Sunday, May 28, 2017

Photo: Old Joe and his Boy

Spirituality: Augustine: Sermon for the Lord's Ascension

Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: “If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth.” For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.

...We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Photo: Purple Blush

Spirituality: Richard Rohr

All the great religions of the world talk a lot about death, so there must be an essential lesson to be learned here. But throughout much of religious history our emphasis has been on killing the wrong thing and avoiding the truth: it’s you who has to die, or rather, who you think you are—your false self. It's never someone else!

Historically we moved from human sacrifice to animal sacrifice to various modes of seeming self-sacrifice, usually involving the body. For many religions, including immature Christianity, God was distant and scary, an angry deity who must be placated. God was not someone with whom you fell in love or with whom you could imagine sharing intimacy or tenderness.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Photo: Orange

Spirituality: Richard Rohr

If your ego is still in charge, you will find a “disposable” person or group on which to project your problems. People who haven’t come to at least a minimal awareness of their own dark side will always find someone else to hate or fear. Hatred holds a group together much more quickly and easily than love and inclusivity, I am sorry to say. Something has to be sacrificed. Blood has to be shed. Someone has to be blamed, attacked, tortured, imprisoned, or killed. Sacrificial systems create religions and governments of exclusion and violence. Yet Jesus taught and modeled inclusivity and forgiveness!

Sadly, the history of violence and the history of religion are almost the same history. When religion remains at the immature level, it tends to create very violent people who ensconce themselves on the side of the good, the worthy, the pure, the saved. They project all their evil somewhere else and attack it over there. At this level, they export the natural death instinct onto others, as though it’s someone else who has to die.

As long as you can deal with evil by some means other than forgiveness, you will never experience the real meaning of evil and sin. You will keep projecting, fearing, and attacking it over there, instead of “gazing” on it within and “weeping” over it within yourself and all of us. The longer you gaze, the more you will see your own complicity in and profitability from the sin of others, even if it is the satisfaction of feeling you are on higher moral ground. Forgiveness demands three new simultaneous “seeings”: I must see God in the other; I must access God in myself; and I must experience God in a new way that is larger than an “Enforcer.”

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Poem: Malcolm Guite

We saw his light break through the cloud of glory
Whilst we were rooted still in time and place
As earth became a part of Heaven’s story
And heaven opened to his human face.
We saw him go and yet we were not parted
He took us with him to the heart of things
The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted
Is whole and Heaven-centred now, and sings,
Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness,
Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight,
Whilst we our selves become his clouds of witness
And sing the waning darkness into light,
His light in us, and ours in him concealed,
Which all creation waits to see revealed .

Photo: Borne of the Spirit

Prayer: Henri Nouwen

O Lord, how hard it is to accept your way. I am trying to overcome the feelings of alienation and separation which continue to assail me. But I wonder now if my deep sense of homelessness does not bring me closer to you than my occasional feelings of belonging. Come, Lor Jesus, and be with me where I feel poorest.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Seventh Sunday of Easter
May 28, 2017
Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1: 17-23; Matthew 28:16-20

            The Ascension teaches us that Jesus has to return to his Father in order to take his seat as humanity’s merciful judge. When Christ ascends, part of us ascends with him, and we have to keep our eyes set on the things that are above. His presence with God reminds us that Christ’s promises will eventually be fulfilled because Christ does not want to be separated from us. St. Augustine wrote in one of his homilies, “We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.

            We have to keep our eyes set high because, for certain, people are going to try to take us down. Have you had an experience of saying something positive to someone and ninety-nine people hear your goodness, but one person is personally offended? Others explain the good intention, but this one person does not have to capacity to hear the good and only finds fault? This opinion is loud and vocal and takes the conversation away from its intended course. They cannot let their point go and they build up drama. They make the story all about themselves, which was never the point? We must keep our eyes lifted high.

            Have you ever been filled with jealousy or envy? Has someone received an award or a title that you secretly wanted? Do you take offense at every little slight? Perhaps someone bumps you in the subway and you get so angry you want to take the man’s head off. We all have the tendency for road rage if we are already upset about something. Greed, sloth, unhealthy pride will take us to dangerous places. While most people act well, a certain few challenge us because they have not been brought up to respect other’s boundaries.

Our negative emotions feed an unsettled part of our soul. and can take us down, and many people around us will be happy to oblige, but this is not they way of Christ. When experiencing strong feelings, people isolate themselves when they need to reach out. Of course, it is uncomfortable and a lot of work, but it is soul-saving work. Our solution is in talking with one another because the Ascension is about relating well to one another. Jesus goes to God in heaven to advocate for us. We are to tell him what we need and he will bring our petitions to God.

            Ascension is about moving forward, not withdrawing. When we are unsettled, seek out trusted friends and explain how you are feeling. We will never progress in anything in life unless we courageously tell others how we feel. If we bottle them up and make others guess how we are feeling, we are doomed. Being a Christian means sharing our uncomfortable parts with others, that is, parents, spouses, children, colleagues, and friends. Ascension means that we connect, and this interaction brings joy and relief.

            An angel asked the disciples, “Why are you standing there looking up?” The implied message is “look around.” You have all you need because the Risen Jesus is still among us and we are with you. Like Jesus, We will not give up, so let’s connect and find the best in one another. Gladly, we will help you along the way.
Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Acts 19) Paul went through the interior of Greece and down to Ephesus to introduce the believers to the Holy Spirit. The community was baptized into the Body of Christ.  
Tuesday: (Acts 20) The presbyters at Ephesus summoned Paul, who told them that he was going to an uncertain fate in Jerusalem. Paul recounts the ways he served the Lord with humility, tears, and trials, but imprisonment and hardships await him.
Wednesday: (Acts 20) Paul prays for the whole flock and he prays for them because he knows adversaries will take advantage of Paul’s absence. When Paul finished speaking, the people wept loudly and threw their arms around him and kissed him. 
Thursday: (Acts 22) Paul is brought to trial. The Pharisees and Sadducees are sharply divided; armed forces rescue Paul from their midst. The Lord tells Paul he must go to Rome and be faithful there the same way he was faithful in Jerusalem. 
Friday (Acts 25) King Agrippa hears Paul’s case and determines that Paul is to be tried in Jerusalem, but Paul, as a Roman citizen, appeals for the Emperor’s decision. 
Saturday (Acts 28) When Paul entered Rome, he was allowed to live by himself. He called together the leaders of the Jews to let them know the charges brought against them. He told them his story. He remained for two years in his lodgings and received all who came to him without hindrance as he proclaimed the Kingdom of God.

Monday: (John 16) The disciples realize Jesus is returning to the Father and that he is strengthening them for the time when he will not longer be physically with them.  
Tuesday: (John 17) Jesus raises his eyes to heaven and realizes it is time to glorify the Father through his death so he may give eternal life to all that we given to him. He revealed God’s name to them and now it is time to see the glory of God revealed.
Wednesday (John 17) Jesus prays for the safety of those given to him. He wants them to be safe as they testify to God’s steadfastness in a harsh world. He prays for unity, “so that they may be one just as we, Father, are one.”
Thursday (John 17) Jesus consecrates them to the truth and wards off the Evil One. He also prays for those given to him through the testimony of others. The love Jesus and the Father share is available to future disciples.
Friday (John 21) After the Farewell Discourse ends, Jesus appears at the seashore with Simon Peter who professes his three-fold love of Jesus. Jesus forgives him and asks him to care for his people even though the authorities of this world will eventually have their day with him.
Saturday (John 21) Peter turns to Jesus and asks about the Beloved Disciple. Jesus retorts, “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours?” This disciple is the one who wrote the testimony about Jesus and can attest to its truth.

Saints of the Week

May 31: Visitation of the Virgin Mary commemorates the visit of Mary in her early pregnancy to Mary, who is reported to be her elder cousin. Luke writes about the shared rejoicing of the two women - Mary's conception by the Holy Spirit and Elizabeth's surprising pregnancy in her advanced years. Elizabeth calls Mary blessed and Mary sings her song of praise to God, the Magnificat.

June 1: Justin, martyr (100-165), was a Samaritan philosopher who converted to Christianity and explained doctrine through philosophical treatises. His debating opponent reported him to the Roman authorities who tried him and when he refused to sacrifice to the gods, was condemned to death.

June 2: Marcellinus and Peter, martyrs (d. 304) died in Rome during the Diocletian persecution. Peter was an exorcist who ministered under the well-regarded priest, Marcellinus. Stories are told that in jail they converted their jailer and his family. These men are remembered in Eucharistic prayer I.

June 3: Charles Lwanga and 22 companion martyrs from Uganda (18660-1886) felt the wrath of King Mwanga after Lwanga and the White Fathers (Missionaries of Africa) censured him for his cruelty and immorality. The King determined to rid his kingdom of Christians. He persecuted over 100 Christians, but upon their death new converts joined the church.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      May 28, 1962. The death of Bernard Hubbard famous Alaskan missionary. He was the author of the book Mush, You Malemutes! and wrote a number of articles on the Alaska mission.
·      May 29,1991. Pope John Paul II announces that Paulo Dezza, SJ is to become a Cardinal, as well as Jan Korec, in Slovakia.
·      May 30, 1849. Vincent Gioberti's book Il Gesuita Moderno was put on the Index. Gioberti had applied to be admitted into the Society, and on being refused became its bitter enemy and calumniator.
·      May 31, 1900. The new novitiate of the Buffalo Mission, St Stanislaus, in South Brooklyn, Ohio, near Cleveland, is blessed.
·      Jun 1, 1527. Ignatius was thrown into prison after having been accused of having advised two noblewomen to undertake a pilgrimage, on foot, to Compostella.
·      Jun 2, 1566. The Professed House was opened in Toledo. It became well known for the fervor of its residents and the wonderful effects of their labors.

·      Jun 3, 1559. A residence at Frascati, outside of Rome, was purchased for the fathers and brothers of the Roman College.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Photo: The Descent into Hell

Prayer: Anthony of Padua

O God, send forth your Holy Spirit into my heart that I may perceive, into my mind that I may remember, and into my soul that I may meditate. Inspire me to speak with piety, holiness, tenderness, and mercy. Teach, guide, and direct my thoughts and senses. May your grace ever help and correct me, and may I be strengthened now with wisdom from on high, for the sake of your infinite mercy.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Photo: A Maze of Tulips

Prayer: Catherine de Hueck Doherty

O Jesus, lift my heart up above the worries of little things, for they, like grains of dust, have great power. They can stop noble desires and deaden the most ardent hearts. Let me be small and humble; let me be always seeking only your glory. Every little breath I take, I do so by your grace only. You hold my very life in your hands. How could I then lack trust in you?