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November 16, 2018

St. Roch Gonzalez, SJ and Companions, Jesuit Martyrs

Lk 17:26-37

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven and destroyed all of them —it will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.

On that day, anyone on the housetop who has belongings in the house must not come down to take them away; and likewise anyone in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it.I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left.” Then they asked him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Living a “NOW” spirituality

Time is major aspect of our Catholic faith. Through our stories, we look at our past for insight into looking to our future beyond this human life and the unknown. Jesus does both, but he connects the past and the future to the present and how we are living our lives right now. Our Catholic faith is a “NOW’ spirituality. Jesus is asking us what are we doing right now to build the Kingdom of God among us. How do we love our neighbor? Welcome the stranger? Serve the underserved?

Where are we building a Kingdom of God reflective of the gospel values of Jesus? What is going on in our lives right now that distracts us from focusing on the Kingdom of God? Let us prayerfully discern what those distractions are to better choose to focus solely on Jesus. For when we are called by God to the next life, none of these distractions or material possessions will come with us. We will not have time to prepare as God will take us as we are. Now, right now at that very moment. Am I ready?

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Acting Assistant Principal of Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

Be not afraid.
I go before you always.
Come follow me,
and I will give you rest.

—Refrain of Be Not Afraid © 1975, Robert J. Dufford, SJ, and New Dawn Music

 


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November 15, 2018

Lk 17:20-25

Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.”

Then he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Finding God among all things

“Lord, you know St. Ignatius, right?”

“I know both of them—the guy from Antioch and the one from Loyola.”

“I mean St. Ignatius of Loyola. He talked about finding you in all things. But I’m confused. You told the Pharisees that your kingdom isn’t coming with things that can be observed. What gives?”

Jesus laughs. My questions usually give him a good chuckle. I think he finds my quest for holiness amusing, much as I am amused by watching my dog chase her tail.

“Maybe a better way of saying it,” Jesus says, “is to find God among all things.”

This simple change makes a big difference. Among implies an association—God is in the company of all things. I find God not in particular things, but in the relationship between the thing and its Creator.  

And God loves what God created.

—Bob Burnham is a Secular Franciscan, spiritual director, and author of  Little Lessons from the Saints: 52 Simple and Surprising Ways to See the Saint in You published by Loyola Press.

Prayer

Lord, give me the grace to find you among all things and join in their songs of praise.

—Bob Burnham

 

 

 


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November 14, 2018

St. Joseph Pignatelli, SJ

Lk 17:11-19

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan.

Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Three essential prayers

“Help. Thanks. Wow.”

Anne LaMott’s “Three Essential Prayers” feel particularly fitting as I read this Gospel while returning home from the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice.

Along with 1,300+ members of the Ignatian family, I spent three days immersed in nourishing prayer, vulnerable storytelling, excellent educational presentations, and inspiring advocacy. “It’s like medicine, I tell people back home. Every year, we bring our brokenness and blessings, our anger at injustice and passion for creating change. We place at the center our world’s “Samaritans”—the outcast women, men, and children with whom Jesus calls us to live in solidarity. We are challenged to look honestly at the darkness in our Church, our country, and our own hearts and we are moved to choose and create light.

So I suppose this is the moment when I give praise to God. Thank You, thank You, thank You.

For what am I most grateful today?

—Katie Davis (MDiv, Loyola University Chicago) is a former Jesuit Volunteer/JVC Magis currently working as a Chaplain and Religious Studies teacher at St. Ignatius College Prep. She has served on the Advisory Board for Jesuit Connections and is a member of the Chicago Women’s Team for the Ignatian Spirituality Project. Katie preaches with the project Catholic Women Preach.

Prayer

Help.
Thanks.
Wow.

—Anne LaMott

 


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November 13, 2018

St. Stanislaus Kostka, SJ; St. Francis Xavier Cabrini

Titus 2: 1-8, 11-14

But as for you, teach what is consistent with sound doctrine. Tell the older men to be temperate, serious, prudent, and sound in faith, in love, and in endurance. Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good managers of the household, kind, being submissive to their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited.

Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured; then any opponent will be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

How can we best model the Gospel?

In today’s first reading, St. Paul’s counsels Titus on the best way to evangelize the developing church on the Mediterranean island of Crete. He exhorts Titus to say what is consistent with sound doctrine and suggests the special virtues that the people in the Christian community should acquire. The virtue of temperance or self-control is particularly emphasized in the reading.

The Catechism defines temperance as “the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods.” (CCC 1809). Certainly, temperance involves moderating excess consumption of material goods. But it can also serve as a way of bridging divides and encouraging more civil discourse.

As we reflect on the ways we practice and share the faith, perhaps we can identify areas of our lives that need self-control. In an environment where deep polarization and marked disagreements have taken center stage, how is God inviting us to model the truth of the Gospel temperately, justly and devoutly?

—Orlando Portalatin, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Central and Southern Province studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

Prayer for generosity

Lord, teach me to be generous,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to look for any reward,
save that of knowing that I do your holy will.

—St. Ignatius of Loyola

 

 

 


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November 12, 2018

St. Josaphat

Lk 17:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive.

And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Growing in holiness together

Many professions require an oath to do no harm.  Firmly rooted in the practice of medicine, counseling, therapy, or other such fields is this value of helping and doing nothing but good.  This lifestyle is what Jesus is calling us to: a lifestyle so permeated with goodness that we don’t even want anyone else to do anything wrong.  Sometimes it seems easier to let others fall or make choices that may not consider the people around us. Since our true nature is community and togetherness, let us grow in virtue alongside, rather than independent of, our neighbors.

—Erin Emeric is a music teacher at Christ, Light of the Nations school and a member of the Billiken Teaching Corps at Saint Louis University.

Prayer

Stir up in your Church, we pray, O Lord, the Spirit that filled Saint Josaphat as he laid down his life for the sheep, so that through his intercession we, too, may be strengthened by the same Spirit and not be afraid to lay down our life for others. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

—Collect prayer for the Memorial of St. Josephat, Bishop and Martyr

 


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November 11, 2018

Mk 12: 38-44

As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Total reliance upon God

It doesn’t always feel like it is easy to give from our abundance. Even though there is little risk to it, it can feel like a big risk because of the “what ifs”. What if something happens and I need this tomorrow? It seems easier to believe that our abundance can guard us against the “what ifs”. But in comparison Jesus praises the widow who gives “out of her poverty” and in doing so has given all that she has. She has no safeguards. She has no contingencies. Yet she takes a concrete action that expresses her total reliance upon God. A total reliance upon God does not mean that difficulties will not come our way. It is not a strong guard against the “what ifs”, but it is to be in relationship with the one who is stronger than all the “what ifs”.

What is a concrete action I can take to express my total reliance upon God?

—Fr. Brad Held, SJ, is a member of the Midwest Province and is a campus minister and theology teacher at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, WI.

Prayer

Only in God is my soul at rest,
in him comes my salvation.
He, only, is my rock, my strength and my salvation.

My stronghold, my Savior,
I shall not be afraid at all.
My stronghold, my Savior,
I shall not be moved.

—Lyrics to Only in God by John Michael Talbot, © 1980 Birdwing Music/BMG Songs

 

 

 

 


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November 10, 2018

St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church

Lk 16:9-15

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.“Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?

No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him. So he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Who do you serve?

If asked whether we serve God or wealth, most of us would quickly respond that we serve God.  But most choices that we face are not presented in such a black and white contrast. Jesus reminds us not to be driven by a quest for material goods, power, prestige, or awards.  St. Ignatius says that we should be indifferent to whether or not these things come our way, but should focus our energy on serving the Lord. In his rules for discernment, he advises that we first look at the orientation of our lives.  Am I oriented toward God, or away from God? Am I straying from the right path, or am I trying to live a decent life of a Christian? As we ask ourselves these questions, Jesus reminds us that God knows our hearts, and often cares little for those things the world values.

In your daily life, who do you serve?

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

Lord God,
help me to orient my life toward you.  
Help me to serve you rather than wealth.
Help me to prioritize those things that matter to you,
and forget about what the world values.
Help me to follow the path that you prepare for me.
Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 


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November 9, 2018

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Jn 2:13-22

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.

He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?”

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Don’t dwell on earthly things

“Zeal for your house will consume me”

Jesus expresses righteous anger to those turning a holy place of worship into a marketplace. Today, some subscribe to the notion that a strong faith is linked to earthly wealth and power. The prosperity gospel exemplifies this notion. Similarly, we brand our religious institutions to accumulate the wealth and power necessary for sustainability.  While this is necessary, when does it come at the expense of the values of the one who sent us (Jesus)? When does the “temple” that we are trying to shore up come at the expense of our own temple of the soul?

Jesus preaches to us not to dwell on the earthly things, which are all transitory. He constantly tells us to focus with a humble, loving discerning heart on eternal life through the example of his life, death, and resurrection.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Acting Assistant Principal of Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

Lord my God, when your love spilled over into creation you thought of me. I am from love, of love, for love. Let my heart, O God, always recognize, cherish and enjoy your goodness in all of creation. Direct all that is me toward your praise.

Teach me reverence for every person, all things. Energize me in your service. Lord God, may nothing ever distract me from your love; neither health nor sickness, wealth nor poverty, honor nor dishonor, long life nor short life.

May I never seek nor choose to be other than what you intend or wish.

—St. Ignatius Loyola First Principle & Foundation, trans. Bergan & Schwan, 1985.

 


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November 8, 2018

Lk 15: 1-10

Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’

Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

The joy of finding God

Jesus repeats the question: “Which one of you, would not leave the ninety-nine behind to find the one that was lost?”

I look around the room. Everyone is silent.

“I wouldn’t,” I say, somewhat sheepishly. I summon the courage to finish my thought.

“That’s just not pragmatic.” I grow defiant. “If leave the ninety-nine behind to save the one, I put the ninety-nine at risk. And the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Just sayin’.”

“Yeah,” Jesus sighs heavily and shakes his head, “you just don’t get it.”

“Well, then, explain it to me! What am I missing?”

“You’re missing the joy,” he says.

Perhaps that’s why finding God can be so difficult: I’m trying to find him through sterile calculation and analysis. Instead, maybe I should start seeking God in those things that can bring me true and perfect joy.

—Bob Burnham is a Secular Franciscan, spiritual director, and author of  Little Lessons from the Saints: 52 Simple and Surprising Ways to See the Saint in You published by Loyola Press. 

Prayer

Lord, you alone are my joy; your Cross is my consolation.

 —Bob Burnham

 

 

 


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November 7, 2018

Lk 14: 25-33

Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’

Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace.

So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Freedom to let go of what we love

The Ignatian practice of indifference helps us understand Jesus’ seemingly harsh message today. Indifference is freedom from anything that impedes our ability to love God, others, and ourselves. This stance creates freedom for that which enables us to love and live fully.

Cultivating indifference requires us to reflect on our relationships, our priorities, and our passions, but not because they are bad or meaningless. Rather, since everything is a gift, we must understand our loves within the context of God’s love. We can be passionate about these gifts while simultaneously being ready to let them go and knowing that God’s love continues flowing.

We should consider, too, that Jesus’ repeated indictments against hoarding possessions are not merely metaphors. Both Jesus and St. Ignatius name materialism as a particularly challenging impediment to discipleship—an attachment that pulls us away from God’s call for us.

What attachments prevent me from feeling free to follow Christ?

—Katie Davis (MDiv, Loyola University Chicago) is a former Jesuit Volunteer/JVC Magis currently working as a Chaplain and Religious Studies teacher at St. Ignatius College Prep. She has served on the Advisory Board for Jesuit Connections and is a member of the Chicago Women’s Team for the Ignatian Spirituality Project. Katie preaches with the project Catholic Women Preach.

Prayer

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,|
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

—Suscipe of St. Ignatius of Loyola

 


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Welcome to PraySLUH!

PraySLUH is a prayer site rooted in the spiritual tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. At SLUH, we believe that God is truly present and active in our lives in and through all things. PraySLUH is a site where you can come daily to see where and how God is accompanying you, through prayer with scripture, prayers, and short reflections.



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November 16, 2018

St. Roch Gonzalez, SJ and Companions, Jesuit Martyrs

Lk 17:26-37

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven and destroyed all of them —it will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.

On that day, anyone on the housetop who has belongings in the house must not come down to take them away; and likewise anyone in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it.I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left.” Then they asked him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Living a “NOW” spirituality

Time is major aspect of our Catholic faith. Through our stories, we look at our past for insight into looking to our future beyond this human life and the unknown. Jesus does both, but he connects the past and the future to the present and how we are living our lives right now. Our Catholic faith is a “NOW’ spirituality. Jesus is asking us what are we doing right now to build the Kingdom of God among us. How do we love our neighbor? Welcome the stranger? Serve the underserved?

Where are we building a Kingdom of God reflective of the gospel values of Jesus? What is going on in our lives right now that distracts us from focusing on the Kingdom of God? Let us prayerfully discern what those distractions are to better choose to focus solely on Jesus. For when we are called by God to the next life, none of these distractions or material possessions will come with us. We will not have time to prepare as God will take us as we are. Now, right now at that very moment. Am I ready?

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Acting Assistant Principal of Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

Be not afraid.
I go before you always.
Come follow me,
and I will give you rest.

—Refrain of Be Not Afraid © 1975, Robert J. Dufford, SJ, and New Dawn Music

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 15, 2018

Lk 17:20-25

Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.”

Then he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Finding God among all things

“Lord, you know St. Ignatius, right?”

“I know both of them—the guy from Antioch and the one from Loyola.”

“I mean St. Ignatius of Loyola. He talked about finding you in all things. But I’m confused. You told the Pharisees that your kingdom isn’t coming with things that can be observed. What gives?”

Jesus laughs. My questions usually give him a good chuckle. I think he finds my quest for holiness amusing, much as I am amused by watching my dog chase her tail.

“Maybe a better way of saying it,” Jesus says, “is to find God among all things.”

This simple change makes a big difference. Among implies an association—God is in the company of all things. I find God not in particular things, but in the relationship between the thing and its Creator.  

And God loves what God created.

—Bob Burnham is a Secular Franciscan, spiritual director, and author of  Little Lessons from the Saints: 52 Simple and Surprising Ways to See the Saint in You published by Loyola Press.

Prayer

Lord, give me the grace to find you among all things and join in their songs of praise.

—Bob Burnham

 

 

 


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November 14, 2018

St. Joseph Pignatelli, SJ

Lk 17:11-19

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan.

Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Three essential prayers

“Help. Thanks. Wow.”

Anne LaMott’s “Three Essential Prayers” feel particularly fitting as I read this Gospel while returning home from the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice.

Along with 1,300+ members of the Ignatian family, I spent three days immersed in nourishing prayer, vulnerable storytelling, excellent educational presentations, and inspiring advocacy. “It’s like medicine, I tell people back home. Every year, we bring our brokenness and blessings, our anger at injustice and passion for creating change. We place at the center our world’s “Samaritans”—the outcast women, men, and children with whom Jesus calls us to live in solidarity. We are challenged to look honestly at the darkness in our Church, our country, and our own hearts and we are moved to choose and create light.

So I suppose this is the moment when I give praise to God. Thank You, thank You, thank You.

For what am I most grateful today?

—Katie Davis (MDiv, Loyola University Chicago) is a former Jesuit Volunteer/JVC Magis currently working as a Chaplain and Religious Studies teacher at St. Ignatius College Prep. She has served on the Advisory Board for Jesuit Connections and is a member of the Chicago Women’s Team for the Ignatian Spirituality Project. Katie preaches with the project Catholic Women Preach.

Prayer

Help.
Thanks.
Wow.

—Anne LaMott

 


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November 13, 2018

St. Stanislaus Kostka, SJ; St. Francis Xavier Cabrini

Titus 2: 1-8, 11-14

But as for you, teach what is consistent with sound doctrine. Tell the older men to be temperate, serious, prudent, and sound in faith, in love, and in endurance. Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good managers of the household, kind, being submissive to their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited.

Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured; then any opponent will be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

How can we best model the Gospel?

In today’s first reading, St. Paul’s counsels Titus on the best way to evangelize the developing church on the Mediterranean island of Crete. He exhorts Titus to say what is consistent with sound doctrine and suggests the special virtues that the people in the Christian community should acquire. The virtue of temperance or self-control is particularly emphasized in the reading.

The Catechism defines temperance as “the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods.” (CCC 1809). Certainly, temperance involves moderating excess consumption of material goods. But it can also serve as a way of bridging divides and encouraging more civil discourse.

As we reflect on the ways we practice and share the faith, perhaps we can identify areas of our lives that need self-control. In an environment where deep polarization and marked disagreements have taken center stage, how is God inviting us to model the truth of the Gospel temperately, justly and devoutly?

—Orlando Portalatin, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Central and Southern Province studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

Prayer for generosity

Lord, teach me to be generous,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to look for any reward,
save that of knowing that I do your holy will.

—St. Ignatius of Loyola

 

 

 


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November 12, 2018

St. Josaphat

Lk 17:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive.

And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Growing in holiness together

Many professions require an oath to do no harm.  Firmly rooted in the practice of medicine, counseling, therapy, or other such fields is this value of helping and doing nothing but good.  This lifestyle is what Jesus is calling us to: a lifestyle so permeated with goodness that we don’t even want anyone else to do anything wrong.  Sometimes it seems easier to let others fall or make choices that may not consider the people around us. Since our true nature is community and togetherness, let us grow in virtue alongside, rather than independent of, our neighbors.

—Erin Emeric is a music teacher at Christ, Light of the Nations school and a member of the Billiken Teaching Corps at Saint Louis University.

Prayer

Stir up in your Church, we pray, O Lord, the Spirit that filled Saint Josaphat as he laid down his life for the sheep, so that through his intercession we, too, may be strengthened by the same Spirit and not be afraid to lay down our life for others. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

—Collect prayer for the Memorial of St. Josephat, Bishop and Martyr

 


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November 11, 2018

Mk 12: 38-44

As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Total reliance upon God

It doesn’t always feel like it is easy to give from our abundance. Even though there is little risk to it, it can feel like a big risk because of the “what ifs”. What if something happens and I need this tomorrow? It seems easier to believe that our abundance can guard us against the “what ifs”. But in comparison Jesus praises the widow who gives “out of her poverty” and in doing so has given all that she has. She has no safeguards. She has no contingencies. Yet she takes a concrete action that expresses her total reliance upon God. A total reliance upon God does not mean that difficulties will not come our way. It is not a strong guard against the “what ifs”, but it is to be in relationship with the one who is stronger than all the “what ifs”.

What is a concrete action I can take to express my total reliance upon God?

—Fr. Brad Held, SJ, is a member of the Midwest Province and is a campus minister and theology teacher at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, WI.

Prayer

Only in God is my soul at rest,
in him comes my salvation.
He, only, is my rock, my strength and my salvation.

My stronghold, my Savior,
I shall not be afraid at all.
My stronghold, my Savior,
I shall not be moved.

—Lyrics to Only in God by John Michael Talbot, © 1980 Birdwing Music/BMG Songs

 

 

 

 


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November 10, 2018

St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church

Lk 16:9-15

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.“Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?

No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him. So he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Who do you serve?

If asked whether we serve God or wealth, most of us would quickly respond that we serve God.  But most choices that we face are not presented in such a black and white contrast. Jesus reminds us not to be driven by a quest for material goods, power, prestige, or awards.  St. Ignatius says that we should be indifferent to whether or not these things come our way, but should focus our energy on serving the Lord. In his rules for discernment, he advises that we first look at the orientation of our lives.  Am I oriented toward God, or away from God? Am I straying from the right path, or am I trying to live a decent life of a Christian? As we ask ourselves these questions, Jesus reminds us that God knows our hearts, and often cares little for those things the world values.

In your daily life, who do you serve?

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

Lord God,
help me to orient my life toward you.  
Help me to serve you rather than wealth.
Help me to prioritize those things that matter to you,
and forget about what the world values.
Help me to follow the path that you prepare for me.
Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 


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November 9, 2018

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Jn 2:13-22

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.

He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?”

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Don’t dwell on earthly things

“Zeal for your house will consume me”

Jesus expresses righteous anger to those turning a holy place of worship into a marketplace. Today, some subscribe to the notion that a strong faith is linked to earthly wealth and power. The prosperity gospel exemplifies this notion. Similarly, we brand our religious institutions to accumulate the wealth and power necessary for sustainability.  While this is necessary, when does it come at the expense of the values of the one who sent us (Jesus)? When does the “temple” that we are trying to shore up come at the expense of our own temple of the soul?

Jesus preaches to us not to dwell on the earthly things, which are all transitory. He constantly tells us to focus with a humble, loving discerning heart on eternal life through the example of his life, death, and resurrection.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Acting Assistant Principal of Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

Lord my God, when your love spilled over into creation you thought of me. I am from love, of love, for love. Let my heart, O God, always recognize, cherish and enjoy your goodness in all of creation. Direct all that is me toward your praise.

Teach me reverence for every person, all things. Energize me in your service. Lord God, may nothing ever distract me from your love; neither health nor sickness, wealth nor poverty, honor nor dishonor, long life nor short life.

May I never seek nor choose to be other than what you intend or wish.

—St. Ignatius Loyola First Principle & Foundation, trans. Bergan & Schwan, 1985.

 


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November 8, 2018

Lk 15: 1-10

Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’

Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

The joy of finding God

Jesus repeats the question: “Which one of you, would not leave the ninety-nine behind to find the one that was lost?”

I look around the room. Everyone is silent.

“I wouldn’t,” I say, somewhat sheepishly. I summon the courage to finish my thought.

“That’s just not pragmatic.” I grow defiant. “If leave the ninety-nine behind to save the one, I put the ninety-nine at risk. And the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Just sayin’.”

“Yeah,” Jesus sighs heavily and shakes his head, “you just don’t get it.”

“Well, then, explain it to me! What am I missing?”

“You’re missing the joy,” he says.

Perhaps that’s why finding God can be so difficult: I’m trying to find him through sterile calculation and analysis. Instead, maybe I should start seeking God in those things that can bring me true and perfect joy.

—Bob Burnham is a Secular Franciscan, spiritual director, and author of  Little Lessons from the Saints: 52 Simple and Surprising Ways to See the Saint in You published by Loyola Press. 

Prayer

Lord, you alone are my joy; your Cross is my consolation.

 —Bob Burnham

 

 

 


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November 7, 2018

Lk 14: 25-33

Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’

Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace.

So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Freedom to let go of what we love

The Ignatian practice of indifference helps us understand Jesus’ seemingly harsh message today. Indifference is freedom from anything that impedes our ability to love God, others, and ourselves. This stance creates freedom for that which enables us to love and live fully.

Cultivating indifference requires us to reflect on our relationships, our priorities, and our passions, but not because they are bad or meaningless. Rather, since everything is a gift, we must understand our loves within the context of God’s love. We can be passionate about these gifts while simultaneously being ready to let them go and knowing that God’s love continues flowing.

We should consider, too, that Jesus’ repeated indictments against hoarding possessions are not merely metaphors. Both Jesus and St. Ignatius name materialism as a particularly challenging impediment to discipleship—an attachment that pulls us away from God’s call for us.

What attachments prevent me from feeling free to follow Christ?

—Katie Davis (MDiv, Loyola University Chicago) is a former Jesuit Volunteer/JVC Magis currently working as a Chaplain and Religious Studies teacher at St. Ignatius College Prep. She has served on the Advisory Board for Jesuit Connections and is a member of the Chicago Women’s Team for the Ignatian Spirituality Project. Katie preaches with the project Catholic Women Preach.

Prayer

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,|
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

—Suscipe of St. Ignatius of Loyola

 


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