Things Jesuit

WATCH | Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice 2019

Latest from the Jesuit Post - 14 hours 1 min ago

This weekend is the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, the largest annual Catholic social justice gathering in the United States. The Jesuit Post will be helping to run social media coverage of the event throughout the weekend. Make sure to check out TJP’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) as well as the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) for on-going coverage of the event.

America Media will be providing a live stream so that you can join us for all of the main sessions. Check out the links below.

 

Saturday, November 16

6:00 PM ET — Main Stage General Session with Sr. Peggy O’Neill

8:20 p.m. ET – Large scale Breakout Session – Fr. James Martin, S.J. on L.G.B.T. Catholics

9:30 p.m. ET – Prayer for the Jesuit Martyrs

Sunday, November 17

8:15 AM ET — Main Stage General Session #2 with Dr. Marcia Chatelain

2:25 p.m. ET – General Session – General Session #3 with Reyna Montoya

4:30 p.m. ET – Homilist Fr. Brian Paulson – Closing Liturgy

Categories: Things Jesuit

Small Simple Ways to Open Mind, Heart, and Spirit

Ignatian Spirituality - Fri, 11/15/2019 - 04:30

Join Vinita Hampton Wright for an online Advent retreat this December here at IgnatianSpirituality.com. Our retreat theme is “Small Simple Ways to Open Mind, Heart, and Spirit.” Vinita introduces the theme in the video below. There is no need to register for this free retreat. Visit this blog every Monday in December to participate. Or […]

IgnatianSpirituality.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry.

In The Ignatian Adventure, Kevin O’Brien, SJ, follows St. Ignatius’s lead and offers today’s time-strapped individual a unique way of making the Spiritual Exercises in daily life.

Click through to read the full article Small Simple Ways to Open Mind, Heart, and Spirit, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

A Good Place without God?

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Thu, 11/14/2019 - 01:41

Spoiler Alert: To those who haven’t watched the NBC show, The Good Place, and are planning to watch it one day, this article contains spoilers. If you do watch the show but aren’t fully caught up yet (at least through the beginning of the fourth season), then read on!

The Good Place has set itself apart from all other sit-coms past and present. It’s centered around something real. Eternal salvation and its counterpart… eternal damnation. We have followed the characters for four seasons now as they grapple with the question, “how good enough do we have to be to get into the good place?” But, if you’re a person of faith you have probably thought: Where is God in the Good Place

So far, we haven’t yet encountered a divine being who’s responsible for all of creation, the good place, and the bad place. We’ve only met the demons who run the bad place, all of the Janets that act as an afterlife version of Siri, Neil the head of accounting, Jeff the doorman, and Gen the judge. None of them, as far as we know, are gods. 

The lack of a god or gods would explain why there is a fluke in the points system which results in nobody getting into the good place in over 500 years. It would account for all the imperfections that we have seen so far in the afterlife. One could ask, “who cares if there’s no God? At least there’s still the good place!” But what is the point of the good place? Is it simply to reward those who do the most good in their earthly lives? Or is it much more than that?

For the Christian, the end or the goal of life is eternal salvation and the point of eternal salvation is to finally see God face-to-face and to be united with Him forever. It isn’t so that we can have all the unlimited frozen yogurt we could ever want, to be able to fly, or to be able to ask Janet all the questions we didn’t know the answers to while on earth. Sure, all of that sounds awesome and it would be fun, but the point of eternal salvation is to be with God. 

For many believers, it would be a huge let down if they died and learned that God doesn’t exist; that they spent their earthly lives anticipating to finally see God only to find out that He’s not there. Could we really be happy in that kind of good place? Or would it basically be Earth 2.0 and our hearts would still be restless? 

All we’ve seen of the good place is the inside of the mail center, but just from that short glimpse we know how unappealing it is. Every single person in the good place is over-the-top nice to the point that they let others basically walk all over them. The committee, so dedicated to doing their due diligence, will spend hundreds of years just selecting the right committee members to investigate the case of the bad place tampering with the points system. Even if one were to get into the good place, it wouldn’t take long for them to probably lose their sanity.

The reality is, nothing and nobody other than God could ever satisfy the desires of the human heart. The good place would not be a good place without the God who made it. While the writers of The Good Place have given us a nice idea of what eternal life could look like, the reality is heaven is still something beyond and better than our wildest imaginations. 

Who knows, maybe in this final season of The Good Place, our friends who are working so hard to save humanity’s chances of eternal life will finally meet their maker and all these things will be sorted out. We shall see. I at least hope they do.

 

Categories: Things Jesuit

Resistance in the Spiritual Life

Ignatian Spirituality - Wed, 11/13/2019 - 05:30

Resistance is a term that is often used in descriptions of spiritual movements. In its simplest terms, it is used to describe when we resist God’s action, but what exactly does that look like? We can resist many things to which God might be calling us. For example: We can resist change, even though change […]

IgnatianSpirituality.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry.

Inner Compass by Margaret Silf is a practical and experience-based guide to greater self-knowledge and spiritual awareness through incorporating the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola.

Click through to read the full article Resistance in the Spiritual Life, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

The Bronx is Burning

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Wed, 11/13/2019 - 02:33

The Bronx is burning. Not with arsen or violence, but with the love of God and the prayers of his faithful ones. 

The Bronx was the borough on fire. At least that’s what earned its reputation in the 70’s and 80’s. When Americans turned on New York Baseball, they saw aerial views of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx surrounded by neighborhoods of buildings literally on fire. “The Bronx is burning” became a catchphrase for outsiders and a reality for people living in the epicenter of poverty, crime, and arson. There, in the South Bronx, wedged between warehouses and drug rehabilitation centers, stands a medieval, French-style monastery of cloistered Dominican nuns.

I met the sisters on my first day of ministry at St. Ignatius School, which is across the street from their monastery. First I heard the Angelus bells ringing, echoing throughout the neighborhood. Surprised and confused, I looked out the window and saw a beautiful steeple piercing the pale blue sky and asked, “What is that?” The principal smiled and said proudly, “Those are the nuns! They helped start our school. You should go introduce yourself, you’ll love them.” After school I knocked on the door and was greeted by Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart, who immediately called the other sisters, and I received a round of warm, prayerful hugs. They gave me a tour of their monastery and shared its history, and I quickly learned that hospitality is at the core of their charism. 

130 years ago the Archbishop of NYC asked the sisters to establish a convent in the Bronx, which was then farmland. Today the Bronx looks very different, but their mission remains the same: to pray for the church. The Dominican Sisters of Corpus Christi Monastery are cloistered and contemplative, which means their life is an ordered rhythm of prayer and work in silence and quiet reflection. They spend their entire lives within the monastery, praying for the church and the world. Specifically, their mission is to pray for the clerical leaders of our Church: Pope Francis, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, and all priests and seminarians in the Archdiocese of NY. They pray for an increase in men to respond to God’s call, for the priests’ sanctification, and for all the people to whom they minister. Everyday, each sister chooses a different priest or seminarian and offers all her prayers for him through her work and devotions. They proudly call themselves the spiritual mothers of the Church.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan (of the Archdiocese of New York) with Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart (right).

I couldn’t believe it, these nuns are praying for me, for us! Class pictures of seminarians and religious cover the walls. Candles are lit next to beautiful statues and holy icons (many of which they paint themselves), and sweet incense fills the hallway. This is a house of love. And like all good mothers, they love their children to the point of prayers, even tears.

Just over one year ago the sex abuse crisis hit. Catholic priests and bishops made headlines as perpetrators of abuse and cover-ups. Detailed reports from religious communities and dioceses are now being released and it feels like the world is watching and saying, “the Church is burning”. It has evoked righteous anger, profound sadness, and confusion.  The scandal is deeply upsetting, and we’re still wondering how to heal. I turn to our spiritual mothers. Former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick and other high-profile abusers, have long histories in the Archdiocese of New York. His is just one of many names that have been on the sisters’ daily prayer list, and is now listed for crimes and cover-ups. 

When asked how the sex abuse crisis affects her and the community, Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart’s typically joyful smile turned into a soft face of disappointment. She has read the reports and knows what evils were committed. “It is devastating, [she takes a long pause] but a majority of priests are holy and faithful.” Her smile grows again as she names many good priests in her life, many like fathers, some as brothers, and all as sons. Priests and religious throughout NYC take turns celebrating mass for the sisters. The monastery even hosts a small cottage for priests and religious to make retreats. From inside their cloister, the sisters experience the breadth of the clergy that most Catholics never have the chance to do. They meet the men for whom they pray, hear their experiences, and ask for prayer requests, so they can bring faces and stories to God. So when news of the clergy sex abuse crisis broke, Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart says their first response was simple: “we intensified our prayer.”

This is not the first time the sisters have been surrounded by darkness. As their neighborhood crumbled around them in the 70s and 80s, the sisters did not leave. They remained to pray for the world and be a sign of Christ’s light and love. Over time, their prayers were answered. Today, the South Bronx is a center of education, growth, innovation, and hope. Community gardens and street art color the neighborhood and have given rise to a new catch phrase that Bronx citizens are proud to say, “The Bronx is blooming.” 40 years ago this would have been unimaginable. But nothing is impossible for God. That’s the mystery of the cross and the hope of the resurrection. These women are living proof that God keeps His promises. Including His promise to remain with His Church. 

Street art in the South Bronx that says, “You don’t have to move out of your neighborhood to live in a better one.”

I playfully joked with Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart that I noticed the Jesuits missing from their wall of prayer — we need prayers too! She smiled and laughed, promising to start praying right away, on the condition that I promised to give her a list of Jesuits in formation! These women are now my friends, spiritual sisters and mothers. I join them for mass every Monday before teaching at St. Ignatius School. Our interactions are quiet and brief, but their love is real and palpable. Knowing that they pray for me is consolation in moments of darkness and a reminder that everything is a gift from God, especially my vocation. These women are my formators as much as any theology professor: they make me a better Jesuit, and they’re helping me become a better priest.

But most of us don’t live in beautiful monasteries with daily eucharist and interaction with plenty of good and holy priests and religious. We live busy lives with complicated relationships to each other and the church. What are we supposed to do? Whatever we do, we can’t do it alone. Did you know you can send the Jesuits a prayer request and a Jesuit will pray for you in private devotion and at mass? Check it out here! We, the Church, the mystical body of Christ, are a family. We are the children of God and He has not left us orphans. 1

It doesn’t always feel like it, so let’s try the Dominican recipe for hope, because it works and it’s simple: God, Eucharist, and community. 

Trust in God the father who never disappoints. Gaze at the Eucharist and see Jesus who never abandons. And embrace community where love is incarnate: pray for one another. We are just beginning our slow and painful process of healing. 

Jesus tells us “I came to set the world on fire and how I wish it were already burning!”2 There’s a flame of hope in the Bronx, let’s pray for it to spread. 3

-//-

Photos/Courtesy of the author.

Categories: Things Jesuit

What Can the Bishops Take From the Border Mass?

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Mon, 11/11/2019 - 23:01

The USCCB is currently meeting in Baltimore, where they will deliberate among other things about who they want to lead them. Still more, they will deliberate over how they want their leadership to confront the pressing issues of our time. 

As they do so, I hope they pray over the example of three of their brother bishops last week at the border. Last week three bishops, including one from Mexico, offered a powerful counter-witness to the turmoil surrounding immigration at the southern border. Bishops Mark Seitz, Ricardo Ramirez, and Jose Guadalupe Torres Campos celebrated mass on the border between the United States and Mexico. The Mass was not near the border, nor in a nearby parish, but on the border itself: right over the Rio Grande river. 

It’s the same place that has been pathologized in the nation’s political discourse, accompanied by major policy changes. It’s the space that’s become a touchstone for the nation’s politics, media coverage over the past two years, and, most importantly, the marker across which many hope to cross. That’s where we had Mass. 

The liturgy there was not for the government, nor for anyone who might wield the area as a platform for political ascendency. It was for the binational and tri-state (New Mexico, Texas, Chihuahua) community taken hostage by people who do not know them. And because it was All Souls day, the Mass was especially for the many who have died trying to reach this river and find a new life. 

Two things were surprising for me. The first surprise was how rapidly the border is changing. In my memory, it was a part of the background where my life took place, a bridge I crossed regularly during my childhood in the Rio Grande Valley. Now it has become a place where families are separated, where detention centers earn infamy for inhumane conditions.      

The second surprise had to do with God. And God is always surprising. 

Christ is always surprising when walking toward the nerve of conflict. The Father is surprising in anointing the mission of Jesus. The way Christ walks toward conflict and pain is wondrous. I found myself surprised like this many times during my recent, brief visit to El Paso. The three bishops, one of whom recently wrote a remarkable pastoral letter on racism and another on migration, consecrated the Eucharist, for both countries, in a site that has been a place of disappointment for people coming, of fear for those supporting a militarization of the area, and of mission for those dedicated to relief efforts. 

I met people dedicated to helping migrants who renewed my wonder at the way Jesus approaches a margin. Several were attorneys. I met a Jesuit who represented the Jesuit Refugee Service at the United Nations in Geneva and was the program’s director in Zambia. Before, when he lived in El Paso, he provided legal assistance to battered women from Mexico. 

I met an attorney who works for the Diocese’s Migration and Refugee Services. As a child, her mother was in the process toward being deported, until they went to the Diocese for help. Now she’s a part of that help, someone who knows immigration law through and through. 

I met an immigration attorney who is a Maryknoll Lay Missioner and works on asylum cases as a part of Las Americas Refugee Asylum Project. When I asked what gave her hope and where she finds God, she said, “Where don’t I find God?” Then she reiterated what someone told her. A mother and daughter, traveling through Guatemala and Mexico, told her, “there’s always someone willing to share food with you. We never went hungry.”

I think the presence of one thing decides whether or not you can look at the border without despair: a love made personal for the people that are seeking to cross, and a love for the people of El Paso and Juarez that continue to do what they can to help. That love was palpable in the people who are on the ground giving their lives to those whose stories echo the ones we’ve heard in the headlines. 

Both those who risk everything to cross and those who work to help them wear a courage that’s hard to miss. It’s reminiscent of Thomas Aquinas’s description of courage: “strength in hope.”

If you lose hope that the situation at the border can improve, it would be because you haven’t really seen this binational community: a community who suffered a hate crime that claimed twenty-two lives and yet continues to give to those who have nothing. 

Without seeing how lovable the people on the border are, how much hope enlivens the courage of those seeking to cross, you miss everything. You miss the faces of the people who, like Abraham, risked their lives by leaving their home, yearning to be “free to worship him without fear” (Lk 1:74).

Without hope, you might not notice a story like the one Fr. Rafael Garcia told me, a Jesuit priest who is a chaplain at several of the ICE detention centers. He says Mass at a hybrid shelter-detention facility for unaccompanied minors. A boy among them asked for baptism and first communion. Not too long after, this kid, living in the facility, was driven to Sacred Heart Catholic Church along with some of the other children. They had a Mass there, and everything that we believe that happens under the signs of the sacraments happened. Among a group of unaccompanied minors in custody, one was baptized and received his first communion. And then they celebrated with cake in the rectory. 

I hope you see something beautiful in that, because this kid did. 

Appropriately, the second reading for the border Mass was from the first letter of John: “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him” (1 Jn. 2:1). 

To the extent that you do not know Jesus Christ, you do not know these people, many of whom have fled for fear of their lives, but keep hoping. Nor would you know the people spending their lives to help, and encountering the face of God.

In a time when the nation’s eyes are on the border, the U.S. Bishops have an opportunity to keep their eyes on the faces of the people who are often neglected. After my trip to the border, I pray they do so. I pray they demonstrate courage made bold by hope. 

Categories: Things Jesuit

To Labor and Not to Seek Reward

Ignatian Spirituality - Mon, 11/11/2019 - 05:30

We’ve invited our dotMagis bloggers to reflect on the individual lines of the Prayer for Generosity, attributed to St. Ignatius. A few months ago, I was invited to give a retreat for a large group of ministry colleagues that I admire. Many of these colleagues were part of my own formation. In the weeks and […]

IgnatianSpirituality.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry.

Inner Compass by Margaret Silf is a practical and experience-based guide to greater self-knowledge and spiritual awareness through incorporating the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola.

Click through to read the full article To Labor and Not to Seek Reward, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

The Body of Christ at the Border

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Sun, 11/10/2019 - 23:01

[On All Souls’ Day, hundreds gathered from Mexico and the U.S. for the annual Border Mass in the Rio Grande Canal between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez.]

Margin: The edge or border of something. You know it by the heavy black line scratched in the landscape by the victors of a war of conquest, both forgotten and never-ending, enforced today by a towering steel scar that sneers, “You don’t belong to each other.” At the margin two things meet. Do they kiss, or must their contact like tectonic plates cause friction and quaking?   

But, a margin is also a space. The open space on the edge of a page that is intentionally left blank. A void, the emptiness of which resists being filled to protect the lines, the ruled pages. It’s no man’s land. A space where no soul lingers long. What good could come from here? What could fill this great chasm we’ve placed between us and… us?

A margin is, I have discovered, a space where we can stand. Together. Where grace can enter in and transform a not-so-grand, mired and muddied ditch marred with razor wire into the banquet table in the Father’s House, where there are indeed many dwelling places. The table is a bridge where thanksgiving happens because the Body of Christ spans the gap. And we receive.

A sign of peace on the periphery: Peace and unity fill the space with the friendly flap of wings—enough to get a glimpse of the glory of the Body of Christ—until they flit back into the darkness of their respective wildernesses. 

 

A voice sings out in the desert: 

Basta ya de violencia. No puedo aguantar más. 

Basta  ya de matanzas. Las muertes no nos dan la paz.

 

The voice is sweet, innocent. A little girl lulling death to sleep with her enchanting lament. Gathering the voices of all who thirst: 

 

Basta ya de divisiones, el odio nos separa más.

Basta ya de fronteras, los muros no nos dan la paz.

¿Verdad? Basta ya de injusticias. ¡Escucha, deseo paz! 

 

“Enough of divisions, hate separates more. 

Enough with borders, walls do not give us peace. 

Isn’t it true? Enough with injustice. Listen, I desire peace!”

Credit: Andrea Buschkoetter, St. Louis University

Categories: Things Jesuit

One-Minute Homily: “The God of the Living”

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Sun, 11/10/2019 - 02:00

We don’t LIE down quietly, we LAY down our lives to follow the living God. Today, Fr. Joe Simmons, SJ, mixes a grammar lesson with a reflection on the God of the living in this week’s One-Minute Homily. Based on the readings for Sunday, November 10.

What’s the difference between lie down and lay down?   Hi, I’m Father Joe Simmons, and this is my one-minute grammar lesson /homily. 

My Catholic grade school teachers did a great job of instilling in us proper word usage.  While I lie on the couch, I lay down my backpack on the table.  The verb to lie takes no direct object; the verb ‘to lay’ requires taking action.  

In today’s Gospel, the Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection after death, try to trick Jesus with an elaborate hypothetical question about seven brothers all dying in succession but married to the same woman.  If there is an afterlife, then which of those brothers is she married to after death?

Jesus refutes them with their own Scripture: Moses himself called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob “not the God of the dead, but of the living.”  In the face of trials and suffering, we do not merely lie down in quiet resignation. Rather, like the seven other brothers we hear about – from the first reading, in the second book of Maccabees – those who trust in God’s covenant happily lay down their lives, knowing that neither death – nor marriage – is the end of the story of life in God.  

Goethe wrote, “Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.”  So when life throws you suffering and trials, don’t lie down and take it. Rather lay down your life, take up your cross, and follow Christ, the living God.

Categories: Things Jesuit

What Do I Really Want?

Ignatian Spirituality - Fri, 11/08/2019 - 05:30

The question to be constantly asked in decision-making is “what do I really want?” Deep down, that’s what God wants too. God wants what is best for us. This isn’t something repugnant, or burdensome, or sad, or difficult. The way of life that God desires for us is the way of life we desire. “What […]

IgnatianSpirituality.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry.

Inner Compass by Margaret Silf is a practical and experience-based guide to greater self-knowledge and spiritual awareness through incorporating the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola.

Click through to read the full article What Do I Really Want?, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Alone on a Twin Sized Bed

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Fri, 11/08/2019 - 01:13

I have a small confession to make. See, for the most part, Jesuits get their own rooms. But every once in a blue moon, we’ll have to share a room when we travel. And if the beds are different sizes, I will always graciously offer the larger to my companion, pretending as if it’s some minor sacrifice for me to take the smaller. But that’s not true. The fact is, I hate sleeping in anything larger than a twin bed. The only thing all that extra space does is remind me how empty that place will be next to me, for the rest of my life. 

Celibacy hits all of us in religious life in different ways. Yet we all, in one way or another, at some time or another, have to deal with the loneliness that it brings up in us. That’s not to say the gift of our celibate chastity isn’t truly a wonderful thing (more on that later). But as I said to a spiritual director, “Yes, I know I’m in a relationship with Jesus. But I can’t hug God. Hold hands with God. When I wake up in the morning, I’m lying by myself in my bed.”

You look so defeated, lying there in your new twin sized bed

With a single pillow underneath your single head

I guess you decided that that old queen was more space than you would need

Now it’s in the alley behind your apartment with a sign that says it’s free

When I first really listened to Death Cab for Cutie’s song, “Your New Twin Sized Bed,” I was with my vow classmates in rural Alaska, the summer or 2018. The villages, though far from the conveniences I had grown accustomed to, offered a boisterous joy and a persistent hope. Further, I had not seen my vow classmates for several months and was delighted to share space and jokes with all of them again. I was with people I loved, doing work that was rewarding, and learning from many elders (Jesuit and indigenous). And then I heard this song one night as I was trying to fall asleep, and I just began to cry.

You used to think that someone would come along

And lay beside you in a space that they belong

But the other side of the mattress and box springs stayed like new

What’s the point of holding onto what never gets used?

Grief, too, hits us in different ways. In an unexpected moment, I felt myself grieve for that particular joy of romance. For years, I had been holding onto this little hope that I would somehow meet the person of my dreams. It wasn’t because I was unhappy or unfulfilled as a Jesuit; it was just that dream that I think all of us have carried in one way or another. To meet that one special person that I would grow old with, who would always be by my side, who would know me completely and love me unconditionally. And I would be the same to them. And I finally had to let go. As my spiritual director told me, after I shared about my loneliness, “You will never be the most important person in someone else’s life.”

One of the first lessons I’ve learned as a Jesuit is not to run away from those experiences. Part of me quickly went to rationalizing my grief away: “I’m just tired.” “I just miss my family.” And another part of me threw up those great barriers of denial: “I shouldn’t be feeling this way.” “I’m actually happy, so this can’t be right.” And then, once I stopped the circumlocutions, I realized I had just said goodbye to that little dream I had carried in the back of my soul for quite a long time.

It’s like you’re in some kind of hurry to say goodbye, say goodbye, say goodbye

You look so defeated lying there in your new twin sized bed

You look so defeated lying there in your new twin sized bed

Yes, sometimes I lie defeated in my bed. The loneliness doesn’t disappear. But, a little more each year, I’ve become comfortable in that bed. I’ve spent my grief, and have found incredible communities who understand that pain. And I still continue to fall in love.

People often think that because I’m celibate, because I will wake up alone for the rest of my life, I have to say goodbye to that part of me that loves. And I’m willing to bet that would be simpler. But I don’t want to live my life that way. My vow of chastity means that I will hold onto and use my love properly, not bury it and pretend it can’t hurt me anymore.

Since that night in Alaska, I haven’t stopped falling in love. But I have stopped grieving for that dream. I’ve said goodbye to what won’t be, and have begun looking at to what can be. I won’t find intimacy falling asleep next to the person I love. But it’s still there. I’ve found it in my community, over late-night milkshakes. I’ve found it in a friend’s kitchen, as we discussed politics and marriage and how we’ve grown up together. I’ve found it playing chess with a man desperately trying to get off drugs and off the street. I’ve found it in the armchair near my bed, looking out over the city, as I ask God to let me see the world with the eyes of Christ.

The love I’ve always wanted is around me. It just doesn’t look like I dreamed it would.

 

Categories: Things Jesuit

Welcome to 5G: The Information Buffet

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Wed, 11/06/2019 - 23:01

Our appetite for information has been steadily increasing over the past decade. And with 5G networks launching in cities around the United States, the buffet is officially open. Just like eating our favorite foods, consuming information can be a very pleasurable experience. Netflix shows provide us with laughter, intriguing worlds, and characters to fall in love with. Reading news from around the world helps us feel more connected as a global community. Social networking allows us to keep in touch with people we haven’t seen in years. 5G will make these experiences even more accessible and immediate.

When I worked as a network engineer at a major wireless carrier, I got to experience firsthand the preparations that were being made for 5G. While it will take some time before 5G reaches its full potential, this leap in technology will affect anyone with an Internet connection. One of the most appealing and immediately noticeable aspects of 5G will be the vast increase in data speeds thanks to its use of millimeter wave  or “mmWave” technology. (Not all 5G will run on mmWave, but all 5G users will experience increased speeds nonetheless.) Because mmWave utilizes higher frequencies and larger bandwidths than 4G, it can send larger amounts of data at faster rates than ever before, although this will only be viable in densely populated environments. Early tests of urban 5G networks are showing download speeds up to 1 GB per second, which is fast enough to download an entire season of a Netflix show in under a minute! Thanks to 5G, you won’t have to wait for your favorite things.

When we stand before the buffet, the size of the plate is often the only thing that limits how much we consume. And when the plate size increases tenfold, it becomes frighteningly easy to keep piling on the food without considering our appetite or the implications of eating that much. The more convenient data consumption becomes, the less likely it is that we will take a break to reflect on what we’ve just seen or read before moving on to the next piece of information. What will tell us to hit “stop” on the “next episode” countdown? How will we know when X’ing out of a browser is a better suggestion than any of the suggested articles? When will we stop looking at carefully staged and edited pictures of someone else’s life and take a closer look at our own?

Information consumption is not inherently beneficial to our growth as individuals and as a society. Binge-watching every season of a show can be an escape from confronting our responsibilities. Reading every article you can find about conflict in the Middle East may broaden your perspective, but it can also blind you to the plights of your neighbors. Relating to others through a screen diminishes your ability to have intimate conversations with the person sitting across from you.

Ultimately, watching more Netflix or reading more thought pieces will not make us happier. The hunger that drives us is not satisfied by mere consumption, but by the reflective and fruitful use of what we consume. If we are to make the most of 5G’s capacity for faster access to data, we need to make sure we make the most of the data we consume. When you watch Netflix, ask what the creators are trying to tell you. Consider how a news piece affects you and how you respond to it. Remember that social media will never give us the full picture of ourselves or anyone else. Approaching data with a discerning mind and using it effectively will be crucial if we are to avoid growing sick at the 5G buffet.

The capabilities of 5G go far beyond faster data speeds, and much of it deserves an examination before we dive into the future it offers. In my next article, I will look at how the development of smart cities will use massive amounts of data and the Internet of things to create a whole new world of possibilities.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Yes, But…

Ignatian Spirituality - Wed, 11/06/2019 - 05:30

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” —St. Ambrose Monday She: I hate my job. He: Yes, but at least you’ve got a job! And it pays well. She: Yeah, but with gas prices going up, I need a good salary. He: Do you own your own car? She: Yeah, but the […]

IgnatianSpirituality.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry.

Inner Compass by Margaret Silf is a practical and experience-based guide to greater self-knowledge and spiritual awareness through incorporating the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola.

Click through to read the full article Yes, But…, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

A Prayer of Life

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Wed, 11/06/2019 - 02:33

I miss running through cool grass with summer hardened bare feet. Light blue sky fading as we run yelling into the night air in total elation.

Boundaries between my house and their house evaporate. Everything is ordered only to unproductive, silly, loud, glorious play. 

“Ghost in the graveyard!” She yells, my best friend. I love her.

Running, running with nothing in mind but the visceral present tearing open every moment to show me what I was born from and for. Now, racing with my skinny, speedy legs through metal gates, over fences, around play sets, through bushes, under trees. Pure. And, under that dark blue dusk sky meant for this moment and nothing else. 

I knew freedom then. But now, like my Van Gogh inspired painting from 4th grade where I discovered that I could make something beautiful, I’ve lost it. In the room with my bed I lie on crying because when people tell me to just “be myself” I don’t know how. 

My freedom piled over by inevitable relentless snickering jousts at school. More of myself slipping away trying to protect the little space of dignity I had left after bullies stole me from myself. I didn’t know that could happen. Cruel, innocent children as channels of oppressive evil in an old gym playing basketball.

“Where have you hidden Yourself,

And abandoned me in my groaning, O my Beloved?

…I ran after You, crying; but You were gone.” 1

Later, a friend saved me. She wrapped her heart around me just because she wanted to. She was that innocent child too, but she brought me back home. She taught me again that I was someone to be loved. She was the same as the cool summer grass.

Can’t you still see the stars on another summer night, your chest breathing up and down into that same sky conspiring to make you overwhelmed with it all.

Can’t you feel the warm tears streaming down your face when you hug your mom because you can’t hold in your own sadness anymore? Or the first time a friend knew everything and chose to love you because of it.

You know it — those moments that rip open life to reveal depths which transcend whatever you thought you knew, or could do, or could receive. 2

Can you remember it now, kneeling on the hardwood floor as you pray? Can you remember it when your soul is dry and tired for so long that you don’t know if it’s real anymore? When all you can see is the cracked floor in front of you, and all you can feel is your feet slowly falling asleep as you kneel. 

Remember love: cliche, unapproachable. Groped at by words as in-eloquent as the word “love.” Forgotten by hardened hearts determined to let nothing in but something worth their critical mind’s attention. 3  Their “educated” and functional mind unwilling to listen to the voice of the ragged person on the street praising God to everyone for — literally — “God knows why”. 

Love everything mundane, pointless, boring, ugly, unworthy. Here is love drawn in to its purest expression on faces stripped of anything but what pure eyes can love.

Isaiah knew, telling us, “He had no majestic bearing to catch our eye, no beauty to draw us to him. He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, knowing pain, like the one from whom you turn your face, spurned, and we held him in no esteem.” He —  capital “H” — He saves us.

Is this enough for me? Do I dare demand more? Slay your prideful heart and feel the grass under your feet again. It is Holy, you are Holy. Let go. Or…Be true to this, no matter what comes. 

-//-

Photo/Trinity Kubassek from Pexels

Categories: Things Jesuit

Ask Iggy: “What Does Magis Mean?

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 02:00

Today we celebrate the Feast of All Saints and Blesseds of the Society of Jesus, plus it’s International Jesuit Vocations Day. No matter what our vocation is in life, we are called to live for the MAGIS. You’ve probably seen that term if you’ve been around Jesuit institutions, but what does it really mean? Today we go a little deeper into this small, but powerful (and often misunderstood) Latin word.

Categories: Things Jesuit

To Toil and Not to Seek for Rest

Ignatian Spirituality - Mon, 11/04/2019 - 05:30

We’ve invited our dotMagis bloggers to reflect on the individual lines of the Prayer for Generosity, attributed to St. Ignatius. When I first met my now-husband, he was about to go on a trip to see his sister in Colorado. While he was there, he hiked the Manitou Incline. This steep, mile-long hike is along old railway ties […]

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Explore best practices from a 450-year-old company that changed the world in Heroic Leadership by Chris Lowney.

Click through to read the full article To Toil and Not to Seek for Rest, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Kanye’s Call to the King: Complicated and Controversial

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Mon, 11/04/2019 - 01:19

Kanye’s complex. He’s battled mental illness and is one of the most popular and revolutionary hip-hop artists. He wears MAGA hats and sells his Jesus is King crewnecks for $250 dollars. He has spoken out against how pornography has harmed him and he asked his collaborators at times to not have premarital sex while they worked on his new album. He married Kim Kardashian in 2014 and he praises family values, and he has proclaimed that he is “unquestionably, undoubtedly, the greatest human artist of all time.” He used to call himself “Yeezus,” but now he’s singing “Jesus is King” in his newest album. 

We are all confused. The Christian community has come to anything but a census about Kanye’s album and new character. Some are comparing his “theology” to Martin Luther, or his emphasis on the Sabbath to be in the same line of thought as Pope Benedict XVI. Others think he “internalizes the religious entitlement that props up the wealthy and powerful.” 

There is undoubtedly a strain of prosperity gospel running through the album, notably on tracks God Is where Kanye raps, “How you get so much favor on your side? Accept Him as your Lord and Savior, I replied,” and on Water where he asks Jesus to “give us wealth.” Perhaps Kanye is talking about spiritual favor and wealth, but in a recent conversation with James Cordon, Kanye shared that God is “using me to show off because last year I made 115 million dollars and still ended up 35 million dollars in debt. This year, I looked up and I got 68 million dollars returned to me on my tax returns” as if being in service of Christ is bringing monetary success. I’m sure all of my holy, high school theology-teaching-friends might disagree.

It’s not difficult to understand why so many are doubting Kanye’s conversion. The lyrics throughout the album are more like a shot of sugar that makes you feel good for a moment rather than rich, soul-nourishing, spiritual truths, and it makes me question the depth of his conversion. He is making loads of money off of Jesus’s name, and he’s receiving the publicity his ego seems to desire. Fed up with a portrayal of Christ I don’t completely believe in, I want to run to Jesus, and say “look what this guy is doing your holy name!”

Then I remember John asked Jesus a similar question, “‘Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.’ Jesus replied, ‘Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me’” (Mark 9:38). 

Yes, Kanye’s flawed, and no, I don’t support all of what Kanye is preaching, but he is proclaiming the kingship of Jesus Christ, and there is merit in that. His song Selah features a jaw-dropping choir belting a repeated series of “hallelujahs,” and the album ends with Kanye singing, “every knee shall bend, every tongue confess, Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord.” One of my favorite bars asks, “what if eve made apple juice? You gon’ do what Adam do? Or say baby let’s put this back on the tree cause we have everything we need.” While his “theology” may not be flawless and his character saintly, it is important for us to remember that Jesus can call those who we least expect. Jesus called Matthew, a tax collector, and Peter, a fisherman. I could see him calling Kanye, a rapper. If you haven’t noticed, God’s funny like that.

We can judge Kanye and his conversion or lack thereof, but we’ll never know the purity of his intentions or sincerity of heart. But for all of us who consider ourselves to be followers of Christ, I think there is one question that cuts to the sincerity of our belief: will you follow Christ to the end, to the crucifix, when all earthly possessions and pleasures fade away?

Let’s pray that Kanye and each one of us may say “yes” to Christ’s invitation to serve and follow Him to the end.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user profzucker

Categories: Things Jesuit

One-Minute Homily: “Zacchaeus and Trees to Jesus”

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Sun, 11/03/2019 - 02:00

A tree helped Zacchaeus encounter Jesus. Who are the trees in your life that help you do the same? Uli Covarrubias, SJ, reflects in this week’s One-Minute Homily. Based on the readings for Sunday, November 3.

What does a tree have in common with a disciple?

More than we might expect.

Hi, I’m Uli Covarrubias, and this is my one-minute reflection.

I was talking to a fellow Jesuit who told me about a prayerful experience he had once while walking through the woods. Looking up he thought:

“Trees are strong. They offer shelter and protection. They weather winds and storms and through it all, become stronger and more rooted in their life-giving source.”

“I want to be like those trees,” he said.

The story of Zacchaeus shows us that trees can also facilitate an encounter with Jesus.

From its very beginning, the Church has relied on disciples to hand down the faith, and like the tree in today’s gospel, to help others to see Christ.

We stand on the shoulders, or if you will, the branches of giants, holy men and women who, often through adversity have stood strong and rooted in a faith that is life-giving, a faith that offers us a way to see Christ.

As we gratefully remember those who have served as trees in our faith-life, perhaps we can pray that we might too be like trees for those who are still awaiting an encounter.

Categories: Things Jesuit

How Do You Want Others to Remember You?

Ignatian Spirituality - Fri, 11/01/2019 - 05:30

Let’s consider our own legacy—what people will remember about us when we’re gone. You might need pen and paper for this. If you died today, how would people describe your life? There’s no time to do anything differently—you’ve said and done all you can. Now all that’s left is the impression you made on others. […]

IgnatianSpirituality.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry.

Explore best practices from a 450-year-old company that changed the world in Heroic Leadership by Chris Lowney.

Click through to read the full article How Do You Want Others to Remember You?, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Reflecting on the Beatitudes

Ignatian Spirituality - Wed, 10/30/2019 - 05:30

On All Saints Day, the Gospel reading is Matthew 5:1–12, the Beatitudes. That makes it a good day to review some reflections our dotMagis bloggers have shared on the Beatitudes. Blessed Are Those in the Crowd by Lisa Kelly The Beatitudes Examen by Vinita Hampton Wright Holiness, the Beatitudes, and Discernment by Tim Muldoon Living […]

IgnatianSpirituality.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry.

Approach the Examen in fresh ways with Reimagining the Ignatian Examen by Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ.

Click through to read the full article Reflecting on the Beatitudes, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

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