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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Prayer: Ignatius of Loyola

Jesus, fill us with your life that we may show forth your wonderful glory. Grant that your love may so fill our lives that we may count nothing too small to do for you, nothing too much to give, and nothing too hard to bear.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Prayer: Columba

O Lord, grants us that love which can never die, which will enkindle our lamps but not extinguish them, so that they may shine in us and bring light to others. May we receive unquenchable light from you so that our darkness will be illuminated and the darkness of the world will be made less.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Spirituality: “Recover the Spirit of Silence” By Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., Former Superior General of the Society of Jesus

I believe that one of the primary challenges
facing the Society [of Jesus] today
is that of recovering the spirit of silence.
We all need a place inside ourselves
where there is no noise, where the voice
of the Spirit of God can speak to us,
softly and gently,
and direct our discernment.
We need the ability to become ourselves –
silence, emptiness, an open space
that the Word of God can fill,
and the Spirit of God can set on fire
for the good of others and of the Church.

Spend some extra time in prayer today simply sitting in silence.
Listen to God.

Source: Superior General’s Summary (2012), as found in Jim Manney, An Ignatian Book of Days, page 212.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Prayer: Teresa of Avila

Lord, grant that I may always allow myself to be guided by you, always follow your plans, and perfectly accomplish your holy will. Grant that in all things, great and small, today and all the days of my life, I may do whatever you require of me. Help me respond to the slightest promptings of your grace, so that I may be your trustworthy instrument for your honor. May your will be done in time and in eternity by me, in me, and through me.

Prayer: Jeremias 1:5-8

Antes de formarte en el vientre materno, te conoci; antes que salieras del seno, te consagre, te constitui profeta de las naciones.

Yo dije: “Ah, Senor!” Mira que no se hablar, pues soy muy joven!”

El Senor me respondido: Ni digas: “So demasiado joven,” porque iras a donde yo te envie y diras todo lo que you te ordene.

No les tengas miedo, pues you estoy contigo para librarte – oraculo del Senor.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

The Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 31, 2016
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:21-23; Psalm 90; Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11; Luke 12:13-21

            The Jewish philosopher-king Qoheleth quips: All things are vanity. All is but a fleeting breath that cannot be grasped or captured. He asks: What profit comes from the toil and anxieties of heart as one labors each day? He suggests that carrying this grief and sorrow each day is simply vanity. Let it go. Instead, enjoy your labors and the blessings of the day. Love those who are around you and let go of petty grievances. Life is much happier when we realize our pettiness only weighs us down. Even Thomas Aquinas at the end of his life, after penning the Summa Theologiae, realized, “All this is straw.” Aquinas knew that he contributed important work to the faith, and yet he realized that his life of prayer was far more important than his writings.

            The parable Jesus tells about a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest also illustrates that one is not to live a defensive life marked by hoarding and worrying. Jesus warns that one’s life does not consist of possessions and we must be aware of the fragility in the balance of life. He says that one must build up riches in what matters to God and therefore a person’s life cannot be marked by worry. Everything we seek ought to be checked by degree and perspective.

            In our quest for quality, we get caught up in seeking the most durable and versatile products. If we develop a hobby, we acquire peripherals that will develop our skills and enjoyment of our pursuits. It is quite natural to want the most fitting product for the areas in which we invest our time. We have to be judicious and prudential that we acquire only what we need and do not buy gadgets that are in excess of our requirements. These purchases can lead down a slippery slope that takes us away from that which gives us happiness. We have to be aware that clever marketing is designed to sell items to us that we do not need. We need to keep the same type of perspective the man mentioned in the Gospel had, otherwise we become preoccupied without even realizing we are being led astray.

            The ingenious marketing world promotes values that seem positive: our happiness, a great value, low costs, buy one get one free, and so forth. These slogans appeal to our pocketbooks as we seek to make the best choices for our financial situations, but they are often deceptive to our longer-term plans. For instance, the new norm in restaurants is to provide you with a meal that is three times the size as your body needs. It is a great value to have to such abundance, but it does not suit our waistlines. As this new standard is normative, an all-you-can-eat pizza bar or Chinese buffet is tempting, but is woefully unhealthy. We have to first set the norms for our consumption without regard to the industry standards. We have freedom to choose what is most right for ourselves.

            Paul’s Letter to the Colossians keeps our proper perspective if we keep our eyes on what is from above. If every decision we make is based upon seeking the greater glory of Christ, then we will undoubtedly make sound decisions. If we consult with him regularly, he will keep us oriented to his concerns and will help us realize that we may not be able to see what is obviously harmful for our souls and bodies. We really do have to stop and think in new terms. Paul reminds us that we have put on our new selves, which are being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of our creator. Step back and reflect upon your choices and invite Christ into your decision-making processes. He may want you to go a different direction from the one you are taking. It is not easy to redirect, but it might be the most beneficial.

            St. Ignatius of Loyola has helped many people over the years to reform their lives and examine it in relation to Christ. He urges our detachment from worldly cares so we can live for Christ. Ignatius, through Christ, leads us to right living and right relationships. On this Feast of Ignatius, let us take some time to examine our lives with Christ, to show us where we are deceptively hooked and where we are properly aligned with him, so that we know that we are on the path to salvation. When the day comes, we will not know, but let’s prepare our hearts and minds while we have the chance. It is never too soon to begin.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Jeremiah 28) Jeremiah said to Hannaniah: You have raised false confidence in the people. You have preached rebellion against the Lord.
Tuesday: (Jeremiah 30) The Lord said: I will restore the tents of Jacob; City shall be rebuilt upon hill, and palace restored; From them will resound songs of praise.
Wednesday: (Jeremiah 31) I will be the God of all the tribes of Israel. I will restore you and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin Israel.   
Thursday: (Jeremiah 31) The days are coming when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and Judah and it will be unlike the first covenant. I will place my law upon their hearts directly and I will forgive them.      
Friday (Nahum 2) See, upon the mountains there advances the bearer of good news, announcing peace. Celebrate your feasts. Fulfill your vows. The Lord will restore the vine.
Saturday (Daniel 7) I saw one like a Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven; He received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.

Monday: (Matthew 14) After John the Baptist’s death, Jesus withdrew to a deserted place, but the crowds followed him. He broke the loaves and the two fish and fed the crowds.
Tuesday: (Matthew 14) The disciples embarked on a boat and sailed a few miles offshore when a squall kicked up. Jesus came walking to them on the sea; they thought he was a ghost.
Wednesday (Matthew 15) Jesus came across a Canaanite woman and cried out for pity. She pleaded for her daughter and expanded the mission identity of Jesus.
Thursday (Matthew 16) In Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked his disciples: Who do you say that I am? Peter declares: You are the Christ. Jesus spoke about his impending suffering and death.   
Friday (Matthew 16) Those who wish to come after me but deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. What does it profit anyone to gain the world and forfeit his life.
Saturday (Matthew 17) While Jesus was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. Moses and Elijah were conversing with him.

Saints of the Week

July 31: Ignatius of Loyola, priest (1491-1556), is one of the founders of the Jesuits and the author of the Spiritual Exercises. As a Basque nobleman, he was wounded in a battle at Pamplona in northeastern Spain and convalesced at his castle where he realized he followed a methodology of discernment of spirits. When he recovered, he ministered to the sick and dying and then retreated to a cave at Manresa, Spain where he had experiences that formed the basis of The Spiritual Exercises. In order to preach, he studied Latin, earned a Master’s Degree at the University of Paris, and then gathered other students to serve Jesus. Francis Xavier and Peter Faber were his first friends. After ordination, Ignatius and his nine friends went to Rome where they formally became the Society of Jesus. Most Jesuits were sent on mission, but Ignatius stayed in Rome directing the rapidly growing religious order, composing its constitutions, and perfecting the Spiritual Exercises. He died in 1556 and the Jesuit Order was already 1,000 men strong. 

August 1: Alphonsus Liguori, bishop and doctor(1696-1787), founded a band of mission priests that became the Redemptorists. He wrote a book called "Moral Theology" that linked legal aspects with kindness and compassion for others. He became known for his responsive and thoughtful way of dealing with confessions.

August 2: Peter Faber, S.J., priest and founder (1506-1546), was one of the original companions of the Society of Jesus. He was a French theologian and the first Jesuit priest and was the presider over the first vows of the lay companions. He became known for directing the Spiritual Exercises very well. He was called to the Council of Trent but died as the participants were gathering.

August 2: Eusebius of Vercelli, bishop (d. 371), was ordained bishop after becoming a lector. He attended a council in Milan where he opposed the Arians. The emperor exiled him to Palestine because he contradicted secular influences. He returned to his diocese where the emperor died.

August 2: Peter Julian Eymard, priest (1811-1868) left the Oblates when he became ill. When his father died, he became a priest and soon transferred into the Marists but left them to found the Blessed Sacrament Fathers to promote the significance of the Eucharist.

August 4: John Vianney, priest (1786-1859) became the parish priest in Ars-en-Dombes where he spent the rest of his life preaching and hearing confessions. Hundreds of visitors and pilgrims visited him daily. He would hear confessions 12-16 hours per day.

August 5: Dedication of the Basilica of Mary Major in Rome is celebrated because it is the largest and oldest of the churches in honor of Mary. The veneration began in 435 when the church was repaired after the Council of Ephesus in 431 when Mary was proclaimed the Mother of God. This is the church where Ignatius of Loyola said his first Mass and where Francis of Assisi assembled the first crèche.

August 6: The Transfiguration of the Lord is an historical event captured by the Gospels when Jesus is singled out as God's Son - ranking higher than Moses or Elijah. In front of his disciples, Jesus becomes transfigured, thus revealing his true nature. Ironically, the anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb occurred at Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jul 31, 1556. The death in Rome of Ignatius Loyola.
·      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, Edmund Campion, then a boy of thirteen delivered an address.
·      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.