Things Jesuit

When I’m Anxious, Worried, and Uncertain I Pray, and Here is My Prayer

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Wed, 04/01/2020 - 02:33

Dear One,

Thank You for this day. For waking me up. For inviting me to move about as I have thus far. For the way you help me carry on. For the hope of more life to experience tomorrow. You are always generous and loving, and so I offer up my abilities and my shortcomings. Again, I say thank You. For my successes and failures, thank You. For my wisdom and ignorance, thank You. These all have brought me to You today. I ask, please – listen to my heart, read my soul. For my words fall short, and yet I will try.

I hear news from colleagues, neighbors, friends, and family of their struggle, their sickness, their need for life sustaining resources. I notice parents and teachers and students adjusting to new ways of learning. I witness leaders struggling to comfort their people, to inform them and offer reassurance that all will be well. I recognize that those who have always been in need are now joined by new faces in financial struggle. The ill are united with the newly diagnosed. The table of the hungry is expanding to include more stomachs. 

What are You inviting me to discover at this moment? Help me find the good and grace when I’m struggling to understand what is unfolding around me. Help me locate You more clearly Lord, so that my eyes may find You in the fog of this crisis. I know that from struggle will come new life, because I believe the resurrection is always the new beginning after any heavy cross. And it is with this cross that I come to the altar where Your arms are open wide. I bow down low before You, Lord of Hosts. I come to your altar, Dear One, knowing I’m forgiven and loved. I bring my sorrows and concerns to exchange them for hope and faith. I sing alleluia, because You will rise, You are risen, and so too will we all be on the other side of all this. For what I need now is patience and trust, strength and courage, a peaceful heart and calm mind to carry me through this time in my life. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven…

St. Ignatius  of Loyola. Pray for us. 

Mary, Queen of Peace. Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever.

-//-

Photo by Rodolfo Clix from Pexels

Categories: Things Jesuit

The Coronavirus Isn’t Everywhere. God is.

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Mon, 03/30/2020 - 23:09

When I was a child, I once read a vignette in my mother’s Catholic Digest magazine about a saint who thought about God all the time. That’s right: all the time. I don’t remember who the saint was or anything else of the story of their life, but I can still recall the mixture of amazement, disbelief, and challenge that such an idea stirred within me. In these days of pandemic and social distancing, I have returned to this idea as something else competes to dominate life, both externally and internally.

On its face, constantly thinking about God seems not only impossible, but also undesirable. We know naturally that obsessing over one thing is not a healthy way to live. The fears and anxiety induced by COVID-19 provide clear evidence of this, but we also know the futility of telling ourselves not to think about something. 

One of the reasons the pandemic has come to dominate so much of our lives is that it seems omnipresent. It has permeated and affected all aspects of our lives and consciousness, from working from home and remote learning to Zoom happy hours with friends. But to say that it is omnipresent is to give it an attribute only truly applicable to God, that is, to make it an idol. Sure, it is prudent and necessary to adjust our daily lives to minimize the impact of the virus and protect the most vulnerable. This does not mean that it has to occupy our minds at all times and order our lives completely. COVID-19 is not God, and certainly not worth the attention due to God.

How can we then turn away from worshiping the virus through our constant attention and fear? From making it into an idol that we fixate on without relief, as though it truly is omnipresent? The answer must be to follow the example from that saint in my mother’s magazine: to think of God. 

Thinking constantly of God is not risk-free though — we run the risk of merely setting up one idol in place another. We can sometimes have false and unhelpful images of God, whether it be the “Santa Claus god,” who knows if we’ve been bad or good and rewards/punishes accordingly, or a “distant god,” who rarely bothers with human affairs. If we latch onto one limited image of God, even if it captures some partial truth of the divine, it will stifle us if we devote our thoughts only to it. These images of God can become false idols in our lives too.

The truly transcendent God of Christianity is not omnipresent as a foreign invader, nor a suffocating blanket that covers everything, but rather God is omnipresent like air or gravity. God is the ground underneath us that holds us up.

Thinking constantly of God does not mean limiting our consciousness, but freeing it. There is nothing you can think of that isn’t related to God. Everything that exists is good, a gift from God. If we think of God all the time, we are merely thinking truly, recognizing this fundamental reality of existence.

Practically, the fear of coronavirus can give us occasion to turn to the truly omnipresent God for comfort. Every time I think of the virus or read related news, I try consciously to turn my thoughts to God, either offering up my feelings or asking for help for those in need. Thinking of God, along with care for our physical, social, psychological health, will profit us spiritually in these extraordinary times. 

While it might seem like the coronavirus is everywhere, God actually is. And in the midst of all this, God is lovingly seeking you out. Think about that.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Seven Spiritual Strategies for a Time of Pandemic

Ignatian Spirituality - Mon, 03/30/2020 - 05:30

1. Pray. God is listening. I firmly believe that God is with us, as close as we are to ourselves, and even closer. When I pray, I wait for God to reply, not always knowing how God will reply, but trusting that God will. When I pray for others, such as my mother who lives […]

IgnatianSpirituality.com ® 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 Seven Spiritual Strategies for a Time of Pandemic, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

What Do We Do Without Sports?

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Mon, 03/30/2020 - 01:54

Wait, wasn’t baseball season supposed to have started by now?  Shouldn’t we be awaiting a great Final Four matchup right now? Effectively, because of Coronavirus, all sporting events have been either pushed back, suspended indefinitely, or cancelled.  For many of us, myself included, this is a difficult scenario to face.

That’s because sports add color and excitement to our lives. 

The world of sports gifts us with two rewards: it’s a place of bonding with others and is also  a means of striving for excellence.

For those of us who are sports fans, I doubt that we watch our favorite teams or players in a vacuum; sometimes we are the fans in the stands or we watch the games with family and friends at home or in a bar.  We talk about our love for these games with the people we watch with and the others we know who share our interests.

Sometimes we also watch for people we care about.  We watch because our friend really likes the game and it is a way to spend time with her.  As a high school teacher, I go to the school’s games because I want to support my students past and present, because I already have a relationship with them.  Those chances are not available right now.

And for the athletes, the games allow us to push ourselves and become better.  My students were heartbroken to learn that their seasons were going to be cut short.  They won’t have the chance to push further into the playoffs. Some won’t even play their senior (or freshman) season if they played a Spring sport.

We  don’t have live sports right now.  And we don’t know when our favorite teams or sports will come back on the air.  And these delays really sting.  

Teams on the verge of winning it all may never see their season come to a close and end their championship drought.  Teams poised to have a great Spring season or to turn a mediocre Winter season around have to wait to see their next chance, be that later this year or next year.  Athletes in their prime may never have that stellar season they have been working towards.

And yet all is not lost.  The bonding with others and the striving for excellence need not stop simply because we aren’t currently playing or watching our respective games.  Whether sports have been a source of bonding or of pushing ourselves towards excellence, here are a few alternatives we can do right now.

Instead of watching the new games, watch a few classics in the interim.  Whether your favorite is baseball, basketball, hockey, football, soccer, or something else, there are numerous classic games to watch. 1  And we don’t have to watch these games alone; get a few friends together (via Facetime or video hangout) to stream some great games and share stories of some of your favorite eras.  And if your favorite team seems poised for a great run or a breakthrough, talk about your hopes for the franchise’s (or school’s) future with fellow fans.

In short, this break in sports is an opportunity to remember why we love these games in the first place.  During this time we can go back to that source of life, whether it’s through memories, replays, or conversations with friends and mutual fans. 

And for the athletes, thankfully there is still the chance to exercise .  There are solo practice drills we can do, running, lifting weights. Athletes can, and are, continuing to strive for excellence. And while these are obviously important, we can always keep up with teammates to encourage each other and to be encouraged ourselves.

Ultimately, none of these provides the excitement or energy  of playing or watching sports in real time, but we have to do the best we can with our current circumstances to keep our love of these games alive. We can make  it out through this time by remembering why we love the games and by keeping that love alive though talking with others, rewatching old games and moments that are important to each of us.  

One day, the games will come back.  Perhaps the absence from them will help us to appreciate them all the more when they return.

Photo by Free To Use Sounds 

Categories: Things Jesuit

Raising Lazarus: Death and New Life | One-Minute Homily

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Sun, 03/29/2020 - 02:00

The raising of Lazarus shows Jesus as both human and divine. Jesus weeps for his friend and is also able to raise him from the dead. Fr. Joe Laramie, SJ, reflects on this account in this week’s One-Minute Homily. Based on the readings for Sunday, March 29, 2020.

Life is sweet. But Death stinks.

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

Jesus is the eternal Son of God, and he is fully a man. We see him sweating, weeping, hungry, rejoicing, and even angry. He experiences the full range of human emotions.

In Sunday’s Gospel, Martha meets Jesus just after her brother, Lazarus, has died. Jesus becomes ‘perturbed.’ In the original Greek, it says, “he snorted” or groaned, or grunted. Lazarus is a close friend of Jesus. Jesus is sad and upset. And then Jesus weeps.

Jesus tells them to, “Take away the stone.” Martha reminds him, “Lord, he has been dead for 4 days.” But, Jesus is not afraid of our human condition. He plunges into our lives, into our weakness, even into death. He raises Lazarus and promises to raise each of us, from death to new life.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Finding God in the Mess Lenten Read-Along: Fear and Trust

Ignatian Spirituality - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 05:30

Brendan McManus, SJ, has some relevant advice for us in this time of pandemic, as he talks about fear and trust: “We can’t make ourselves not be afraid. But we can develop the ability to trust and see the big picture. This will happen mostly through silence, centering ourselves, and praying.” Watch the video below […]

IgnatianSpirituality.com ® 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: Fear and Trust, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

#UntilNextTime: Why Your Next 3-day Weekend Should Be Spent in Montgomery, Alabama

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 02:33

There may be no place in the United States as intentionally constructed as the National Memorial for Peace & Justice of the Equal Justice Initiative. Right down to the bricks used, it seems every inch of the memorial was carefully and delicately designed. There are a number of layers to history and optics of the memorial that begin even before entering. It struck me that metal detectors were in use, especially since the memorial is entirely outdoors. What is more, a private security team monitors the perimeter of the memorial. It’s not possible to enter into, be in, and learn from this place and space without constant monitoring, not unlike the lives of the people it seeks to memorialize.

Wooden planks at the memorial entrance create the feeling of entering a jail cell. In fact, it creates the feeling of being in the hold of a ship. That is, visitors enter into their visit and experience at the memorial mimicking the position of a slave. Perhaps if that’s somehow lost on anyone, a sculpture confronts all visitors to make the point clear.

The entire memorial is at once overwhelming and understated. There is not much by way of text, artwork, or other images to get lost in, either. Instead, the plainness of the memorial perhaps speaks to how little most visitors actually know about the history being shared, and how simple the facts of the matter are. Legal decisions are summarized in comments smaller than Tweets. They are haunting.

It was not until the end of this opening walk that I noticed that the footprint of the entire memorial was in the shape of a ship. The sharp angles, the wooden planks, both underfoot and as side rails, serve to create not only the look, but even the sound of walking on the deck of a ship. It is not an accident, then, that some of the memorial coffins, hanging from the only roof of the entire memorial, actually hang over the edge, as if to symbolize those who were both enslaved and killed before making it ashore. What were their stories? What were their names? Were they sick and tossed overboard to prevent the further spread of disease? Were they killed for plotting to overthrow the slave traders themselves? Did they jump overboard in an attempt to swim to freedom?

Of course, the number of memorial coffins is astounding, but so is how they are displayed. Placed, at first, close together, visitors have to weave through coffins that appear at eye level, as if brushing shoulders with those on an overcrowded slave ship. Suddenly, the coffins hang from the roof, having already left stains down below from the erosion of its metal structure, as if footprints.

Eventually, the coffins hang higher and higher, or more accurately, the visitors descend lower and lower so that, quickly, they are forced to strain and squint to read the locations and names of those who were lynched. As the coffins themselves get further from view, detailed court documents come into view. The contrast is clear between these long and complicated court documents and the horrifyingly over simplified legal decisions. If visitors were to get lost reading these, they would actually end up walking off a cliff, perhaps a nod to the danger, harm, and depression that such a study could inflict upon others. A memorial though it may be, not all the names can be read because the coffins hang too high for visitors to read. That is, no matter how hard we try, there is a limit to how much we will truly know.

And then, just as soon as your eyes have adjusted to the squinting, visitors are confronted with the words of Toni Morrison, oversized and overwhelming, but simple. The heart is what matters.

“…And O my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up. and all your inside parts that they’d just as soon slop for hogs, you got to love them. The dark, dark liver–love it, love it and the beat and beating heart, love that too. More than eyes or feet. More than lungs that have yet to draw free air. More than your life-holding womb and your life-giving private parts, hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize.” –Tony Morrison

Ironically, visitors then view an extensive display of coffins, this time not hanging, but laying, as if waiting for burial. In fact, they are. The Equal Justice Initiative is willing and wanting to work with any municipality or county which is willing to properly memorialize the deaths that took place on its own soil. Perhaps what is most overwhelming is how many coffins remain unclaimed, unwanted, ignored. Exposed coffins can be unnerving to see, especially so many all at once, but what perhaps should be even more unnerving is the fact that most of the people killed were likely not even given the dignity of a burial.

Visitors do not leave the memorial without hope. Visitors must brush shoulders with statutes of the boycotters that walked the very same streets. Ironically, if a visitor were to stand at eye-level, and in the same direction as the statues, the view they would see is much like that of a landfill — an odd terracing of the hill on which the majority of the memorial sits, perhaps meant to signify the messy, man-made results of man’s own creation and racism. The protestors must necessarily be like the tall, strong pines in whose shadows they stand.

Even a visitor’s exit from the memorial is calculated. There are no quick exits. It takes time to leave. Visitors must walk through a painfully slow, winding path that leads to the largest sculpture on the grounds. At first sight, the figures appear as enslaved persons drowning at sea, or perhaps simply stuck in a wall, with only their raised hands, heads, and chests exposed. Perhaps it is only as visitors walk behind the sculpture that they may realize its intended commentary on police brutality and shootings.

My timely prayer is that no memorial like this need be made ever again. With the racism now being perpetuated against Asians as a result of COVID-19, I will be praying all the more.

A note about the pilgrimage: The Jesuit Antiracism Sodality, formed by Jesuits in formation to confront racism, hosted a Civil Rights Movement Pilgrimage earlier this year. Beginning in New Orleans, and traveling to Mobile, Selma, Montgomery, Birmingham, before ending in Atlanta, men in formation from the Midwest and Central and Southern Provinces visited historical sites, museums, and met with Black Catholic leaders along the way, including Joseph Brown, S.J., professor of Africana Studies at Southern Illinois University. 

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Photos courtesy of the author.

Categories: Things Jesuit

A Religious’ Letter to Quarantined Catholics

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Thu, 03/26/2020 - 01:59

The Catholic hierarchy is cooperating with civil mandates to protect and save lives from a global pandemic. In a rare moment in the history of Christianity, Churches are closed and the sacraments are not being given out on a large scale.

Some are posting online that they are sad and confused at the cancellation of masses and closing of churches. Some believe bishops made the wrong decision. Some defend the bishops’ decision. And some are indifferent. 

Rather than make any claims in favor of or against the decisions of cardinals, bishops, and priests (not to mention politicians, public health officials, and epidemiologists), I want to bring to light something significant for our reflection. 

We Catholics often forget how incredibly strange we are. 

At the risk of making our religion commonplace, we continue to practice it as if it were normal to believe that God—the Creator, Savior, and Life of the Universe—becomes a piece of bread and a bit of wine.

As an example, I invite you to read this next sentence as if it were the first time you had ever heard of Catholicism, as if this list of information was all fresh without any context: 

Catholics gather in a public space, kneel before a sacrifice made on an altar, worship and consume consecrated bread and wine which they believe to be the Flesh and Blood of a first century Palestinian Jew named Jesus, and dialogue with a priest in order to converse directly with God. They believe that this is all to let God work in their soul in order to save it. 

This is anything but normal. And the moment this sort of cultic-worship becomes commonplace is the moment we lose any sense of the wild nature of religion. 

Losing that sense is like falling out of love with a spouse. When spouses first fall in love, they’re often overwhelmed and surprised by each other. New love puts them in a state of constant awe and wonder. But when the love they share becomes commonplace, they can lose sight of the wonderful person they fell in love with at first. This same crisis can happen with our religion. 

The good news is that a crisis can be the test of true love. And we are in a crisis.

I think many Catholics are upset that they can’t receive the sacraments because they are in love. Many Catholics are confused and conflicted because they want people to gather for Mass and other sacraments but can’t because it would risk disease and death. 

This tension in their hearts arises because they are in love with their religion and the truth it captures. When this love is unbridled, it can naturally rival the good sense of doing what the secular world can empirically show is best.

As a vowed-religious, I can’t help but sympathize. The religious life is built upon such strange love from its beginning. 

On the day I took perpetual vows as a Jesuit, I knelt at the foot of an altar with eleven other novices. The Jesuit superior held the Body and Blood of Jesus in front of my face. Trembling, I looked up and spoke my new name. I confessed Jesus and his infinite and merciful love. I then professed the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In doing so, I told Jesus in the Host and Chalice that I was making my entire life an offering to Him. 

By all accounts, the twelve of us publicly knelt and spoke to what appeared to be a lifeless wafer and a gold cup of wine before consuming them. 

We dove headlong into our religion—as if life depended on it, as if life itself was in it.

Since many church doors have been closed to laity and the sacraments are not available, it can appear as if the Catholic Church has stopped doing what it loves most, what gives it its very life. 

But there is a deeper reality quietly at work in the Church, one which has carried it through great trials before. Hundreds of thousands of religious brothers, sisters and priests are still celebrating Mass and receiving the sacraments on behalf of the whole world.  

As the religious theologian Fr. Elio Gambari, SMM writes:

“In the person taking the vows, the Church offers herself to Jesus…In a certain sense, at profession we cease to be ourselves and become the Church. Our personality is not diminished by this fusion with the Church, but our ‘I’ is stamped with the ‘I’ of the Church.”

When we religious go to God in all of our liturgical and personal prayer, we bring all of humanity with us and offer all of creation back to God Who made it and died to save it. We pray the Psalms and call down the Holy Spirit across the face of the earth from sunrise to sunset. We continue to enter into union with God on behalf of everyone who cannot receive the Body and Blood of Jesus and yearn to join Him.

And we do this every day, as we have always done and will do until the end of time. This is something which we have decided we all cannot live without. This is something wild and strange we do because we know the Church is still deeply in love.

Categories: Things Jesuit

In Concert with Christ

Ignatian Spirituality - Wed, 03/25/2020 - 05:30

This post is based on Week Five of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. The popular hip hop artist took the stage as 15,000-plus fans cheered. He danced and jumped and ran the length of the catwalk while dazzling lights, smoke, and fireworks filled the arena. Confetti shot from cannons. Glittery “snow” fell from the rafters. The […]

IgnatianSpirituality.com ® 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 In Concert with Christ, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Opening Doors in Lent

Ignatian Spirituality - Mon, 03/23/2020 - 05:30

Editor’s note: This article was written before we started practicing social distancing to avoid the spread of sickness. But the lesson of being compassionate is still timely, if enacted differently these weeks. Peering through my frozen breath, I gazed at the people happily chatting with steaming cups in hand. Between us stood a thick door. […]

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

By discerning our deepest desires, we discover our truest selves. Read Tim Muldoon’s Living Against the Grain.

Click through to read the full article Opening Doors in Lent, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Facing Death and Finding Hope in Light of COVID-19

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Mon, 03/23/2020 - 01:00

My dad has a saying he’s been repeating for at least 15 years now: “Erin, everything past 60 is icing on the cake.”

The outbreak of COVID-19 has reminded the world – if we ever needed reminding – that like my dad, every human being has to come to terms with the fact that death is in our cards. Unfortunately, we also know ourselves and so recognize that even when frank acceptance of death is warranted, the better part of our energy is spent running away from it instead. We develop diets to promote longevity, we take supplements to increase lifespan, we avoid ‘germs’ like, well, the plague. We, like every other living thing on Earth, tend to want to hang on to what we’ve got for as long as we can. And the first and most precious thing we have is life.

Now let’s be clear. There’s nothing wrong with hanging on to life! To avoid dangerous situations and especially death is healthy. “Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin” writes St. Paul to the Romans.1 Likewise the prophet Ezekiel declares that God finds “no pleasure in the death of anyone”2 for death is the end of something good. And God desires not that the good die but that the dead live, just as Christ was raised from the dead. 

So in the specter of death, we rightly discern the darkness of sin, and in gratitude for God’s gracious gift, we correctly surmise a responsibility to care for our lives as vessels of the Holy Spirit and instruments of God’s designs on Earth. Death is an evil and life is a good.

And yet, the mystery of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice bringing life to the dead and reconciliation to sinners is also an important reminder that as Christians death does not have the final word.  In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul exclaims, “Where O death is your victory?  Where O death is your sting?”3 “No, in all these things,” St. Paul goes on to say in his letter to the Romans, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”4 

Christ’s resurrection changes the calculus not only on living – how we ought to face life – but also on dying – how we ought to face death. Death, we as Christians are convinced, is no longer an end point. It is no longer the final word in a tragic (or perhaps comic) play in which we, as Shakespeare put it, “are merely players.”5  On the contrary, death is now God’s invitation to more life with him, in fulfillment not only of our deepest aspirations but also those of the entire world where we, along with all the saints, hope to continue our labors beyond the grave until the final coming of God’s Kingdom on Earth.

So how might this new ‘Gospel calculus’ function in today’s world with sold out shelves of toilet paper and stockpiles of hand sanitizer? It doesn’t mean “don’t wash your hands” and it certainly doesn’t mean we should ignore appropriate precautions – these are, after all, as much for others as they are for ourselves. But what it does mean is that whether we are 74 years old like my dad or 27 years old like myself, death is not a dark and meaningless force waiting to snatch us from safety and cast us into a hopeless oblivion. In fact, it’s just the opposite, for as St. Paul writes to the young church in Philippi, for Christians “life is Christ, and death is gain” because “to depart this life…is to be with Christ” forever.6

On the global scale, the chances of any healthy individual dying from COVID-19 remain small. But we all know people – it might be our parents or it might be us – who are at higher risk if they should contract the virus. Perhaps the present pandemic can be a reminder to us of what we’ve always believed as Christians: that a life well lived – be it for 27, 74 or any other number of years – is not nullified by death. On the contrary, in death it is redeemed.  

I like my dad’s motto, and I hope I can adopt it for myself if and when I live to be his age. But in a time when fear of death is the order of the day, I don’t think we as Christians need to wait until we’re 60 (or 70 or 80) to join with the spirit of gratitude in a little prayer very much like my dad’s motto: “God, whenever you chose to take me home, every day down here was icing on the cake.”

 

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Cover photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.

Categories: Things Jesuit

The Man Born Blind: An Encounter with Jesus | One-Minute Homily

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Sun, 03/22/2020 - 02:00

How do we get to know Jesus? Well, talk to him! Eric Immel, SJ, talks about Jesus, the blind man, and what it means to encounter Jesus in this week’s One-Minute Homily. Based on the readings for Sunday, March 22, 2020.

If we want to know who Jesus really is, who should we ask? Well, Jesus of course! I’m Eric Immel, and this is my One-Minute Reflection.

Today’s gospel is filled with people who don’t want to believe that Jesus is the Son of Man. After Jesus heals a blind man on the sabbath, people get lost in speculation about whether he’s a sinner, a prophet, or something else entirely. All they seem to know for sure is that the man was blind, but after meeting Jesus, he can see.

At the end of the passage, Jesus and the healed man meet. Jesus tells him – “Hey – I’m the guy who healed you – the Son of Man!” And, the man chooses to worship. They revealed themselves to each other, and the relationship became strong.

We can know a lot about Jesus without really knowing Jesus. When it comes to having a relationship with him the best way to start is by talking with him. Through those conversations, I think we’ll come to know Jesus more fully, and he’ll come to know us as well – what we hope for, what we need – and, because the relationship is strong, how we can love each other best. Talk to Jesus – he’s a good friend to have around.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Finding God in the Mess Lenten Read-Along: Still Connected to Each Other

Ignatian Spirituality - Fri, 03/20/2020 - 05:30

If you’re participating in our Finding God in the Mess Read-Along, you’ll notice that one of the chapters addresses how we connect to each other in a world driving toward a contactless society. Our planned video for today features Brendan McManus, SJ, reading that chapter, in fact. But the text takes on a different meaning […]

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

By discerning our deepest desires, we discover our truest selves. Read Tim Muldoon’s Living Against the Grain.

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

Categories: Things Jesuit

When I’m Social Distancing I Need Christ: Resources to Finding God During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Fri, 03/20/2020 - 02:33

In the saga of national emergencies there was always an outlet. Locations to release tensions and fears. Places to escape and find momentary respite from the real. Spaces to process and understand the world at hand. You see it in movies sometimes. People running to the church to pray in the trenches, searching for hope and meaning, peace and comfort. However, in this moment of our history, where people would seek solace, tenderness and mercy, those doors have been closed. All for the safety of the community, indeed, and yet the void is quite felt. Where do we turn for accompaniment, for direction, for some sense and meaning in the confusion? 

We have put together a list of resources that could aid your discovering God’s presence through virtual communities in a time of social distancing. It’s not an exhaustive list, and perhaps these links will lead you to more outlets to engage your faith, to lean in closer to Christ, and to find God in all this mess. 

We also invite you to share in the comments below any additional links that may not be on this list that you have discovered to be helpful to you. Afterall, faith is a communal act, and we are in this together. 

For Family
52 Sundays for Families
Catholic During COVID-19 (Life Teen)
Coronavirus Response Lesson (Loyola Press)
My Catholic Kids
Tiny Saints

Mass
Practice of Spiritual Communion (Alcuin Institute for Catholic Culture)
Catholic Holy Mass Live Online (Mass Search)
Catholic T.V. (Daily Mass live broadcasts and rebroadcasts)
Daily Mass Live Stream with Cincinnati Jesuit Community
EWTN (Daily and Mass live broadcasts and rebroadcasts)
La Santa Misa (Sunday Spanish Mass)
Sunday Mass at Notre Dame 
Word on Fire: Daily Mass from Bishop Barron’s Chapel

Prayers
A Spiritual Care Package (Boston College Kairos)
Centering Prayer (Contemplative Outreach)
Examen for Life During COVID-19 (Ignatian Solidarity Network, in multiple languages)
Give Us This Day
Magnificat Online
One Hail Mary at a Time (Prayer Requests)
Popes Francis’ Prayer to Mary During Coronavirus Pandemic
Prayer Resources (Archdiocese of Detroit)
Stella Coeli: A Prayer in Time of Pestilence 
USCCB President’s Reflection Reflection and Prayer During Coronavirus

Reflections 
AMDG Podcast: Fr. Jim Martin: Ignatian Spirituality Can Guide Us in the Storm (Apple Podcast Reflection)
Catholic Women Preach (Reflections)
Coronavirus: A Reminder That We are All Connected (Reflection)
Detroit Catholic: ‘My peace I give to you’: Gaining peace of heart in a time of high anxiety (Reflection)
Gesu Church Detroit (Homily)
Hope and Community in the Time of Coronavirus (Reflection)
Ignatian Wisdom for COVID-19 (Jesuits in Ireland) 
Listening for God When We’re Stuck (Reflection)
No Mass? Practice Spiritual Communion (Reflection)
Social Distancing: What Would Jesus Do? | One-Minute Jesuit (YouTube Reflection)
Sts. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church (Weekly Homilies)
What Can Christians Do in the Time of Coronavirus? (Video | Article

Resources
BibleGateway – Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition 
Catholic Online
Church Fathers – Teachings and Resources 
Coronavirus Resources: Responding in Prayer, Reflection and Solidarity (updated regularly) 
iBreviary – Catholic Prayers 
How to Handwash Catholic Style (Catholic Diocese of Dallas)
Resources for Prayer and Engagement during Coronavirus (Current Catholic)

Virtual Communities 
BrianGeeding (Instagram IGTV; 8:30 a.m. EST morning prayer)
Catholics Quarantine for the Common Good (Facebook)
Center for Faith and Justice at Xavier University (Instagram)
Detroit Jesuits of the Midwest Province (Facebook)
Detroit Mercy University Ministry (Facebook – Watch this!)
Fr. James Martin, S.J. (Daily Faith Sharing on Facebook)
Jesuit Community at Loyola University in Maryland (Facebook)
John Carroll University Campus Ministry (Instagram – Watch this!)
Theology Quarantined (Facebook)
We Pray the Rosary Together (Instagram)

-//-

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

Categories: Things Jesuit

Contemplation in Quarantine

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 03:30

The last month has brought a global pandemic that has challenged the narratives of our busy lives. COVID-19 is forcing many of us to take a step back from our daily routines as we try to prevent its spread. Many of the moments that we expected to share, from March Madness to T-Swift concerts, have instead yielded to a time of quarantine and isolation. Freelancer friends have shared concerns about their threatened livelihoods.Their anxieties are not unique. We are all now, in one way or another, acutely aware of our personal and communal fragilities.

Uncertain as this time is, it seems to me that the pandemic is providing an opportunity for us to collectively examine our lives and to perhaps look anew at the unseen and ordinary. This crisis has surfaced during the season of Lent, a time when we have already been thinking about our priorities in life in an effort to  reorient our gaze to our relationship with God. In this era of busy-ness and overstimulation, we are invited, I believe, to collectively contemplate human living in the 21st century. 

What does it mean to contemplate? For some, contemplation may conjure images of medieval monks lost in rapture. Yet, contemplation is an activity accessible to us all. It involves seeking to read the “signs of the times”, to see where God, the deepest reality, is present amidst the events of our lives. I think that Walter Burghardt’s definition of contemplation as a “long, loving look at the real” can be helpful to us in seeking God in our current moment.

Long

It seems that the lifestyle changes induced by COVID-19 will be with us for several months.. To look at all the changes induced by COVID-19 for a long time requires us to be attentive not just to the sacrifices of the scientists, first responders, food truck drivers, and countless others at work but also to situate this challenge in human history.  There is no doubt, in the words of a friend, that COVID-19 will be a “paragraph in history” and it will be a marking point for our generation. But to students of world and even ecclesial history, we know that humanity has dealt with plague and pandemic before. Can we imagine ways to draw on the strength of those who have gone before us as we seek meaning and serenity in these times?

Loving

Sometimes, personally and communally, we succumb to the myth of leading solitary and independent existences. But, COVID-19 reminds me that we are all in this together. Disease does not discriminate. For better or worse, the coming together of the global community to combat this virus has been a reminder that we are wired for connection. The viral videos of Italians singing and dancing together independently on their balconies demonstrates how much we need each other. #InThisTogether, trending on Twitter, shows us how we can each commit to solidarity. If germs can spread, how much more can kindness and good deeds? 

Look at the real

Burghardt reminds us that when we seek God, we have to begin with what is real. Even when it hurts, we do not avert our gaze from the difficult. COVID-19 has forced us to confront our false narratives of complete security and insulation from pain. In the 21st century, an age with such paradoxes of brilliant technology and vast inequity, we have to acknowledge our vulnerability. Despite all of our progres, we have not escaped the human condition. The dead who we mourn and the pain of their families testify to that. 

Yet, we also look and see the possibilities born out of a different way of life. The possibility of greater solidarity with our local and global communities. The possibility of escaping from the narrative that we only matter to the extent that we produce and are busy. The possibility of reimagining social and political structures to better serve others. The possibility of seeing ourselves not as independent agents but as creatures who want to sing, dance, and share our lives with one another. 

 Have you added any new contemplative practices to your life? When you look at this time, what essentials have emerged? Where have you been surprised by joy or by sorrow? What possibilities has COVID-19 opened for you? 

Photo by Noah Silliman

Categories: Things Jesuit

Sent from God

Ignatian Spirituality - Wed, 03/18/2020 - 05:30

This post is based on Week Four of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure and inspired by Luke 1:26. I wait by God’s throne, ready to spring into action at any second. I stand in awe of Divine Majesty as I watch the Trinity love each other. It’s a frighteningly blinding, powerful love. It even dares to […]

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

By discerning our deepest desires, we discover our truest selves. Read Tim Muldoon’s Living Against the Grain.

Click through to read the full article Sent from God, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Coronavirus Has Shifted Reality, and My Mind and Heart Are Scattered

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Wed, 03/18/2020 - 02:33

It’s hard not to move through the world these days feeling like toxins saturate everything. In my scattered mind, I’m actively choosing not to be afraid. 

***

The text came at 10:39 p.m. on Saturday. It’s a girl. She is healthy, eating and pooping as newborns do, and her parents are with her in the hospital, soon heading back to their semi-country home just outside Madison, Wisconsin. As the birth unfolded, the father was the only guest allowed in the room with the mother and medical staff. They didn’t know the child’s gender before she was born, and had taken to referring to her as ‘Larry.’ That’s not what they named her.

Grandparents will have to hold off on holding her for a while. The already sterilized process of handling an infant will be even more calculated and cautious. Yet there she is, a light in the midst of darkness. The father told me that everyone there – the doctors, nurses, staff – were filled with joy for the young family. Little Lady Larry is here, ready to live.

*

I have a distinct memory from 2nd grade. One day, I was sitting in my assigned seat, likely a bit squirrely and bent over a book for SSR – sustained silent reading. Unthinking, I did something that I often did – I extended my pointer finger and plunged it into my nose. I rifled around for a second, found the gold I was digging for, and then – I’m embarrassed to say – ate whatever was schmeared under my nail. My teacher saw, and made a big scene.

“Eric Immel – that is absolutely disgusting!” she shouted, and the whole class turned on me. To her credit, she didn’t say out loud what I had done, but my classmates probably knew. Eating boogers as an eight-year-old is a hard habit to hide after all.

Rest assured, my friends. I was more careful about picking my nose after that. 

*

I live in community with 60 Jesuits. We range in age from our late 20s to mid-80s. We come from dozens of countries. We’ve had knees replaced and organs transplanted. We have survived political uprisings, viral outbreaks, and shortages of food and water. We have tried to be good Jesuits, men who at our core want to go about doing our best and remaining faithful. 

I say ‘we’ not to take personal credit for the incredible lives these words represent, but to remind myself that right now, nothing is about me. It is about ‘we,’ that is, us. 

One of our older guys and I have a great rapport, and as we gathered for our final all-community meeting recently, I wanted nothing more than to give him a hug and let him know of my prayers. But, I had to show my love from six feet away, because that’s what we’re called to these days. That’s something that will help.

***

The gift of a scattered mind is that it reaches to the limits of everything I know and grasps to make sense of it. It’s the only way that a new baby girl, a recollection of old habits, a life in religious community, and a global pandemic can come together and remind me that love is greater than fear. Love is the only thing that brings my mind back to center.

There are people who need my prayers, and I’ll offer them – newborn babies and new parents, folks that are at great risk. There are new ways of living I must engage to keep myself safe. My hands are chapped from frequent washing, and I haven’t picked my nose in almost a week. As much as I want to bear-hug my brothers during the sign of peace at Mass, my love for them has to be shown through a committed distance and stillness. 

Painful realities abound right now. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has limited social visitation for people held in detention, causing even further alienation. Friends who work with nonprofits dedicated to supporting unhoused people can’t get essentials to maintain their services. I’m getting emails from lists I didn’t know I was on – Macy’s department store, the Greater Oshkosh YMCA, the AARP for God’s sake – about how they’re handling the virus and what advice they have. Friends may never teach their graduating students face-to-face again. Weddings have been cancelled. I’m sitting in my room, doubting whether I have shortness of breath or if anxiety is simply raising my heart rate. 

Coronavirus affects everything. I’m doing my best to respond. It strikes me, though, that other contagions are in the air – fear, anger, sadness. I don’t want to diminish in any way the reality of this virus and what it can do. I do, however, think we have the cure to other contagions, and I think it’s time to engage them. Life, and love, must go on and win the day.

-//-

“Pick-Your-Nose Pen” by VodaBlatoKri

Categories: Things Jesuit

Ignatian Wisdom for Troubled Times

Ignatian Spirituality - Tue, 03/17/2020 - 05:30

What might St. Ignatius give us as advice in these times of COVID-19? Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ, in the voice of St. Ignatius, shares four tips to get through these troubled times in an article for the Jesuits in Ireland. Sintobin is the author of Jesuits Telling Jokes: A (Serious) Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality. Author Tim […]

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

By discerning our deepest desires, we discover our truest selves. Read Tim Muldoon’s Living Against the Grain.

Click through to read the full article Ignatian Wisdom for Troubled Times, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

A New Resource: the TJP Curriculum Guide

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Tue, 03/17/2020 - 01:00

Since 2012, TJP has offered a Jesuit, Catholic perspective on the contemporary world. Our team is comprised of young Jesuits seeking God in all things. Our work focuses on both sacred and secular issues because we are convinced that God’s does too. Over the years, we have received lots of feedback from educators and ministers who use our content in the classroom, on retreats, and for faculty formation.

Now we have a new resource to share. Introducing, the TJP Curriculum Guide. This guide includes articles and videos published by TJP, organized by nearly twenty different themes, with hyperlinks to the content.

The themes include the following:

  • Addiction
  • Climate Change and the Environment
  • Church Teaching
  • Education
  • Ignatian Spirituality
  • Immigrants and Refugees
  • Mental Health
  • Race and Racism
  • Politics
  • Pop Culture
  • Post-College Life
  • Prayer
  • Sexuality
  • Social Justice
  • Spirituality
  • Sports
  • Technology
  • Women in the Church
  • Vocations

You can view and download the TJP Curriculum Guide here. We hope you find this content helpful in your work and ministry. It will be updated periodically, so be sure to check back at the start of a new semester.

Submit your email address to this Google Form if you are using this in your work or ministry to let us know how it’s been helpful and how we could make it better. On the form, you’ll find an option to receive a direct copy when we update the TJP Curriculum Guide every 3-6 months with new content.

If you want to stay in the loop about updates and get connected to others who are using TJP as a resource, you can also send us an email at editors@thejesuitpost.org.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Coronavirus Response Examen and Lesson

Ignatian Spirituality - Mon, 03/16/2020 - 05:30

Acknowledge how you are feeling in this moment. If being calm is hard, acknowledge it. If you find yourself frustrated or stressed, acknowledge it. God wants to be present in all parts of our lives—not just the easy or serene moments. So begins a special Examen for Life During COVID-19. Susan Haarman shares this adaptation […]

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

By discerning our deepest desires, we discover our truest selves. Read Tim Muldoon’s Living Against the Grain.

Click through to read the full article Coronavirus Response Examen and Lesson, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

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