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Monday, November 30, 2015

Poem: "An Advent Prayer" by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Lord Jesus,

Master of both the light and the darkness,

Send your Holy Spirit 

upon our preparations for Christmas.

We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces 

to hear your voice each day.

We who are anxious over many things look forward 

to your coming among us.

We who are blessed in so many ways long for 

the complete joy of your kingdom.

We whose hearts are heavy 

seek the joy of your presence.

We are your people, walking in darkness, 

yet seeking light.

To you we say, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Prayer: Teresa of Avila

Majestic King, forever wise,
You melt my heart, which once was cold,
And when your beauty fills my eyes,
It makes them young, which once were old.

Christ, my creator, hear my cry,
I am all yours, your call I hear,
My Savior, Lover, yours I am,
My heart to yours be ever near.

Whether in life or death’s last hour,
If sickness, pain, or health you give,
Or shame or honor, weakness, power,
Thankful is the life I live.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Prayer: Cardinal Joseph Bernardin

Active waiting for the Lord means not allowing ourselves to be lulled into purely private interests in our homes and apartments, but donating our attention, time, and talents. It implies sharing our strengths and accepting our weaknesses in our parishes, schools, community work, and in society at large.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Prayer: Iona Community Book

O God, you keep us waiting for the right time in which to discover who we are, where we must go, who will be with us, and what we must do. And in all this, you keep us. Through hard questions with no easy answers; through failing where we hoped to succeed and making an impact when we felt we were useless; through the patience and the dreams and the love of others, you keep us. Thank you for the keeping time, now and forever.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Prayer: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.

I thank you, my God, for having in a thousand different ways led my eyes to discover the immense simplicity of things. Through you, I have been brought to the point where I can no longer see anything nor any longer breathe, outside the milieus in which all is made One.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

First Sunday of Advent 2015

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

First Sunday of Advent
November 29, 2015
Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2; Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

            A quick viewing of the nightly news will tell us the Luke’s Gospel is indeed accurate. There will be warning signs in the heavens and nations will be in dismay. National leaders have claimed that we are in a sort of World War III and the target of the rebels is humanity. People will die in fright for the state of their world. It is not a surprise that this week Pope Francis said, “Christmas is approaching: there will be lights, parties, Christmas trees, and nativity scenes… It is all a charade. The world continues to go to war. The world has not chosen a peaceful path. There are wars everywhere, and hate.”

            While the world is in a dark state, we are called to deeper trust in the Lord who will keep us from tribulations of the day. We need to trust in the Lord’s power to win out over the dark forces. Therefore, we are asked to stay vigilant and notice all the tiny works of good that are being done. We are to raise our heads and understand that these events signal the presence of the Lord. We keep our senses alert to keep ourselves falling into a state of apathy, carelessness, or swept up in the anxieties of daily life.

            As Advent is about hopeful waiting, we have notice how we deal with time in those tiny life instances when we do not take time to think. Give yourself time. Pause. Count silently for three seconds before your speak or do something. You might surprise yourself at the positive way you feel about your choices and interactions when you give yourself sufficient time not to insert yourself into a conversation.

            For instance, do you really need to give your opinion at every opportunity? I used to think that I would be validated and confirmed if I offered my opinion, but then I discovered that I was heard better if I listened well and did not react verbally. The less I speak, the more I am heard. Once I learned that if I pause for three seconds, my urge to speak passed, and I listened better. Even if I did not agree with the other person, I knew I lost my desire to rebut the other person and put forward my opinion, even if they were clearly wrong. I chose better places to devote my time. The foolish speak quickly and often; the wise are more patient. From what I hear in pastoral conversations, most of us want to grow in patience and wisdom.

            Are you bothered your or someone else’s use of technology? The fundamental premise is that technology is good and is a tool for our productivity; the problem is we misuse it. We have to stop letting our lives be dictated by it. We have sufficient resources to own the technology instead of letting it own us. For instance, we do not have to look at our smartphones every time an alert pops up; we do not have to rush away from a conversation to answer the phone or to respond to a text. The same principle applies. Pause. Choose how you will use your time. Count to three seconds before you look at your phone. The person in front of you may be more important. But giving yourself those precious seconds will help you decide if you need to react to your phone or whether you can respond to it at a more appropriate time. If we honor the person who is with us, we will be seen and heard and known even more fully.

            If we give ourselves sufficient time to make choices, we are more likely to make more secure decisions. While we want to be generous, it might be more important to say, “I’m not free to help you at the time you are requesting. Can we find another time?” We cannot give all our time away to others at our own expense. Instead we have to reward ourselves with time – as a gift.

            This is a reason Advent is very important to us. We can heighten our senses by being dazzled by sparkling lights and tingled by pre-Christmas songs. Let your senses bring you delight. At times the world is dark and we need to delight our sense of wonder and freshness. It will keep us attentive to the most important aspects of our life – like our family and our community of faith. It will keep us attentive to beauty, which dark forces of the world try to destroy. It will keep us attentive to the Lord’s truths. It is imperative that we slow down our choices so that we do not pass by the Lord who is in our midst. He is begging for us to give him the time of day. Let him reside within you so that you may increase and abound in love for one another because love is the force that reverses evil. We are Christians. We act in love. The world needs more of it, and it is within your power to give this love away – if you only take the time to do it.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: 
·      Monday: (Romans 10) If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
·      Tuesday: (Isaiah 11) A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jess, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.  
·      Wednesday: (Isaiah 25) On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all people. He will destroy the veil that veils al people.     
·      Thursday: (Isaiah 26) A song will be sung in Judah: A strong city have we; Open the gates to let in a nation that is just, a nation firm of purpose you keep peace.  
·      Friday (Isaiah 29) On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The poor will rejoice in the Holy One.    
·      Saturday (Isaiah 30) The people of Zion who dwell in Jerusalem will weep no more. The Lord will give you bread while a voice shall sound in your ears: This is the way. Walk in it.

·      Monday: (Matthew 4) As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Peter and Andrew, casting nets into the sea. He said, “Come. I will make you fishers of men.”
·      Tuesday: (Luke 10) Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, for you have revealed these things to the childlike.”
·      Wednesday (Luke 21) Jesus went up a mountain near the Sea of Galilee and saw many who were lame, blind, deformed, mute, and many others. He said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd.” Give them something to eat.
·      Thursday (Matthew 7) Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven. The one who builds his house of rock will be saved.
·      Friday (Matthew 9) Jesus passed by two blind me who cried out, “Son of David, have pity on us.” Do you  believe I can heal you? “Yes, Lord,” the replied.
·      Saturday (Matthew 9) Jesus taught in the synagogues and proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom, curing every disease and illness. He summoned the Twelve and gave them authority over unclean spirits and to cure every disease. The Kingdom is at hand.

Saints of the Week

November 29: Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos, S.J., religious (1711-1735) was the first and main apostle to the devotion of the Sacred Heart. He entered the novitiate in Spain at age 14 and took vows at 17. He had mystical visions of the Sacred Heart. He was ordained in January 1735 with a special dispensation because he was not old enough. A few weeks after celebrating his first mass, he contracted typhus and died on November 29th.

November 30: Andrew, apostle (first century) was a disciple of John the Baptist and the brother of Simon Peter. Both were fishermen from Bethsaida. He became one of the first disciples of Jesus. Little is known of Andrew's preaching after the resurrection. Tradition places him in Greece while Scotland has incredible devotion to the apostle.  

December 1: Edmund Campion, S.J., (1540- 1581), Robert Southwell, S.J., (1561-1595) martyrs, were English natives and Jesuit priests at a time when Catholics were persecuted in the country. Both men acknowledge Queen Elizabeth as monarch, but they refused to renounce their Catholic faith. They are among the 40 martyrs of England and Wales. Campion was killed in 1581 and Southwell’s death was 1595.

December 3: Francis Xavier, S.J., priest (1506-1552) was a founding members of the Jesuit Order who was sent to the East Indies and Japan as a missionary. His preaching converted hundreds of thousands of converts to the faith. He died before reaching China. Xavier was a classmate of Peter Faber and Ignatius of Loyola at the University of Paris.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Nov 29, 1773: The Jesuits of White Russia requested the Empress Catherine to allow the Letter of Suppression to be published, as it had been all over Europe. "She bade them lay aside their scruples, promising to obtain the Papal sanction for their remaining in status quo.
·      Nov 30, 1642: The birth of Br Andrea Pozzo at Trent, who was called to Rome in 1681 to paint the flat ceiling of the church of San Ignacio so that it would look as though there were a dome above. There had been a plan for a dome but there was not money to build it. His work is still on view.
·      Dec. 1, 1581: At Tyburn in London, Edmund Campion and Alexander Briant were martyred.
·      Dec. 2, 1552: On the island of Sancian off the coast of China, Francis Xavier died.
·      Dec. 3, 1563: At the Council of Trent, the Institute of the Society was approved.
·      Dec. 4, 1870: The Roman College, appropriated by the Piedmontese government, was reopened as a Lyceum. The monogram of the Society over the main entrance was effaced.
·      Dec. 5, 1584: By his bull Omnipotentis Dei, Pope Gregory XIII gave the title of Primaria to Our Lady's Sodality established in the Roman College in 1564, and empowered it to aggregate other similar sodalities.