” Simply put, we learn more about God when we give the remote control over to God who then has the freedom to reveal something that we might overlook. The best daily Examen question we can ever ask is, “Where are you God now for me?”
We strive for mutuality in our Examen as we realize the inherent power imbalance between Creator and the Created, but we trust that God wants the very best for us. When we give the remote control over to God, we rightly allow God to be placed in the proper role – as the merciful one who strives for our happiness. When we hold onto the clicker, we say, “I’ll be the judge and I’ll determine who is good and bad and what is right and wrong.” The problem is that we put ourselves in the role of God and we often judge ourselves much too harshly. It is far better for God to gaze upon us and to reveal how God feels about us because God will simply be astonished at who we are and who God has created. It is like parents who look upon their newborn and see the beautiful masterpiece they hold lovingly in their arms.
The Examen allows us to be gentle upon ourselves as we are a people who are striving to do the right and the just.
Therefore, be gentle upon yourselves these past few weeks. With the rush to get the end-of-year activities completed, keep yourselves open to the unexpected graces God and others want to offer you. Some will want to thank you for the presence you are to them. Some will want you to know that a word you spoke gave them hope to persevere. Some will want to approach with the hopes of building a better relationship or reconciling a past event. Some will miss you during the summer vacation and will try to communicate that to you. We are gifts to one another, but we have to receive each other as gift so we can truly appreciate it.
Give primacy to the relationships around you. The paperwork will get done. Experience the joy of being a gift to each other. Receive each other well and honor each other with a reverential silence. Words will not express…
Yes, do look back. Ask God to reveal God’s presence to you. Savor the richness, hold onto the memories that give you life, look forward to future promises of relationship. Then, we can go onwards and upwards knowing that your community of faith stands in solidarity with you.
Some regard Pentecost as the conclusion of the festive 50-day long Easter season. That it is, and more significantly it is the beginning of life in the spirit – a season without end. The sending forth of the Spirit continues the Risen Lord’s work of consolation to all believers. The gifts brought by the Spirit are: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I often like looking around the work environment to witness who has received the Spirit and who is need of being touched by this consoling presence. We participate is some way in the ministry of Jesus when we take away fear, give peace, and share the Gospel. Like the first Christians, we experience how Jesus fills our world.
Ignatius describes how love communicates. The Suscipe (Take and Receive) is our response to a God who loves us so much that God wants to share everything as a gift. We naturally want to share with God just as God shares with us. Lovers share. Lovers do not take, leaving the other bereft.
Communicating is an act of love.
Ignatius suggests that what we first offer to share is our liberty, which leads to the generosity of a great-souled person. By offering our liberty, we communicate with God about our desire to be one with God in the divine will. The true gift is in the communicating, the very action whereby the potential which is ours is actualized in the sharing. A gift is not actualized until it is shared, and by sharing, we make ourselves available to God.
We want to say what we share belongs to the one we love as much as it belongs to us. In our relationship with God, we confess that everything we have, God has given to us and we entrust everything to God in return. From the depths of our heart, we cry out that God’s love and grace are enough for us.