Things Jesuit

Living a Resurrection Life

Ignatian Spirituality - Mon, 04/13/2020 - 05:30

Here in Seattle, when the first restrictions came down, barring us from Mass for a few weeks, I said to my husband, “This Easter is going to be the best ever, you know, besides the first one.” I imagined how glorious it would be to come out of isolation to celebrate with my Church. Yet […] ® is a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry.

In A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer, Jim Manney introduces the Examen as the prayer that dramatically altered his perception of prayer and the way he prayed.

Click through to read the full article Living a Resurrection Life, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Jesus Visits His Mother After the Resurrection | One-Minute Homily

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Sun, 04/12/2020 - 02:48

Who wouldn’t visit their mom after being away for a while? In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius has us imagine Jesus visiting Mary, his mother, first after the resurrection. Take a moment to imagine the intense joy of this resurrection encounter. Happy Easter!

Jesus is Risen, alleluia!

I’m Fr Joe Laramie and this is my One-Minute Homily.

This Easter we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. For St Ignatius Loyola, the Resurrected Jesus appeared first to His mother. Ignatius describes this scene in the Spiritual Exercises. Though not mentioned in the New Testament, this was a popular devotion in medieval Spain. We might imagine this encounter between the Blessed Mother and her Son.

Mary last saw her Son on Good Friday. His friends wrapped His broken Body in burial cloths and placed Him in the tomb. Mary held Him many times as a boy. She holds him a final time before His burial in the tomb. Three days later, he greets her as the sun rises on Easter.

“Mom. It’s me.”

“Son? Is that you? Is it really you!”

He brings her joy in this glorious visit on Sunday morning. She embraces Him again, weeping again, now smiling through tears of joy.

This Easter, we ask to share in the joy of the Risen Jesus.


Categories: Things Jesuit

The Fourth Week: The Destination of Our Journey | Seeking God: A Jesuit Retreat

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Fri, 04/10/2020 - 23:41

The grace of the Fourth Week is to enter into the joy and consolation of Jesus as he savors the glory of the Resurrection. The episode reflects on the reactions of the disciples of Jesus to his death: pain and heartbreak, fear and anguish, doubt and uncertainty, and disappointment. The Resurrected Jesus takes on the role of “consoler,” and brings joy and consolation to all his disciples in the resurrection accounts. The episode concludes with the Contemplation on Divine Love. We pray for the grace of intimate knowledge of all the goods which God lovingly shares with us, that filled with gratitude, we might love and serve the Lord. This final contemplation inspires us to set off anew on our journey of faith at the conclusion of this retreat experience.


Suggested texts:

    • John 20:1-29
    • John 21:1-19
    • Luke 24:13-35
    • John 15:1-17
    • Matthew 28:16-20

Points for Reflection: Enter into the joy and consolation of the Resurrection. Contemplate God’s love, and be filled with gratitude, so as to love and serve the Lord.

      • What are the experiences of new life that stand out to you in your life?
      • When has Jesus been a consoler for you? When has he brought you joy and consolation?
      • What gifts has God given the world? What gifts has God given you? Say “thanks.”
      • How can you give back to God, not just with words, but in action? How can you give back to God, who has given you everything?

Suscipe Prayer:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will- all that I have and call my own. You have given it all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace. That is enough for me.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Jesus, Remember Me

Ignatian Spirituality - Fri, 04/10/2020 - 05:30

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” —Luke 23:42–43 Jesus was nailed to a scaffolding, dying by crucifixion, when the criminal being crucified next to him asked if Jesus might remember him—I suppose he was referring […] ® is a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry.

In A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer, Jim Manney introduces the Examen as the prayer that dramatically altered his perception of prayer and the way he prayed.

Click through to read the full article Jesus, Remember Me, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Our Good Friday ‘Wake Up Call’

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Fri, 04/10/2020 - 03:00

On this Good Friday, let us ask for the grace that the pain of the cross may be our ‘wake up call’ to the pain of the world.

I invite us to prayerfully reflect upon the images, lyrics and sounds of this music video I produced in response to this global pandemic. 

What image/s is God using to speak to us today?

… The looming shadow of the cross,

The suffering caused by the virus as another drop of blood from the cross,

Coronavirus has become our world,

A quarantined altar with yellow tape,

Christ’s body on a stretcher and ventilator,

Priests celebrating masses on the digital altars of the internet,

Solemn images from the extraordinary ‘Urbi et Orbi’ blessing from Pope Francis on March 27, 2020… 

All this closes with the words of Jesus to his frightened apostles: “Peace be with you” 1

Points for Prayer

  1. As we crown Christ the King with the painful crown of thorns, we ask ourselves what/whom do we “crown” in our own lives? This coronavirus (which in Latin means “crown”) may be an invitation for us to further reflect on our priorities. What or whom are those false idols in our life?
  2. At this moment, the virus has claimed over 90,000 lives. In the midst of this pandemic, what are the other social illnesses we are avoiding? For example, 8,400 children die of hunger everyday 2, 26 million refugees in the globe 3, 37 million infected with HIV 4, 785 million don’t have access to clean water. 5 What social ill are we being called to confront in our community?
  3. Do we recognize the suffering of others as Christ being crucified today? What can we do to help Jesus on the cross right now? 

During this particularly painful Good Friday, we are called to consider the three fundamental questions St. Ignatius asked retreatants to contemplate as they imagine Christ crucified on the cross: 

What have I done for Christ?

What am I doing for Christ?

What will I do for Christ? 6

In response to these questions, the Society of Jesus worldwide has compiled an official list of Jesuit initiatives for us to pray and act upon during this COVID-19 global pandemic.

Categories: Things Jesuit

The Third Week: Where the Lord is Leading Us | Seeking God: A Jesuit Retreat

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Fri, 04/10/2020 - 00:18

The grace of the Third Week is to have sorrow and compassion for Jesus, to suffer with him because he goes to his passion for us. This episode begins by discussing the Paschal Path, which is where the Lord is leading us, and a path that all of us will have to walk in this life. It includes success, misunderstanding, suffering, death and loss, waiting in suspense, and new life. Jesus modeled this path for us, and we other examples in our lives of people who have modeled it for us too. When we recognize where we are on the Paschal Path, we recognize how we are in solidarity with Jesus. This episode ends by shifting the focus to Jesus on the cross. St. Ignatius encourages us in the Third Week to pause before the cross and spend time there, to place ourselves with Jesus on the cross.

  • Suggested texts:
    • Matthew 16:24-28
    • Matthew 27:33-56
    • Mark 15:22-41
    • Luke 23:33-49
    • John 19:16-37
    • Or any of the full Passion accounts from the Gospels.

Paschal Path: Success – Misunderstanding/Rejection – Suffering – Death/Loss – Waiting – New Life.

Points for Reflection: Reflect on where you are on the Paschal Path and spend time with Jesus on the cross.

    • Where do you find yourself on the Paschal Path right now?
    • Who has modeled the Paschal Path for you?
    • Use your imagination or sit in front of a crucifix. What does it look like? How does it make you feel?
Categories: Things Jesuit

Walking with Christ through Film

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Thu, 04/09/2020 - 03:00

In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius invites us to imagine scenes from the gospel in our prayer. In this “composition of place,” we try to see the furnishings in a room, inhale the smells wafting in a market, hear the sound of the waves crashing on the sea of Galilee and chew the doughy bread at the last supper.  Being situated in 2020, we have the ability to use the cinematic masterpieces of brilliant filmmakers to aid our contemplations. Knowing that many use the time of Holy Week to reflect on Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection through film, we wanted to share some movies that have aided our own prayerful reflections on the gospel. Please share your thoughts and favorite films below.

Jason  McCreery – Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)

The film adaptation of the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, the 1973 Jesus Christ Superstar is a bit of a strange movie. The rock opera is set ostensibly in first century Palestine, but includes ‘70s-inspired costumes and military planes flying overhead. As a kid I remember some of the songs playing through my head during the reading of the Passion during Holy Week. But what keeps me coming back to the music is not (just) that it’s catchy; it is far and away my favorite interpretation of Judas Iscariot.

Judas, when read in the gospel stories, can come across as a moustache-twirling villain. He resents Jesus’s ministry – the writer of John goes out of his way to note that Judas stole money from their common purse. However, this story presents a sympathetic Judas. In the opening song, “Heaven on their Minds,” he pleads, 

“I’ve been your right hand man all along / You have set them all on fire / They think they’ve found the new Messiah / And they’ll hurt you when they find they’re wrong”

We are given a very human explanation for his betrayal: Judas is scared that his friend is getting swept away by ideology. He is unable to see Jesus as anything more than the carpenter from Nazareth he had grown to admire. Judas is afraid, but only because he doesn’t want to lose someone he loves. How many times have I missed others’ goodness, because I grasped onto who they used to be?

Jesus Christ Superstar is available for rental or purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Google Play.

Ryan Birjoo – Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)

True to its name, this film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini recounts the events of Matthew almost word for word. Pasolini’s masterpiece displays creativity through raw acting (most of the actors were rural villagers with little professional training), the eclectic soundtrack (featuring everything from Bach concertos to the African American gospel song “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child”), and the harsh but stunning vistas of the rugged southern Italian countryside.

But, I am most drawn to Pasolini’s work because of the dynamism and authenticity of Jesus. Coming from an atheistic vantage point, Pasolini’s fascination with Christ is especially curious. His Jesus is one who is entirely centered on the urgent preaching of the reign of God with an unnerving conviction. Pasolini shows the radicality and forcefulness of the beatitudes with a sequence of close-up shots in which Jesus almost shouts them over swirling wind. Jesus, operating from this paradigm, is not afraid to confront unjust authorities and earns the ire of many. His tenderness is undoubtedly reserved for the poor, sick, and downtrodden with whom he shares gazes of empathy and healing caresses.

Pasolini’s faithful rendering shows us that Jesus of Nazareth was controversial. He attracted, repelled, and intrigued. Who was this man that plucked the strings of the human heart, yielding dueling notes of admiration and violence? Pasolini’s Jesus most clearly identifies himself with those who lack. We are reminded of our own neediness in front of this question. Jesus, then and now, does not easily fit into our categories. How does Jesus surprise you today? Can you bring this sensation to prayer?

Pasolini’s The Gospel According to Saint Matthew is available for free on YouTube.

Shane Liesegang – Martin Scorcese’s The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

The Last Temptation of Christ has a bit of a bad reputation in some circles, because of the very human side of Jesus that it’s willing to portray. Leaving aside that he and all the apostles are portrayed as white men with New York accents, it feels like a grounded, realistic portrayal of how the earthly ministry may have gone and the psychological reality of being divine and being human. When he’s about to preach for the first time, he ponders, “What if I say the wrong thing? What if I say the right thing?” It’s easy to tell which terrifies him more.

The movie is structured around temptations that actually appear in the Gospels, but takes an imaginative turn in the final sequence, the titular Last Temptation, where Jesus is presented with the prospect of living a totally normal life, of not being the Messiah. It includes family, work, joy, and sorrow. If we forget that it is explicitly a temptation sent from the devil, the more sensual aspects would be offensive, but if we’re willing to go with it, we see Jesus at his most human. To deny that humanity is one of the earliest (and most persistent) heresies, but to truly embrace it is the challenge of our faith. If Christ was fully human, then he felt the same desires and, yes, temptations as all of us. That includes not wanting to die. Last Temptation invites us to enter into that state of mind and dwell in it, bringing an even greater meaning to the sacrifice we know must come at the end.

The Last Temptation of Christ is available on Amazon Prime, and the novel on which it is based is also well worth your time.

Ian Peoples – Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004)

Few movies have stirred up controversy like Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Some have labeled it sadistic, while others question whether the film encourages antisemitic sentiments. These controversies are serious and worth discussion, but I want to share my personal experience of the movie.

 I remember seeing the film when it first came to theaters in 2004. My friend’s Baptist Church was taking a group to watch it on a school day. For some reason, my Mom let me skip out early from class to attend the film with the group. The graphic nature of Jesus’s crucifixion hit all of us hard. Everyone was silent—a somber silence— as we left the theater and got back in the church van to return home. 

What was it about the film that silenced us?

The Third Week of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius helps provide an answer. In the Third Week, we are called to witness the Passion and death of Christ. During my 30 day retreat in novitiate, there was a prayer period during the Third Week in which I helped take Christ’s body off the cross. I felt the weight of his death. Dead weight. It was crushing. “You died. You died,” I kept repeating in prayer. Jesus’s death became real. I experienced it.

I think that experience was also what silenced us in that van all those years ago. 

The Passion of the Christ is bloody;  it is meant to depict the awful death that Christ experienced. We often want to turn our heads from such violence, in films and in real life. But walking with Christ through his Passion also gives us the strength to accompany others in their own suffering. In another prayer during that 30 day retreat, Jesus told me he was still being crucified today: in the abused, the abandoned, the elderly, people on the streets, the forgotten people of the world. From the cross, he called me to be attentive to them. 

And death is not the only experience of Jesus on display in the film. It also portrays Jesus’s love for his mother, for his friends. It shows the fear he experienced in the Agony of the Garden. But ultimately, it shows the triumph of the Resurrection.

Even if you don’t watch the film, I encourage you to pray through the Passion narrative. Jesus died a violent death. We need to witness that so we can celebrate even more in Christ’s Resurrection. Then we can echo Paul’s words, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 1

The Passion of the Christ of the Christ is available on Youtube.

Categories: Things Jesuit

The Second Week (Part 2): How to Stay on the Path | Seeking God: A Jesuit Retreat

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Thu, 04/09/2020 - 00:00

The Second Week of the Spiritual Exercises is split into two episodes. This second one focuses on how we can stay on the path to God on our journey of faith. The episode begins by outlining the discernment of spirits as a way to be attentive to the different spirits that pull us in one direction or another. Along with sharing lessons from St. Ignatius’s story, this episode offers concrete methods to help us respond to the urgings of the good spirit in our lives and resist the movements of the false spirit. Later in the episode, it shifts to friendship, beginning with our friendship with Jesus. An important component of the Second Week is praying over the life of Jesus and asking for the grace to know him more intimately, to love him more devotedly, and to follow him more completely. The technique of Ignatian Contemplation is introduced, which can help when praying with Gospel stories of Jesus. The episode also reflects on the many friends in faith who help inspire us and guide us, including friends of Jesus in the Scriptures, the Communion of Saints, and our own family and friends.


Suggested texts:

    • 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22
    • Psalm 34
    • Luke 10:29-37
    • Matthew 6:19-21

Points for Reflection: Reflect on the movements of the good spirit and the false spirit in your own life, and on friendships that help you stay on the path to God.

      • How does the false spirit try to lead you astray in sneaky and subtle ways?
      • Where do you most clearly see the good spirit at work in your life? How are you responding?
      • How are you deepening your friendship with Jesus?
      • Who are the friends in faith that inspire you and help you stay on the path to God? Reflect on friends of Jesus in the Gospels, your favorite Saints, and friends and family.

3 Methods of Discernment:

  1. Pros and cons list
  2. Imagine giving advice to a friend
  3. Imagine reflecting back from some time in the future
Categories: Things Jesuit

Stay with My Son

Ignatian Spirituality - Wed, 04/08/2020 - 05:30

This post is based on Week Seven of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I picked up a prayer book and out fell a bookmark showing a mosaic detail of Our Lady of Perpetual Help from the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. I stared. Sometimes, like this time, God leads me into a prayer that I never […] ® is a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry.

Take an Ignatian journey through the Stations of the Cross with Gary Jansen’s Station to Station.

Click through to read the full article Stay with My Son, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

This Quarantined Holy Week I’m Thinking of a Brother Jesuit in Jail

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Wed, 04/08/2020 - 03:00

It’s because of Holy Week that we can approach the Coronavirus crisis with the hope we do. It’s because of Holy Week that we approach death the way we do. It’s because of Holy Week that Christians are anything at all. There is no doubt, and you will read this in so many tweets these days, this is “the holiest week of the year.” 

There are consequences to this week, however. 

“What is truth?” Pilot will ask Jesus. (John 18:38)  And Jesus will answer with his life. 

I’ve been thinking this week about a Jesuit brother of mine who has been sitting in jail in Brunswick, Georgia for the last two years trying to do the same: answer with his life. 

In the grand scheme of things, few people know about Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J. Few will ever know about him. Little will probably change because of Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J. Maybe some hearts. Perhaps the knowledge held by certain judges and court officials about nuclear weapons and bombs and Christianity. Definitely the schedules of jury members. Other than this, I expect little else will change. 

But, Fr. Steve and his friends aren’t concerned with being effective. They are concerned with being faithful, with giving witness to the truth with their lives. 

Fr. Steve is in jail because he broke into Kings Bay Naval Base two years ago with six other Catholics to “nonviolently and symbolically disarm the Trident nuclear submarine base.” They were protesting the ultimate logic of nuclear weapons which they say is omnicide.

The Catholics spray-painted scripture quotes on sidewalks, hung banners on the administration building, symbolically poured their own blood on the buildings, and used hammers to damage statues of nuclear missiles. It was, of course, highly illegal to enter this base. You can read more about their actions here and more about Fr. Steve here.  

I am moved by their actions. And, I’m mostly convinced by the arguments they give for their decisions. More than anything, however, I’m struck by their purity of heart. Their conviction. Their ability to stand like Jesus with such peace and propose the truth with their lives. 

Steve continues to enter my prayer these days as I contemplate the consequences of this Holy Week. His life and the decisions he has made are so conformed to the consequences of this week. He has spared no convenience in trying to give his life for what he feels God has called him (and us) to do. 

Fr. Steve will eventually be sentenced to time in prison and it won’t be a negligible number of years. He will serve it, he will offer it. He will minister to people inside the prison walls and he will write to many of us about the incredibly unjust carceral system. He will minister to prisoners as a fellow prisoner. He will refuse to eat meat and offer that up too. From all accounts, he will live what looks from the outside a very uncomfortable and inconvenient life for a number of years. 

And I will think of him often and question, did he really need to do that? Did he need to inconvenience himself in such an awful way. Is this whole business really that practical, realistic, prudent?

And, I will recall his letters that speak not only of the carceral system or nuclear weapons or the evils of white supremacy. I will recall seeing these words alongside Steve’s assurance that he feels privileged to share in the Lord’s sufferings. 

He wrote to me, “I carry a privilege in all humility, the meditation on third humility 1 is the heart of A.M.D.G.” 2

He refers to the Spiritual Exercises, the heart of Jesuit Spirituality. St. Ignatius describes this third type of humility like this: 

“In order to imitate and be more actually like Christ our Lord, I want and choose poverty with Christ poor rather than riches, insults with Christ rather than honors; and to desire to be rated as worthless and a fool for Christ, who first was held as such, rather than wise or prudent in this world.”

Fr. Steve is very much a fool for Christ and indeed rated as such rather than wise or prudent. And as we go through Holy Week and I see Christ giving up his comforts, hiding his divinity, and choosing such sacrificial love that we may be free, I am left with these other questions from St. Ignatius: What have you done for Christ? What are you doing for Christ? What ought you do for Christ?

Categories: Things Jesuit

The Second Week (Part 1): Why We Walk This Path | Seeking God: A Jesuit Retreat

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Tue, 04/07/2020 - 23:03

The Second Week of the Spiritual Exercises is split into two episodes. This first one focuses on why we walk this particular path on our journey of faith, and not another. It begins with the Meditation on the Incarnation, and how God looks on the world with love and enters into it. Similarly, God enters into the messiness of our lives and enters into it. We constantly find evidence of God at work in our lives. Then this episode moves on to the Call of the King, a meditation in which we reflect on the compelling call of the voice of Jesus in our lives. Lastly, this episode presents the Meditation on the Two Standards, which sets up the competing calls in our life to “riches, honor, and pride,” or to “poverty, dishonor, and humility.”

  • Suggested texts:
    • John 1:35-45
    • Luke 5:1-11
    • Matthew 9:9-13
    • Matthew 4:1-11


  • Points for Reflection: Reflect on God’s activity in your life and the different voices that call out to you.
    • Meditation on the Incarnation: How does God enter into the messiness of your life? Where do you find evidence of God at work? In the silence of prayer? In the busyness of your everyday life?
    • Call of the King: Imagine a worldly leader, and then imagine Jesus. Where do you hear the voice of Jesus in your life? Where is Jesus calling you?
    • Two Standards: When are you tempted to pursue riches, honor, and pride in an unhealthy way? How is Jesus inviting you to deepen in poverty, dishonor, and humility?
Categories: Things Jesuit

How to Celebrate the Easter Triduum at Home

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Tue, 04/07/2020 - 03:00

The Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter marks the most solemn feast in the Catholic calendar. The rituals in this celebration make present the great mystery of Christ’s Resurrection, which is beyond what words can capture. The washing of the feet, the dramatized retelling of the passion, the pillar of fire, the processions, the silence, the incense, the music, all of it building to a staggering trumpet blast: He is risen!

What are we to do, however, in a time when we cannot go to a parish to celebrate these great and holy days? Many of us are looking for a way to celebrate the Triduum at home. Some will tune into a live-stream from their parishes. Others may wish to celebrate a Liturgy of the Word with their families or to pray the Liturgy of the Hours together. For those who are interested in adapting the Triduum rituals to the home, I have prepared liturgical guides based on the Roman Missal.

The liturgy is not only the realm of the ordained. It is a gift and a responsibility for all the faithful. The Second Vatican Council identified the family as “the domestic Church” in which parents are “the first preachers of the faith to their children.” 1 Likewise, John Paul II called for families to extend the liturgical prayer of the whole Church into the home so that they may celebrate “God’s loving intervention” in their lives and in the life of the world. 2

Finding some creative ways to celebrate the Triduum in the home can be daunting. It may even seem awkward to lead your family or roommates in ritualized prayer. My hope in creating these guides is to remove some of that pressure and to bolster the life of the domestic Church. Though we mourn the fact that we cannot gather in our parish communities, perhaps these guides will help to make a meaningful and prayerful Triduum at home.

Click the links below to download the PDF guides for each day.

Holy Thursday At Home.
Good Friday At Home.
Easter Vigil At Home.
Easter Sunday At Home.




The Lectionary Texts

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The Liturgical Texts

Excerpts adapted from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL). All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Categories: Things Jesuit

The First Week: Obstacles on Our Journey of Faith | Seeking God: A Jesuit Retreat

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Mon, 04/06/2020 - 23:12

This episode is titled “The First Week: Obstacles on Our Journey of Faith.” The grace of the First Week of the Spiritual Exercises is to feel a deep and intense sorrow for my sins, shame and confusion that my sinfulness is an obstacle between myself and God. This episode will focus on four primary types of obstacles faced on our journey of faith: sin, false idols, attachments, and self-doubt. Reflecting on the obstacles that we face always has to be framed within the context of God’s infinite love and mercy. We are sinners, loved by God. So, this episode also includes praying for the grace to experience the profound joy of being forgiven by God.

  • Suggested texts:
    • John 8:1-11
    • Luke 18:9-14
    • Matthew 6:19-21
    • Romans 7:13-23
    • Psalm 51
  • Points for Reflection: Reflect on the obstacles on your journey of faith.
    • Sin: What leads you to turn away from God and go the wrong way?
    • False idols: What distracts you on your journey and causes you to lose your focus on God?
    • Attachments: What are the things that you cling to that weigh you down?
    • Self-doubt: Are you facing a daunting obstacle right now? Can you offer that up to Jesus?
Categories: Things Jesuit

Present with Them in Their Suffering

Ignatian Spirituality - Mon, 04/06/2020 - 05:30

Do you know what a night terror is? Before having children, I think I had only seen one on TV. And that glimpse into a screenwriter’s depiction of a night terror did not prepare me for what one actually was. For a while, one twin would get night terrors every time he spiked a fever […] ® is a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry.

Take an Ignatian journey through the Stations of the Cross with Gary Jansen’s Station to Station.

Click through to read the full article Present with Them in Their Suffering, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Introduction to the Journey of Faith | Seeking God: A Jesuit Retreat

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Mon, 04/06/2020 - 02:46

Join us for our online preached retreat, based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Brian Strassburger, SJ, will guide us through themes of the exercises and offer resources for prayer and reflection. This is the first of six talks that will be released daily from April 6-11. Join us to listen, reflect, and pray.

This episode is titled “Introduction to the Journey of Faith.” It includes an introduction to the Spiritual Exercises and the guiding theme of this retreat, which is framed around our faith as a journey. The host, Brian Strassburger, will introduce himself, and will share from the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola and his conversion. This episode will also present a key bedrock of Ignatian spirituality called the “First Principle and Foundation.”

Suggested texts:

  • Psalm 139
  • Psalm 23
  • Isaiah 55
  • First Principle & Foundation (Text below)
  • Luke 18:18-23

The First Principle & Foundation:

God created human beings to praise, reverence, and serve God, and by doing this, to save their souls. God created all other things on the face of the earth to help fulfill this purpose. From this, it follows that we are to use the things of this world only to the extent that they help us to this end, and we ought to rid ourselves of the things of this world to the extent that they get in the way of this end. For this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things as much as we are able, so that we do not necessarily want health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, a long rather than a short life, and so in all the rest, so that we ultimately desire and choose only what is most conducive for us to the end for which God created us.

Points for Reflection: Reflect on your journey of faith, your freedom, and holy Christian indifference.

  • Do you ever make yourself the center of the universe? How might God be reminding you that you are a supporting actor?
  • How do you exercise the freedom to choose the good? When do you struggle to choose the good?
  • What are the things in your life that are out of your control? How are you growing in holy Christian indifference as you approach those things?
Categories: Things Jesuit

Is God Punishing Us?

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Sun, 04/05/2020 - 23:00

“I can’t but help think God is punishing us,” my 87-year old great Aunt from Rhode Island recently said to me over the phone. I was listening to her thick New England accent as we discussed a world shaken and upended by the Coronavirus. She then reminded me that in 10 minutes we would need to hang up because Pope Francis had made a request to the world to join him in praying the rosary that day at 4pm. 

When we later continued our conversation, she referenced lines from the Old Testament where God smites the people of Israel because they turned away from Him and floundered in their commitment to Him. I responded by explaining theologically: sin, disaster, and death are a result of fallen human nature, while at the same time emphasizing that God is still here loving us. However, that response did not feel satisfying. It didn’t entirely address her concerns. 

I empathize with how the “punishment explanation” can seem to align more intuitively with the current picture of the world: spike in global mortality rates;  global economic distress; loneliness of social distancing; anxiety and uncertainty about future; dread; news headlines of impending doom; and the sudden disruption in plans, dreams, and careers. Although I still trust that God isn’t punishing the human race, I couldn’t quite articulate why. 

After listening to and reading Pope Francis’ meditation on the calming of a storm at sea in the Gospel of Mark during his Urbi et Orbi blessing, I found a response more satisfying than what I could provide: 

Lord you are calling to us, calling us to faith. Which is not so much believing that you exist, but coming to you and trusting in you. This Lent your call reverberates urgently: “be converted!” “Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12) You are calling on us to seize this time of trial as a time of choosing. It is not the time of your judgment, but of our judgment: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others. 

Pope Francis directs us away from the question “Are you punishing us and letting us perish?” to this question: “In this moment of my faith journey on Earth, how will I draw closer to God?” My initial response to the “punishment explanation” was to intellectualize our reality. In contrast, Pope Francis doesn’t choose to rationalize the pandemic. He instead looks at the pandemic with the eyes of faith, seeing it as an opportunity for conversion. Pope Francis extols us to ask for the grace to trust in God, so that we might be like Jesus, who by being in the stern is closest to the storm, yet he’s asleep, confident and assured of God’s immense care and love. 

Pope Francis’ response also aligned with what I had been re-reading in Victor Frankl’s seminal work: Man’s Search for Meaning

What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual. 

The pandemic has disturbed my implicit expectations on life: good health, safety, in person classes, ministry at an elementary school, summer plans involving international travel and Spanish acquisition, etc. Yet Francis and Frankl remind me that I need an attitude change. It doesn’t matter what I expect, I cannot control global disease spread. But I can control how I respond to the crisis. 

When thinking about being questioned by life, I’m left pondering the example of Mary. The young girl, betrothed to Joseph, with a simple life ahead of her faced a radical decision: stay the course or give birth to the son of God. She chooses to abandon her implicit expectations on life and courageously accepts God’s will. Her response mirrors the response of Jesus in the stern of the boat during the storm: trust in God even in the midst of turmoil, chaos, and uncertainty. 

The poet Denise Levertov writes how we now face our own annunciation moments:

Aren’t there annunciations
of one sort or another in most lives?
Some unwillingly undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,

More often those moments
when roads of light and storm
open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from
in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.

The pandemic approaches us not as a punishment but as an annunciation, a moment when “roads of light and storm open from darkness.” The pandemic has opened within us roads tangled with uncertainty and fear but also hope and potentiality. Levertov helps us face the pandemic by imploring us to ask this question: what personal destiny has been announced to me by the pandemic? If we ignore or avoid the question we then desperately grip the edge of the boat, simply waiting for the storm to end. But if we answer the question, and act on the question,  we enter the stern of the boat and imitate Christ.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Judas and the Price of Betrayal | One-Minute Homily

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Sun, 04/05/2020 - 02:00

Judas had a price. Do we? There are things that we might put before our relationship with God, but Damian Torres-Botello, SJ, reminds us that there is always hope in Christ. Based on the readings for Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020.


JUDAS! Ugh! Every time!

Hello! I’m Damian Torres-Botello and this is my One-Minute Reflection.

30 pieces of silver, that’s the price for Judas for Jesus. That’s the price of a household slave way, way back in the day, 30 pieces of silver. Judas had his price, what’s yours?

The price for our betrayal doesn’t need to be cash or coin, but it could be our career, our ambitions, our achievements, comfort, material possessions, anything that we place in absolute priority or primary over God. So much so that God is no longer in our purview, perhaps ignored, maybe completely forgotten.

What’s wonderful, though, is that God does not turn away from us. Even though Jesus saw his own betrayal, Jesus did not reject his disciples, nor allow their anxiety to silence God’s Word, or keep him from turning to God in his hour of need. Jesus continued to give and share.

What have we done for Christ? What are we doing for Christ? What ought we do for Christ? Some food for thought.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Finding God in the Mess Lenten Read-Along: Rewind the Day

Ignatian Spirituality - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 05:30

In an anxiety-filled world, take a few moments to: Quietly retrace your day in your mind’s eye. Begin with the moment you awoke this morning, right to this very moment. See the events and the people you came across today. Remember the emotions you felt. Watch the video below to hear Brendan McManus, SJ, read […] ® is a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry.

Take an Ignatian journey through the Stations of the Cross with Gary Jansen’s Station to Station.

Click through to read the full article Finding God in the Mess Lenten Read-Along: Rewind the Day, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Music Videos on YouTube Have Helped My Prayer During This Pandemic

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Fri, 04/03/2020 - 01:18

In this world of increased distance and isolation, I imagine lots of us have gotten stuck in a YouTube vortex at one point or another. As I write, I’m in one, and it’s been going for a few hours. It’s late, and I need to go to bed, but I’m watching musicians do their thing – as Elizabeth Bishop says, “I am in need of music.” 

As opposed to simply listening to songs, I’ve found watching videos helpful in connecting to the music I deeply need right now. In a video, there’s an added layer of meaning and interpretation on the part of the artist to show us what the music can reveal and how it might impact us. 

So, here are six YouTube videos involving music that strike me as helpful these days. They were all created before COVID-19. They offer me some insight / advice as I navigate these unusual and challenging times, and they make me feel connected. 

Watch them with me. Indulge in them, and don’t feel bad spending the time. Enjoy them. Tell me what you think, and add to the list. 

(1) ‘Want You Back’ by Haim. Note the empty streets of LA, hardly a normal scene, and the way they reflect the streets of cities and towns across the world. Note the silliness of the sisters (Haim is a band of three sisters) and the way they play through those empty streets. It reminds me of the extreme lengths to which families and roommates are documenting their endless efforts to stay entertained. Note the occasional example of excellent social distancing as the sisters move along together. And note the clear message of the song, to which I think we can all relate. I haven’t hugged someone in like 17 days. I want hugs back. I want you all back.

(2) ‘Changes’ by Charles Bradley. As soon as we can get past the fact that this song serves as the soundtrack to the opening credits of Netflix’s filthy (and hilariously uncomfortable) animated show “Big Mouth,” the song stands on its own as a brilliant work. The video is simple – one man showing us heartbreak as he lives through changes in his life. His is perhaps the most expressive face in the history of expressive faces, and we’re all going through changes these days. It’s worth sitting in the reality of those changes and naming them as they are. And, Bradley does it in one long take. He’s a genius.

(3) ‘Light On’ by Maggie Rogers (La Blogothèque – Live in Paris). This video captures visually both the vulnerability of being alone in the dark, but also the utter joy of what it means to be together in the light. I have daydreams about what it will look like when we are all together again – I hope it looks like this video. There are people being brave, singing and dancing, being joyful with one another – a good and healthy thing to see these days.

(4) ‘Shadow Days’ by John Mayer – In this video, while Mayer isn’t totally isolated from others, it’s clear that the conclusions he draws about himself come in the solitary space he occupies reflecting on hard times he has faced. The scenes reflect that solitude beautifully – a long car ride alone out of the city, a vast landscape, the ever-changing western sky. He is convincing himself that he is good, and in that, he invites a good question for all of us – what can we learn about ourselves during this time of relative stillness? What can we forgive? How might we live differently on the other side of COVID-19, when these shadow days are past us?

(5) 2002 – Anne Marie and Ed Sheeran. Let’s imagine these two are quarantined together, healthy, and bored enough to embrace creativity and write new songs. Something like this tune might emerge, hearkening back to happier, less troubled times. If you’re lucky enough to be with loved ones you can share your musical gifts and talents these days, do it! And, share those gifts and talents with others through the vast digital network you have.

(6) ‘Ironic’ by Alanis Morissette – a classic for any child of the 90’s, and an iconic music video that shows how many layers of identity one person can have. There’s a certain melancholic joy to this video which resonates with me these days. While I’d rather opportunities to share my joy fully with others, there are simply joys I’ve encountered because I’m alone more often now – the absence of FOMO (fear of missing out), the sense of being less busy, the chance to breathe deeply and remind myself that, in this quiet space, I still serve others, and I am still breathing. And, as so many things are different than we expected them to be these days, the song reminds us that life has a funny way of teaching us sometimes.

What are your quarantine jams and videos? Pass them along – Lord knows I’ll get lost in the vortex again soon.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Watching Fireworks

Ignatian Spirituality - Wed, 04/01/2020 - 05:30

This post is based on Week Six of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. Editor’s note: This article was written before we started practicing social distancing to avoid the spread of sickness. While we can’t visit theme parks right now, the lessons children can teach adults are as relevant as in Jesus’ time. Our family stood outside […] ® is a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry.

Take an Ignatian journey through the Stations of the Cross with Gary Jansen’s Station to Station.

Click through to read the full article Watching Fireworks, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit