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May 31, 2019

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lk 1: 39-56

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

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.

Bold Humility

I remind myself that Mary’s willingness to bear a child was not passive. Hers was an active ‘yes,’ and the meekness with which she is often characterized is, at its heart, a bold humility.

By how she sings her Song of Praise, the Magnificat, I know that she is audacious in her actions and her words. Mary is firmly rooted, an echo of the origins of the word humble—humus, Latin for ‘ground.’

She is like Mary Karr’s “great stallion at full gallop,” deft, sensitive and strong as hell.

—Claire Peterson works in the advancement and communications office of the USA Central and Southern Province and is the local organizer for Jesuit Connections – St. Louis.

Prayer

Who The Meek Are Not

         Not the bristle-bearded Igors bent
under burlap sacks, not peasants knee-deep
         in the rice-paddy muck,
nor the serfs whose quarter-moon sickles
         make the wheat fall in waves
they don’t get to eat. My friend the Franciscan
         nun says we misread
that word meek in the Bible verse that blesses them.
         To understand the meek
(she says) picture a great stallion at full gallop
         in a meadow, who—
at his master’s voice—seizes up to a stunned
         but instant halt.
So with the strain of holding that great power
         in check, the muscles
along the arched neck keep eddying,
         and only the velvet ears
prick forward, awaiting the next order.

—Mary Karr, published in Sinners Welcome


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May 30, 2019

Ascension of the Lord (in some dioceses)

Jn 16:16-20

”A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”

They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’?

Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.

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.

Soon

My mother has six grandchildren, ages six and under, who are always asking her questions: “When can I have a snack?” “When can I go swimming?” “When can I come out of timeout?” “When’s my birthday?” Her response is always the same – “soon.” I laughed the first time I heard her say this to the grandchild who wanted a snack at 7:30 a.m.. My mom’s response was, “it doesn’t matter if I say 15 minutes, 5 hours, or a month and a half, ‘soon’ satisfies.” “Soon” is not now, but it’s not never, it’s just soon.

In today’s Gospel, the disciples struggle to understand what Jesus means by “a little while.”  Much like “soon,” a little while indicates that we will need to wait, but it also implies inevitability.  Jesus does not answer his disciples when “they said, ‘What does he mean by this “a little while”?” because there is a difference between God’s “little while” and our “little while.” Especially when we are weeping and mourning, God’s “little while” can seem like a very long while. This is where we are invited to trust God. We trust that our “pain will turn into joy”… soon.

Jackie Schulte is the Dean of Faculty Formation and a history teacher at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

—Excerpt from Patient Trust by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ


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May 29, 2019

Jn 16: 12-15

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to 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.

Things we still do not know

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”

I often struggle to accept this sentiment-not only from God, but those around me. I want to know everything in its entirety immediately and directly from the source. I presume I am ready to listen, to understand, and to act. And yet, this is often not the case, which leaves me feeling vulnerable and fearful of the unknown. What I need to be more mindful of is that I need more time in the presence of the Holy Spirit and those around me. I need to trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit to provide the necessary fruits for me to be able to understand and accept. It is not about knowing, but co-laboring with Jesus and the Paschal Mystery. So with humility, faithful to God’s guidance and providence, I simply desire to be with God and those loved ones around me. I seek to labor in solidarity together in pursuit of the truth the Holy Spirit provides to “bear” with whatever is to come with grace and hope. Amen.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, CO.

Prayer

This mystery is not only the source of all creation, but . . .
This mystery is lovingly and intimately involved in what happens on planet Earth, and . . .
This mystery actively wants humankind to be in right relationship with it, so that we might evolve into the fullness of our destiny.
When the pilgrim is ready the guide appears.

—Margaret Silf, Roots and Wings: The Human Journey from a Speck of Stardust to a Spark of God


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May 28, 2018

Acts 16: 22-34

The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped.

But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in 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.

Primum non nocere

Perhaps the most notable tenet of the Hippocratic Oath is “primum non nocere”- do no harm. Medical students to this day learn that, given an existing problem, it may be better to do nothing than to risk causing more harm than good.

In this dramatic first reading, St. Paul takes the principle a step further: “Do not harm yourself,” he shouts to the despairing jailer.

This exchange challenges us to reflect on how seriously we take the principle of no self-harm. Even if we are not contemplating suicide like the jailer, how often do we punish ourselves internally for mistakes we make in our relationships or work lives? I am so stupid- they should fire me. I am a bad friend- I don’t deserve her.

We should identify these internal put-downs as clear indications of the evil spirit who seeks to destroy our sense of self-worth. Thankfully today’s reading offers us an alternative way of proceeding: one grounded in faith and community: believe in the Lord Jesus. We are all here.

—Dan Dixon, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the Midwest Province currently working at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland to create the Welsh Academy, a grades 6-8 middle school for families of modest economic means.

Prayer

Lord, help me to understand that you are enough, because you are everything I need and more. Remind me that when I feel hopeless, you have hope in me and for me. Remind me that when I don’t have the words to cry out to you, your son Jesus is praying for me, and your Spirit intercedes for me. Let this remind me that I am seen, heard and deeply loved.

When I feel like I don’t matter, remind me that I was created with purpose. When I don’t know or understand why I feel the way I feel – remind me that you know the depth of pain in my heart, in my body and in my being. You know me better than I know myself… and yet you still love me.

Creator who loved me into being, help me to love myself in this same complete way. Amen.

—Adapted from A Prayer for Fighting Suicidal Thoughts

 


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May 27, 2019

Acts 16: 11-15

We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there.

A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

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.

Paying Attention

Choosing what we pay attention to may be the most important decisions we make.  The people and things we choose to see, listen to, and keep within our orbit shape who we are and, consequently, shape the community around us.  

As my faith matures, I realize God calls me to pay attention to people and things that I’d sometimes rather ignore, like my homeless brother standing outside my car at a red light, the need to have a tough conversation with a student, or confronting my shortcomings as a father and husband.  However, as Lydia shows us in today’s first reading, God will open our heart and help guide our attention where it is needed.

Lydia’s response to St. Paul also shows us that well placed attention and sensitive listening welcomes people into community and serves God by creating loving relationships.

To what or to whom is God drawing your attention today?

Nick Rennpage is a Theology teacher and the director of Adult Formation and Mission Integration at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy  

Prayer

Grant me, O Lord, to see everything now with new eyes,
to discern and test the spirits
that help me read the signs of the times,
to relish the things that are yours, and to communicate them to others.
Give me the clarity of understanding that you gave Ignatius.

—Pedro Arrupe, SJ


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May 26, 2019

Acts 14: 1-2, 22-29

The same thing occurred in Iconium, where Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.”

And after they had appointed elders for them in each church, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe. Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. When they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had completed.

When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles. And they stayed there with the disciples for some time.

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.

Guided and renewed by the Spirit

When going through difficult times, there’s the tendency to want to go back to the “good old days.” But there are two features about the good old days: first, they were never as “good” as we remember them; second, there’s no going back. In a church that finds so much beauty in tradition, we Catholics can be nostalgic too.

Today, we’re reminded that the early church faced its own challenges. The debate over circumcision was serious… would the church survive such disagreement? What rules for membership would they agree on? Thankfully, the apostles and elders didn’t look back. Instead, they looked to the future by relying on the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, for direction. Their trust was not in vain.

While disagreements and challenges remain in our Church today, the invitation is to look to the future, to trust in the Holy Spirit, whom God sent in Jesus’ name to guide and renew.

—Travis Russell, SJ is a member of the Jesuits West Province. He will be ordained a priest on June 8, 2019. His first assignment will be at St. Ignatius parish in San Francisco.

Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.

—Traditional prayer


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May 25, 2019

Jn 15: 18-21

”If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.

Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.

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.

What world do you belong to?

The Gospel of John is set apart from the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke.  John’s Gospel speaks to the heart of Jesus – who he was as a person. God sent Jesus into the world as a model; Jesus shows “the way” to the Father.  Jesus’s heart was with people, “I pray for them…”. Jesus implores God to help him move his people to take his words and his life seriously. He is one with his Father, his followers must be one in him. God’s Creation is at stake here.  Jesus is clearly laboring in prayer for the world.

In the words of St. Ignatius, the purpose of The Spiritual Exercises is “to conquer oneself and to regulate one’s life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment.”  This retreat requires one to walk with Jesus through every step of life paying attention to who Jesus was and why he did what he did. At the end of the second week, the retreatant makes an “election”, a decision to give his or her whole self to the Lord.  Less than one hundred percent is not good enough, the Lord wants the whole self, the whole heart.

“May they be one in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me…”   When we make an “election,” a decision to be a better disciple of Christ, a better listener to God’s Spirit in our hearts, we are working  to bring about God’s work. This is not a small thing, God gives us respect and responsibility as co-creators in growing His world.

—Greg Richard has served at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, OH for thirty-three years.  He has been the director of Campus Ministry, Theology teacher, Theology department chair, coach, and Adult Chaplain.  He is now the Vice President for Ignatian Identity.

Prayer

Father, I pray for them: may they be one in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me, Alleluia.

—Jn 17:20-21, from the Communion Antiphon of today’s Mass


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May 24, 2019

Our Lady of the Way

Jn 15: 12-17

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.

You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

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.

Admit Something

Jesus’ commandment is rooted in mutuality: we must turn his love for us toward others. In doing so, I recognize my own need for love and friendship, that I cannot give if I do not also receive. Similarly, the Sufi poet’s command is “Admit something”; confess you are vulnerable and in need of vulnerability in return.

—Claire Peterson works in the advancement and communications office of the USA Central and Southern Province and is the local organizer for Jesuit Connections – St. Louis.

Prayer

With That Moon Language

Admit something: Everyone you see, you say to
them, “Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise
someone would call the cops.

Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us
to connect.

Why not become the one who lives with a full
moon in each eye that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language, what every other
eye in this world is dying to hear?

—Hafiz (1315-1390)


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May 23, 2019

Jn 15: 9-11

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

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.

Remain in My Love

Think of a time, or a place, in which you longed to remain – when you wanted to freeze time so you could stay in that place or savor that moment, just a little bit longer. Take a minute, to sit with that feeling. Now, bring that feeling with you as you move yourself into today’s Gospel.  Jesus invites us to abide, or remain, in his love, and he is very deliberate in helping us understand the “how” and the “why” of remaining in his love. While the words how and why can be used to ask the same question, the answers you’ll get will be very different. For example: “How do you make a cake?” versus “Why did you make a cake?” How asks, “by what means?” And why asks, “for what reason?” When we understand both how and why, we are more likely to “do” – to demonstrate our understanding in concrete and actionable ways.

So, how are we to remain in God’s love? By keeping God’s commandments. Why? So that our “joy may be complete.” Remember that the foundation of this joy is God’s unconditional, eternal, enduring, abiding love for you. Take time today to remain in it.

Jackie Schulte is the Dean of Faculty Formation and a history teacher at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

O holy Heart of Jesus, dwell hidden in my heart, so that I may live only in you and only for you, so that, in the end, I may live with you eternally in heaven.

—St. Claude La Colombière, SJ


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May 22, 2019

Jn 15: 1-8

”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

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.

Remain in him

The Holy Trinity is present in our lives and alive in this passage. Whether it is the creator of the vine, the vine itself, or the spirit from the vine that allows us to grow as branches. All of us are linked and in relationship with God and one another. God remains in me, but do I always choose to remain in him? The honest answer, I pray, is most of the time. This is why I do the Jesuit daily examen prayer at the end of every day. Through the examen, I reflect on the moments during my day when I remained in God and what moments I did not so that everything I am and do in this life is for the greater glory of God (A.M.D.G).

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, CO.

Prayer

Dear Lord, during this Easter Season we prayer for the desire and ability to search for your presence in our everyday lives within our relationships and in all that we do. For it is only through you and with you, can we live a life of unconditional love and hope glorifying your name.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi


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May 31, 2019

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lk 1: 39-56

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

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.

Bold Humility

I remind myself that Mary’s willingness to bear a child was not passive. Hers was an active ‘yes,’ and the meekness with which she is often characterized is, at its heart, a bold humility.

By how she sings her Song of Praise, the Magnificat, I know that she is audacious in her actions and her words. Mary is firmly rooted, an echo of the origins of the word humble—humus, Latin for ‘ground.’

She is like Mary Karr’s “great stallion at full gallop,” deft, sensitive and strong as hell.

—Claire Peterson works in the advancement and communications office of the USA Central and Southern Province and is the local organizer for Jesuit Connections – St. Louis.

Prayer

Who The Meek Are Not

         Not the bristle-bearded Igors bent
under burlap sacks, not peasants knee-deep
         in the rice-paddy muck,
nor the serfs whose quarter-moon sickles
         make the wheat fall in waves
they don’t get to eat. My friend the Franciscan
         nun says we misread
that word meek in the Bible verse that blesses them.
         To understand the meek
(she says) picture a great stallion at full gallop
         in a meadow, who—
at his master’s voice—seizes up to a stunned
         but instant halt.
So with the strain of holding that great power
         in check, the muscles
along the arched neck keep eddying,
         and only the velvet ears
prick forward, awaiting the next order.

—Mary Karr, published in Sinners Welcome


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 30, 2019

Ascension of the Lord (in some dioceses)

Jn 16:16-20

”A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”

They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’?

Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.

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.

Soon

My mother has six grandchildren, ages six and under, who are always asking her questions: “When can I have a snack?” “When can I go swimming?” “When can I come out of timeout?” “When’s my birthday?” Her response is always the same – “soon.” I laughed the first time I heard her say this to the grandchild who wanted a snack at 7:30 a.m.. My mom’s response was, “it doesn’t matter if I say 15 minutes, 5 hours, or a month and a half, ‘soon’ satisfies.” “Soon” is not now, but it’s not never, it’s just soon.

In today’s Gospel, the disciples struggle to understand what Jesus means by “a little while.”  Much like “soon,” a little while indicates that we will need to wait, but it also implies inevitability.  Jesus does not answer his disciples when “they said, ‘What does he mean by this “a little while”?” because there is a difference between God’s “little while” and our “little while.” Especially when we are weeping and mourning, God’s “little while” can seem like a very long while. This is where we are invited to trust God. We trust that our “pain will turn into joy”… soon.

Jackie Schulte is the Dean of Faculty Formation and a history teacher at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

—Excerpt from Patient Trust by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 29, 2019

Jn 16: 12-15

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to 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.

Things we still do not know

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”

I often struggle to accept this sentiment-not only from God, but those around me. I want to know everything in its entirety immediately and directly from the source. I presume I am ready to listen, to understand, and to act. And yet, this is often not the case, which leaves me feeling vulnerable and fearful of the unknown. What I need to be more mindful of is that I need more time in the presence of the Holy Spirit and those around me. I need to trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit to provide the necessary fruits for me to be able to understand and accept. It is not about knowing, but co-laboring with Jesus and the Paschal Mystery. So with humility, faithful to God’s guidance and providence, I simply desire to be with God and those loved ones around me. I seek to labor in solidarity together in pursuit of the truth the Holy Spirit provides to “bear” with whatever is to come with grace and hope. Amen.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, CO.

Prayer

This mystery is not only the source of all creation, but . . .
This mystery is lovingly and intimately involved in what happens on planet Earth, and . . .
This mystery actively wants humankind to be in right relationship with it, so that we might evolve into the fullness of our destiny.
When the pilgrim is ready the guide appears.

—Margaret Silf, Roots and Wings: The Human Journey from a Speck of Stardust to a Spark of God


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May 28, 2018

Acts 16: 22-34

The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped.

But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in 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.

Primum non nocere

Perhaps the most notable tenet of the Hippocratic Oath is “primum non nocere”- do no harm. Medical students to this day learn that, given an existing problem, it may be better to do nothing than to risk causing more harm than good.

In this dramatic first reading, St. Paul takes the principle a step further: “Do not harm yourself,” he shouts to the despairing jailer.

This exchange challenges us to reflect on how seriously we take the principle of no self-harm. Even if we are not contemplating suicide like the jailer, how often do we punish ourselves internally for mistakes we make in our relationships or work lives? I am so stupid- they should fire me. I am a bad friend- I don’t deserve her.

We should identify these internal put-downs as clear indications of the evil spirit who seeks to destroy our sense of self-worth. Thankfully today’s reading offers us an alternative way of proceeding: one grounded in faith and community: believe in the Lord Jesus. We are all here.

—Dan Dixon, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the Midwest Province currently working at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland to create the Welsh Academy, a grades 6-8 middle school for families of modest economic means.

Prayer

Lord, help me to understand that you are enough, because you are everything I need and more. Remind me that when I feel hopeless, you have hope in me and for me. Remind me that when I don’t have the words to cry out to you, your son Jesus is praying for me, and your Spirit intercedes for me. Let this remind me that I am seen, heard and deeply loved.

When I feel like I don’t matter, remind me that I was created with purpose. When I don’t know or understand why I feel the way I feel – remind me that you know the depth of pain in my heart, in my body and in my being. You know me better than I know myself… and yet you still love me.

Creator who loved me into being, help me to love myself in this same complete way. Amen.

—Adapted from A Prayer for Fighting Suicidal Thoughts

 


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May 27, 2019

Acts 16: 11-15

We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there.

A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

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.

Paying Attention

Choosing what we pay attention to may be the most important decisions we make.  The people and things we choose to see, listen to, and keep within our orbit shape who we are and, consequently, shape the community around us.  

As my faith matures, I realize God calls me to pay attention to people and things that I’d sometimes rather ignore, like my homeless brother standing outside my car at a red light, the need to have a tough conversation with a student, or confronting my shortcomings as a father and husband.  However, as Lydia shows us in today’s first reading, God will open our heart and help guide our attention where it is needed.

Lydia’s response to St. Paul also shows us that well placed attention and sensitive listening welcomes people into community and serves God by creating loving relationships.

To what or to whom is God drawing your attention today?

Nick Rennpage is a Theology teacher and the director of Adult Formation and Mission Integration at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy  

Prayer

Grant me, O Lord, to see everything now with new eyes,
to discern and test the spirits
that help me read the signs of the times,
to relish the things that are yours, and to communicate them to others.
Give me the clarity of understanding that you gave Ignatius.

—Pedro Arrupe, SJ


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May 26, 2019

Acts 14: 1-2, 22-29

The same thing occurred in Iconium, where Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.”

And after they had appointed elders for them in each church, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe. Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. When they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had completed.

When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles. And they stayed there with the disciples for some time.

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.

Guided and renewed by the Spirit

When going through difficult times, there’s the tendency to want to go back to the “good old days.” But there are two features about the good old days: first, they were never as “good” as we remember them; second, there’s no going back. In a church that finds so much beauty in tradition, we Catholics can be nostalgic too.

Today, we’re reminded that the early church faced its own challenges. The debate over circumcision was serious… would the church survive such disagreement? What rules for membership would they agree on? Thankfully, the apostles and elders didn’t look back. Instead, they looked to the future by relying on the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, for direction. Their trust was not in vain.

While disagreements and challenges remain in our Church today, the invitation is to look to the future, to trust in the Holy Spirit, whom God sent in Jesus’ name to guide and renew.

—Travis Russell, SJ is a member of the Jesuits West Province. He will be ordained a priest on June 8, 2019. His first assignment will be at St. Ignatius parish in San Francisco.

Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.

—Traditional prayer


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May 25, 2019

Jn 15: 18-21

”If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.

Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.

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.

What world do you belong to?

The Gospel of John is set apart from the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke.  John’s Gospel speaks to the heart of Jesus – who he was as a person. God sent Jesus into the world as a model; Jesus shows “the way” to the Father.  Jesus’s heart was with people, “I pray for them…”. Jesus implores God to help him move his people to take his words and his life seriously. He is one with his Father, his followers must be one in him. God’s Creation is at stake here.  Jesus is clearly laboring in prayer for the world.

In the words of St. Ignatius, the purpose of The Spiritual Exercises is “to conquer oneself and to regulate one’s life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment.”  This retreat requires one to walk with Jesus through every step of life paying attention to who Jesus was and why he did what he did. At the end of the second week, the retreatant makes an “election”, a decision to give his or her whole self to the Lord.  Less than one hundred percent is not good enough, the Lord wants the whole self, the whole heart.

“May they be one in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me…”   When we make an “election,” a decision to be a better disciple of Christ, a better listener to God’s Spirit in our hearts, we are working  to bring about God’s work. This is not a small thing, God gives us respect and responsibility as co-creators in growing His world.

—Greg Richard has served at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, OH for thirty-three years.  He has been the director of Campus Ministry, Theology teacher, Theology department chair, coach, and Adult Chaplain.  He is now the Vice President for Ignatian Identity.

Prayer

Father, I pray for them: may they be one in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me, Alleluia.

—Jn 17:20-21, from the Communion Antiphon of today’s Mass


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May 24, 2019

Our Lady of the Way

Jn 15: 12-17

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.

You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

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.

Admit Something

Jesus’ commandment is rooted in mutuality: we must turn his love for us toward others. In doing so, I recognize my own need for love and friendship, that I cannot give if I do not also receive. Similarly, the Sufi poet’s command is “Admit something”; confess you are vulnerable and in need of vulnerability in return.

—Claire Peterson works in the advancement and communications office of the USA Central and Southern Province and is the local organizer for Jesuit Connections – St. Louis.

Prayer

With That Moon Language

Admit something: Everyone you see, you say to
them, “Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise
someone would call the cops.

Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us
to connect.

Why not become the one who lives with a full
moon in each eye that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language, what every other
eye in this world is dying to hear?

—Hafiz (1315-1390)


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May 23, 2019

Jn 15: 9-11

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

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.

Remain in My Love

Think of a time, or a place, in which you longed to remain – when you wanted to freeze time so you could stay in that place or savor that moment, just a little bit longer. Take a minute, to sit with that feeling. Now, bring that feeling with you as you move yourself into today’s Gospel.  Jesus invites us to abide, or remain, in his love, and he is very deliberate in helping us understand the “how” and the “why” of remaining in his love. While the words how and why can be used to ask the same question, the answers you’ll get will be very different. For example: “How do you make a cake?” versus “Why did you make a cake?” How asks, “by what means?” And why asks, “for what reason?” When we understand both how and why, we are more likely to “do” – to demonstrate our understanding in concrete and actionable ways.

So, how are we to remain in God’s love? By keeping God’s commandments. Why? So that our “joy may be complete.” Remember that the foundation of this joy is God’s unconditional, eternal, enduring, abiding love for you. Take time today to remain in it.

Jackie Schulte is the Dean of Faculty Formation and a history teacher at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

O holy Heart of Jesus, dwell hidden in my heart, so that I may live only in you and only for you, so that, in the end, I may live with you eternally in heaven.

—St. Claude La Colombière, SJ


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May 22, 2019

Jn 15: 1-8

”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

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.

Remain in him

The Holy Trinity is present in our lives and alive in this passage. Whether it is the creator of the vine, the vine itself, or the spirit from the vine that allows us to grow as branches. All of us are linked and in relationship with God and one another. God remains in me, but do I always choose to remain in him? The honest answer, I pray, is most of the time. This is why I do the Jesuit daily examen prayer at the end of every day. Through the examen, I reflect on the moments during my day when I remained in God and what moments I did not so that everything I am and do in this life is for the greater glory of God (A.M.D.G).

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, CO.

Prayer

Dear Lord, during this Easter Season we prayer for the desire and ability to search for your presence in our everyday lives within our relationships and in all that we do. For it is only through you and with you, can we live a life of unconditional love and hope glorifying your name.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi


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