Things Jesuit

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ

Ignatian Spirituality - Wed, 10/21/2020 - 05:30

Many saints experienced a crisis of faith at some point during their lives. Rather than shy away from the pain, they embraced it. This stage is the one you probably find yourself in now. Can you find your way through this pain to a rebirth of faith? Many before you have succeeded in this. We […]

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 St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

About That Time I Discovered God in a Garden

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Wed, 10/21/2020 - 02:33

Last night, as I sat at dinner, one of the guys I live with talked about his experiences at a nearby hospital, a place off the table for us to volunteer. Not being able to serve is deflating. What remains? Online ministry, sure, tutoring and accompaniment. And while these ways of helping out are good and necessary, I long for immediate, unmitigated contact with a community, be it a food pantry, a social service center, or a school.

How providential, then, was this grace the other week?  I found myself in the community garden here at Loyola University Chicago, where students and  Jesuit scholastics volunteer. We harvest the crops and donate them to a local food pantry, I was told, and the idea of helping out appealed to me. When the morning came, however, I didn’t want to go. My bed was too comfortable to get out of. I had a paper to begin writing. I could use the time to get ahead on my readings. Someone else would take care of the garden. The list of excuses continued to tell me that it would be okay to skip out. 

Nevertheless, something mysterious was attracting me to the garden, and I found myself walking between rows of tomato vines  and running my hand down the silky milkweed. I lugged the garden hose across the neighbor’s lawn to hook it up to the spigot. I marveled, in horror, at how quickly my clean sneakers could become encrusted with mulch. Then the work began; I enjoyed watering as I watched the dry dirt become dark and rich, greedily drinking up each drop of moisture. I watched the water fall from my sprayer and land like raindrops upon the leaves of kale and tomatoes. 

All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time, the psalmist writes in psalm 104. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.

We are needy beings, us humans; we have that in common with plants. As I continued to give the plants what I needed, I began meditating on the Arabic word Rab, which is often translated to “Lord” in religious texts. However, Rab has this additional meaning of “Sustainer, Cherisher, Nourisher.” 

It is a powerful and simple notion. God is the Nourisher, who sustains us by his very Being, and in my simple action of watering the tomatoes and the peppers and the Black-eyed Susans I was participating in that. God was quite active through me, as I nourished the plants with this gift of water. But this gift would extend beyond the moment, a half-hour period of watering. Someone else would harvest the plants; after that, they would bring those crops to the food pantry. Others still would enjoy the sweetness of a melon or the heat of a pepper and be nourished. 

In his book “How to Eat,” Thich Nhat Hanh writes this meditation: 

With just a little bit of mindfulness you can truly see where your bread comes from. It has not come from nothing. Bread comes from the wheat fields, from hard work, and from the baker, the supplier, and the seller. But the bread is more than that. The wheat field needs clouds and sunshine. So in the slice of bread there is sunshine, there is cloud, there is the labor of the farmer, the joy of having flour, and the skill of the baker…The whole cosmos has come together so that this piece of bread can be in your hand.

As Christians, we are invited to see God at work in creation, be it in the immensity of space or in the ordinariness of food, grown and given. More than merely seeing, we are called to participate in God’s act of creating, as I was able to do yesterday in a small way. The pandemic has challenged us, challenged our ability to connect to others and feel nourished by those interactions. Yet even in small ways, or maybe especially in small ways, we can really understand what it means to serve, to be close to the Divine Nourisher, and, thereby, to be nourished ourselves. For me, these themes are reflected in the final words of the Suscipe, a famous Jesuit prayer: 

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

-//-

Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash

Categories: Things Jesuit

Gratefulness

Ignatian Spirituality - Mon, 10/19/2020 - 05:30

Remembering what my own eyes have seen is a practice in gratefulness. My own eyes have seen good people beyond counting and blessings without number. My eyes have seen the birth of my children and the passing of my parents. I have seen terrible accidents but many, many more near misses. My eyes have seen […]

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

In Ignatian Spirituality A to Z, Jim Manney provides a brief, informative, and entertaining guide to key concepts of Ignatian spirituality and essential characters and events in Jesuit history.

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

Categories: Things Jesuit

The Politics of Pope Francis: Fratelli Tutti’s Message of Hope

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Mon, 10/19/2020 - 00:07

The news these days does not paint a rosy picture for peace and goodwill around the world. The United Kingdom continues its agonizingly slow departure from the European Union. Tensions are flaring between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Lebanon’s decline into failed statehood continues; and citizens are protesting corrupt leaders in Spain, Thailand, across Africa, and elsewhere. In the United States, of course, a tumultuous presidential election is taking place not only in the midst of a global pandemic, but against a backdrop of rising racial tensions and partisan divisions that remain at a constant fever pitch.

Despite these challenges, or perhaps because of them, Pope Francis chose to release an encyclical earlier this month on the topic of love. 

Fratelli Tutti (overview here) seeks to bring people together in an era when we are drifting further and further apart. Its message, that “we need to think of each other more and more as a single family dwelling in a common home” (87), spans many topics, among them economics, immigration, social media, war, capital punishment, and the current pandemic. The pope’s message on politics, however, speaks to this current climate in a particularly striking way.

Pope Francis admits that “for many people today, politics is a distasteful word” (176). Corruption, poor governance, and seemingly hopeless division have led to a high degree of cynicism toward political leaders in many countries. On the contrary, he considers politics a noble profession, but only if leaders practice it “out of a tender care for others” (194). Politicians have a unique opportunity: they can help individuals, yes, but they also have the power to create the very conditions by which people can flourish, which has a much larger impact. Politics has fallen into disrepute because individualism and an unhealthy populism have corrupted it. What we need, says Francis, is “a better kind of politics, one truly at the service of the common good” (154).

What would this “better kind of politics” look like? We might look first to the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the theological foundation of the entire encyclical. The parable reminds us how easy it is to avoid the suffering of others by looking the other way. National boundaries do not matter to the Samaritan, who comes from a nation deeply at odds with that of the Jewish victim. The discomfort of the badly wounded man does not disgust him or cause him to retreat into a “comfortable isolation” as it does the priest and the Levite (68). Neither does he pass judgment on the social position of the victim; he sees only a human being who needs help. 

Francis challenges all people, and their leaders, to imitate the Samaritan. To do otherwise is to act as a secret ally of the robbers, enabling them to commit their crimes with impunity and determine the consequences for themselves. 

How can we expect our politicians to embody the virtues of the Good Samaritan? Three practices stand out in Francis’ lengthy encyclical: dialogue, encounter, and solidarity. 

Dialogue means going deeper than “feverish exchange” (200) on social media and a “noisy potpourri of facts and opinions” (201) we often find in the traditional media. Political leaders practicing dialogue would recognize that others have something valuable to contribute, and that conflicting points of view are worthy of respect. 

True encounter does not push others away because they make us uncomfortable; it is rooted in a “basic sense of belonging” to each other which is present within each human being (230). It does not mean avoiding conflicts or “making society blandly uniform” (228). Political leaders practicing encounter would foster reconciliation that happens through “open, honest, and patient negotiation” (244).

Leaders who exhibit solidarity would practice “thinking and acting in terms of community,” and would recognize that being born in one place or another does not make a person more or less worthy of the rights and privileges of being human (116). On the contrary, “the dignity of others is to be respected in all circumstances, not because that dignity is something we have invented or imagined, but because human beings possess an intrinsic worth” that comes from God (213). 

This call to bring about a politics of dialogue, encounter, and solidarity can sound utopian or naive. Francis admits as much more than once. Yet, he reminds us that change happens on the level of ordinary people, and that “each individual can act as an effective leaven by the way he or she lives each day” (231). In a very practical way, we can strive to change our lives day by day 

according to the model of the Good Samaritan, and we can vote for the political leaders who best exemplify this “better kind of politics.” No candidate, or society, will ever be perfect, but we must not lose hope: Francis reminds us that “God continues to sow abundant seeds of goodness in our human family” (54).

Categories: Things Jesuit

St. Isaac Jogues: A Saint for Those Who Have Been Knocked Down by Life | One-Minute Saints

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Mon, 10/19/2020 - 00:00

St. Isaac Jogues, one of the North American Martyrs, went through a great ordeal in his missionary ministry, yet even when he escaped he chose to return out of love of Christ. Fr. Michael Rossmann, SJ, reflects on the life of Isaac Jogues and how he might be an inspiration to us when we’ve been knocked down.

Isaac Jogues is a saint for those who have been knocked down by life.

Hi, I’m Fr. Michael Rossmann of The Jesuit Post.

In 1636, Jogues arrived as a missionary in what is today Canada. He experienced starvation, illness, and torture. He was forced to watch the killing of Christian converts. He spent thirteen months as a slave before escaping to France.

He could have remained there as a living hero. Instead, he went back as a missionary.

Before returning, the Jesuits requested a dispensation from the pope. According to Church law, a priest needs “canonical digits” to celebrate Mass, and several of his fingers had been cut, chewed, or burnt off. 

The pope granted the request, saying, “It would be shameful that a martyr of Christ not be allowed to drink the Blood of Christ.”

Isaac Jogues was able to face unimaginable difficulty and martyrdom because he allowed Christ to fill him.

Even when our challenges seem minor in comparison, we can do the same.

So, St. Isaac Jogues, pray for us.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Give to God What Belongs to God | One-Minute Homily

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Sun, 10/18/2020 - 01:00

“Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.” What is it that we give to God? Jason Quino McCreery, SJ, reminds us that whatever we give to God, we must do with great love. Based on the readings for Sunday, October 18, 2020.

No one really enjoys paying taxes, but what if what we were giving was not to a government, but to God?

Hi, I’m Jason Quino McCreery, and this is my One-Minute Reflection.

Jesus today is challenged about paying the census tax – a tax that reminded the people of Jerusalem that they were occupied by Rome. And even today, taxes are considered at their best only a duty. But when Jesus asks us to repay to God what belongs to God, he is speaking beyond duty or obligation.

In the Spiritual Exercises, when Ignatius encourages the retreatant to give back to God, this giving happens in the context of love. There is no tax spreadsheet, no calculation that reduces who we are to numbers and percentages.

Every single one of us, through prayer and conversation, must discern what God is calling us to give. Sometimes it’s doing something good for a neighbor. Sometimes it’s a financial gift to an institution. But it all only makes sense if we recognize that we are giving and receiving in a context of love.

Categories: Things Jesuit

A Bold Invitation from Zephaniah

Ignatian Spirituality - Fri, 10/16/2020 - 05:30

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. On that day it shall be […]

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

In Ignatian Spirituality A to Z, Jim Manney provides a brief, informative, and entertaining guide to key concepts of Ignatian spirituality and essential characters and events in Jesuit history.

Click through to read the full article A Bold Invitation from Zephaniah, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque: Saint of the Sacred Heart | One-Minute Saints

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Fri, 10/16/2020 - 02:00

“Behold the Heart that has loved you so much.” This was the message that St. Margaret Mary Alacoque received from Jesus and the message that we all need to let sink in. Fr. Joe Laramie, SJ, reflects on the revelation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Take a moment to feel your heartbeat. 

A beating heart is a sign of life and health. 

It is also a symbol of God’s powerful love for us. 

Hi, I’m Fr Joe Laramie, with the Jesuit Post

A St. Margaret Mary Alacoque had a powerful encounter with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She was a young French sister in the 1600s. Over a number of weeks, she had a series of powerful visions and prayers centered on the Heart of Christ. 

She saw how His Heart beats with love for us, at every moment of every day. He has a Risen Body, and a heart that is both human and divine. 

Among Jesus’s revelations to Margaret Mary was simply, “Behold the Heart that has loved you so much.”

His Heart continues to beat with love for me and you today. The saints take time to notice His love–through prayer, journaling, and spiritual conversation.

Margaret Mary teaches us to let our hearts beat in rhythm with the Heart of Christ.

St Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us. 

Categories: Things Jesuit

Elements of Hope

Ignatian Spirituality - Wed, 10/14/2020 - 05:30

What might an Ignatian approach to hope look like, especially in days that may feel turbulent? Ignatian hope is at root a Christian hope: Christians affirm in the Creed our belief in bodily resurrection and in eternal life. God is good, and God’s goodness always remains powerful and present, no matter what else is going […]

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

Go on a personal at-home prayer retreat with An Invitation to Love by William A. Barry, SJ.

Click through to read the full article Elements of Hope, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Sometimes I Have To Let Go and It Is the Only Thing I Can Do

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Wed, 10/14/2020 - 02:33

A few weeks ago, YouTube suggested a video from Storror, a group of seven parkour athletes from Great Britain. I watched it, naturally. And another. And another. Their epic leaps across building tops and over dark, dank waters got me thinking that I might have what it takes to be a decent older-aged (but not old) parkour athlete. I have a gymnastics background, I can jump and balance well, my knees only hurt sometimes, and I desperately want to hang onto whatever semblance of youth I have left. I began looking for chances to practice kong vaults and precision jumps.

When a day trip to New Hampshire’s White Mountains came up this past weekend, some friends and I considered ways to enjoy the great outdoors and the explosion of fall colors in the Northeast. Quickly, our best option became exploring the Swift River – a quick running but shallow river dotted with exposed rocks. Surely, this was a place to practice my newfound parkour passion. We all set out, stepping lightly from rock to rock, hugging the banks of the river and occasionally wandering out onto rocks just above deeper water.

At one point, I thought I could jump up onto a big rock for a great view and a chance to cross over. As I leapt upward, my foot landed firmly…and slipped. My momentum brought my knees and chest crashing into it. As I slid down, my fingers caught hold of a thin ledge. Dangling for just a moment, feet inches above the frigid mountain stream, I knew I couldn’t hold on. I slowly lowered myself down into the water, boots first, with a look of defeat cast toward my friends. I had to let go and accept the cold.

***

These months have been marked by letting go. Back in March, I felt sure we’d be done with COVID by Easter. Our national leaders told us as such. May came and went, then June, July, and on. I’ve let go of any hope for a quick resolution to the pandemic. 

In the mid-March days of COVID, I was taking long walks at night without a mask on. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and wanted the cool early spring air to hit my lungs unimpeded. Masks weren’t the norm right away. But, when it became clear that masks were essential, I let go of my own sense of discomfort and started wearing them outside with very, very few exceptions.

I took a nice walk with an old friend just the other day. I hadn’t seen them in well over a year, and after a lovely stroll in the cool autumn breeze, I wanted to give them a hug goodbye. Who knows when I’ll see them again. No hug. Another thing to let go.

These lettings go are humble, nothing compared to what so many have lost. In this country alone, 215,00 families have let go of loved ones. Globally, it’s well over a million. Jobs lost, businesses closed, high school and college seniors robbed of hallmark experiences and first-time students entering their formative years of learning behind computer screens. 

It is, for most, a powerless situation. Control, which we so deeply seek to hold onto, is gone. We have no choice but to plunge further into the deep. We have no choice but to let go.

***

Autumn trees will eventually go bare. After a moment of brilliance, the leaves will let go. Their departure makes way for the starkness of winter. But as Karl Rahner observes, in winter we’re able to see deeper into the forest. We gaze deeper into that unknown which has the power to terrify us, but also the power to draw us back to warmth and to each other.

The day was not lost, in spite of my wetness. I let go, went for a skin-piercing swim, and climbed out another way. I slogged along, boots heavy with water, but joyful to be surrounded by people I love. Nothing could rob us of the delight and peace of the moment, the beautiful sunlight, the kaleidoscope of colors, the sound of the rushing water and the thrill of leaping again and again. Eventually, I dried out, warmed up, and slept content.

Now might be a time of letting go. Maybe that’s just what we need. We can only control so much. It is, after all, an act of faith to surrender ourselves to something bigger, something yet to be seen, something perhaps a little scary, but something that is, with hope, not so far off. 

-//-

Photo by Scott Goodwill on Unsplash

Categories: Things Jesuit

Luke Learns from Mary

Ignatian Spirituality - Mon, 10/12/2020 - 05:30

In honor of the October 18 feast of St. Luke, let’s listen in to an imagined story by the evangelist. It started with Mary. I first met her during a trip with Paul, who I first joined in Troas; we went throughout Macedonia, so a stop in Ephesus was easy to manage. Mary was mending […]

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

Go on a personal at-home prayer retreat with An Invitation to Love by William A. Barry, SJ.

Click through to read the full article Luke Learns from Mary, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

The Wedding Feast: Accepting the Invitation | One-Minute Homily

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Sun, 10/11/2020 - 02:00

Why didn’t the people show up for the wedding feast? Do we show up when called? David Romero, SJ, reflects on the Parable of the Wedding Feast in today’s One-Minute Homily. Based on the readings for Sunday, October 11, 2020.

Sometimes when that party invitation comes, you just want to say no!

Hi, I’m David Romero, and this is my One-Minute Homily.

A king invites a ‘good’ group of people to a feast. They selected “Not Going.” The king then opens up his feast to everybody—the “bad and good alike.” His sole motivation is to share his banquet. He wants someone, anyone, everyone, to join his celebration.

Both groups – the good and bad – were favored and given the same opportunity. If that’s true for them, it’s true for us. The second group showed up, they were present. This makes me wonder: do I show up or not?

Our nervousness about God’s judgments can come from the assumption that God judges us in the same way we judge others. What if it’s the opposite with God? What if Jesus is trying to shock us into seeing that the kingdom of heaven is not business as usual according to our standards?

Our call is to show up, be present, and discover for ourselves the worthiness God has always known about us. That’s when our lives begin to change.

Categories: Things Jesuit

My Hourglass

Ignatian Spirituality - Fri, 10/09/2020 - 05:30

I was standing in the parking lot of Campion Hall at Seattle University, my eyes welling with tears that I refused to let fall and a lump in my throat that I forced myself to swallow. It was the moment I had been dreading for 25 years: the end of my life being responsible for […]

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

Go on a personal at-home prayer retreat with An Invitation to Love by William A. Barry, SJ.

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

Categories: Things Jesuit

Netflix’s “The Social Dilemma” and Moral Relativism

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Fri, 10/09/2020 - 01:10

The beginning of Social Dilemma, the recently released Netflix documentary, poses a question to set up the entire film: what is beneath all the problems we are seeing in the tech industry and the world? Computer scientist and tech ethicist, Tristan Harris, is the one who asks it at the beginning and he provides the answer near its conclusion.

Harris says, “If we don’t agree on what is true, or that there’s such a thing as truth, we’re toast! This is the problem beneath other problems because if we don’t agree on what’s true, then we can’t navigate out of any of our problems.”

I almost pumped my fists in the air in excited agreement as I listened to Harris hone in on what ails us. Relativism is at the heart of our social disorder. 

Pope Francis recognizes this fact. His words in Laudato Si could serve as an introduction to the Social Dilemma. He says:

“When human beings place themselves at the center, they give absolute priority to immediate convenience and all else becomes relative. Hence we should not be surprised to find…the rise of a relativism which sees everything as irrelevant unless it serves one’s own immediate interests. ” 1

Moral relativism is the belief that a moral judgment is the subjective expression of an individual and cannot be judged outside that individual. 2 The problem is that once objective moral grounds are removed, then it becomes possible to justify almost any sort of behavior.

So how are the tech industries engaging in moral relativism?

In Social Dilemma, artist Edward Tufte is quoted, “There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’: illegal drugs and software.” In other words, the tech industry has reduced the human person to merely a consumer. Just as illegal drug traffickers ruin lives through careless disregard for the person to whom they’re selling drugs, so is the tech industry degrading the people who use their software. What’s worse, these tech industries view people as not just users, but commodities themselves to be sold to the highest bidding advertiser.

These companies profit off of advertising and more clicks equals more ad revenue. That algorithm doesn’t account for whether any information they are pushing to the users page is true. It’s only goal is to get clicks. That benefits the spread of fake news, which according to a recent M.I.T. study, spreads six times faster on social media than true stories. As one interviewee said in the film, “We’ve created a system that biases towards false information…because that makes companies more money.”

The film points out that a company cannot be blamed for aiming to make money per se because companies are supposed to make money. Money is a desirable good, but it is not the greatest good. And that is why these companies are guilty of relativism. They’re pursuing money at the cost of social wellbeing. What these corporations are doing is articulated in Pope Francis’s quote from Laudato Si above. They are effectively making themselves the center, and we should not be surprised that everything else, especially people, are “irrelevant unless it serves [their] own immediate interests.”

One of the interviewees puts this in other words. Computer philosophy writer Jaron Lanier says, “A lot of people in Silicon Valley subscribe to some kind of theory that we’re building some global super brain, and all of our users are just interchangeable little neurons, no one of which is important.” He goes on to say people are then seen as another element to be programmed and manipulated.

And relativism is what makes all this possible. When the dignity of the human person is reduced in any way, abuses of all kinds occur. This isn’t a new phenomena, though. Numerous examples in history show this sort of relativism in practice: chattel slavery, the labor practices of the industrial revolution, the Trail of Tears, and so many more.

All these happened through the rejection of the innate value of all human beings, which is what relativism is powerless to fight against. We need objective moral truths, beginning with the inviolable dignity of of all humans, to combat this sort of injustice.

Categories: Things Jesuit

The Great Re-Imaginer

Ignatian Spirituality - Wed, 10/07/2020 - 05:30

Having faith and hope seems almost absurd in times like these. The brokenness, darkness, and suffering of our world are in plain sight. Uncertainty looms and lurks around us. Fear rears its head way too easily. I hear the cries of despair in my daily comings and goings. I see the pain as I listen […]

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

Go on a personal at-home prayer retreat with An Invitation to Love by William A. Barry, SJ.

Click through to read the full article The Great Re-Imaginer, which appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Sometimes Social Media Becomes My Escape From the Daily Labors of Hard Work: A Poem

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Wed, 10/07/2020 - 02:33

Social Media Mirage

On the screen
Masses of images
Saturating and staining
Are seen.
Pleasure and pain.
Emotion
A potion.
Moments crystallized
Mindlessly molding
My mind,
Morphing my imagination
To desire
To imitate:
What I can only see now
But don’t have.

Through different feeds
Or streams
The life which I see
And to which I respond
Cannot be.
A mirage
Thirsty, I reach
Evaporating.

At my desk
In a daze.
The life I’ve seen
Echoing,
Only to return
To the daily grind,
Alone.

The life that actually touches my body:
Brushing my teeth,
Cleaning,
Working,
Eating,
Planning,
Emailing,
Mowing,
Writing,
Unseen.

Time and time again
I’m tempted
To escape
To a place
Of set up
Satisfactions.
Staged stories.
Selective shots.
Filtered photos
Fake future hopes.

But I’m always abandoned there.
Led on
And then let off
By that adulterous affair.

Save me God.
Bring me back
To you, alive.

Burn away
The mirage,
So I can see
Who you want me to be

I see someone,
A stranger.
We talk.
His cool green eyes,
Kind.

And snap
I’m brought back
To a forgotten fact
Not fiction.

Real relationship,
The realm of my religion.

This one man
A mystery among many
to be revealed
I am certain
Shatters the stage I’ve set.

I am led.
By You
Playing
In another’s eyes,
True.
Now tilled
I’m ready
For what is real.
Roots for fruit faithfully produced.

I will love the world.

-//-

Photo by mikoto.raw from Pexels

Categories: Things Jesuit

Soul to Soul

Ignatian Spirituality - Mon, 10/05/2020 - 05:30

The loud clang, clang, clang of the church bells resounding across the quad combined with the incessant chatter of excited kids running out of classrooms, looking for either their family cars in the carpool lane or their parents waiting on the warm September concrete. The noise of the bells was so loud it elevated the […]

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

Helping Families Recover from Addiction: Coping, Growing, and Healing through 12-Step Practices and Ignatian Spirituality retells Jean Heaton’s journey “working the steps” as a family member of people with addictions.

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

Categories: Things Jesuit

An Overview of Fratelli Tutti

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Mon, 10/05/2020 - 01:00

On the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, released the third encyclical letter of his papacy entitled Fratelli Tutti, on fraternity and social friendship. As with Laudato Si’, the title is an Italian quotation of the pope’s saintly namesake, translated as “brothers and sisters all.” The 287-paragraph document is a brisk walking-tour of Pope Francis’s social teaching and well worth a read. In this time of social distancing, the Holy Father reminds us that we ought to love our brothers and sisters as much when they are far away as we are with them.

The encyclical articulates in eight chapters a call for all human persons to recognize and live out our common fraternity. It starts with a consideration of what is holding humanity back from the development of universal fraternity and moves to an expression of hope that peace and unity will be achieved through dialogue among peoples of faith. I offer a summary of each chapter below.

Chapter 1 – Dark Clouds Over a Closed World

In the first chapter, Pope Francis outlines some trends in the world today that he finds running counter to seeing each other as brothers and sisters: the loss of a historical consciousness, the throwaway culture, the stalled expansion of human rights, fear of immigrants, and the superficiality of digital connection that can lead to aggression and polarization. Francis does not intend to produce an exhaustive list of the world’s social ills, but rather highlights how these issues are all connected by an elevation of the individual over concern for the whole of humanity:

“The gap between concern for one’s personal well-being and the prosperity of the larger human family seems to be stretching to the point of complete division between individuals and human community… It is one thing to feel forced to live together, but something entirely different to value the richness and beauty of those seeds of common life that need to be sought out and cultivated” (31).

Chapter 2 – A Stranger on the Road

After the lament of the first chapter, Pope Francis offers an extended reflection on Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan as a “ray of light in the midst of what we are experiencing” (56). The Holy Father sees in the parable a reminder that the natural love we experience for family members should be consciously extended to those who are strangers to us. This call to care for strangers in need has its roots in Judaism, and Pope Francis highlights that this care must be expressed both personally, case by case, and communally, united as a family. Each new day should be seen as an opportunity to “include, integrate, and lift up the fallen” rather than “an arena for [our] own power plays” (77).

Chapter 3 – Envisaging and Engendering an Open World

Pope Francis goes on to say that the social, loving dimension of human life is universal, natural, and essential. Love both draws us out of ourselves and draws the ones we love into ourselves. True love also “impels us towards universal communion… By its very nature, love calls for growth in openness and the ability to accept others as part of a continuing adventure that makes every periphery converge in a greater sense of mutual belonging” (95). This movement toward solidarity does not eliminate differences, but celebrates the beauty of diversity.

An authentic human fraternity must be based on a recognition of the inherent dignity of all persons, especially those who are vulnerable, poor, or suffering. In economic terms, human dignity also entails the right to “sufficient opportunities for his or her integral development” (118). Francis here reiterates the Church’s teaching of the “common destination of created goods,” which states that “if one person lacks what is necessary to live with dignity, it is because another person is detaining it” (119). Rights to private property are derived from the universal destination of goods and therefore are subordinate to it. Pope Francis recognizes that this way of thinking is not common these days, but that “if we accept the great principle that there are rights born of inalienable human dignity, we can rise to the challenge of envisaging a new humanity” (127).

Chapter 4 – A Heart Open to the Whole World

In concrete terms, the Holy Father points to the plight of immigrants in today’s world as an opportunity to better care for our brothers and sisters. The topic of borders and their limitations is a recurring theme throughout the encyclical, and it is directly addressed in this chapter. Pope Francis writes that since migration is an international concern, an international response is needed. Furthermore, rather than seeing migration as cause for fear or turmoil, we ought to welcome the fruitful exchange that migrants bring to a community and the opportunities for caring for strangers. The pope recognizes a tension between globalization and localization, but sees a way of healthily living rooted in one’s own culture while striving for the common good of the whole of humanity. “Each particular group becomes part of the fabric of universal communion and there discovers its own beauty. All individuals, whatever their origin, know that they are part of the greater human family, without which they will not be able to understand themselves fully” (149).

Chapter 5 – A Better Kind of Politics

In the political sphere, Pope Francis discusses two movements that hinder our ability to see the world as open and having a place for all people: populism and liberalism. Populism distorts the notion of a “people” in a closed and exclusionary way. Liberalism, specifically neoliberalism, exalts the marketplace as the solution to all problems, to the benefit only of those in power. Citing St. John Paul II, Pope Francis imagines a nobler politics that puts social love at the forefront rather than economics. Political love is practiced in sacrifice for those in greatest need, but in accord with subsidiarity so that it does not become “a soulless pragmatism” (187). This requires politicians to strive for “fruitfulness” over “results”: “what is important is not constantly achieving great results… It is truly noble to place our hope in the hidden power of the seeds of goodness we sow, and thus to initiate processes whose fruits will be reaped by others” (194-195). Thus, politics should focus on the long-term common good. Concretely, the pope also calls for reform of the U.N. and an end to human trafficking.

Chapter 6 – Dialogue and Friendship in Society

In this chapter, Pope Francis turns to dialogue and its essential role in creating a new culture of fraternity. Dialogue is a middle path between “selfish indifference” and “violent protest” (198). Society is built on authentic dialogue, which involves respecting the other’s viewpoint, but not in a relativistic fashion. Rather, “it must respect the truth of our human dignity and submit to that truth” (207). In envisioning how this might look in a pluralistic society, the pope draws on a favorite image, that of the polyhedron, “whose different sides form a variegated unity, in which ‘the whole is greater than the part’” (215). This is lived out in the hard, but joyful, work of encountering those who are different than ourselves. For this we can call on the Holy Spirit for the gift of kindness.

Chapter 7 – Paths of Renewed Encounter

In many circumstances, peace and fraternity require healing between groups who have experienced conflict. Pope Francis outlines some ways to move forward toward lasting peace. He recognizes that true peace must be based on truth, along with justice and mercy. Unity is often best achieved when people work together to address the problems they share. The process of peacemaking is on-going and requires work, especially a care for the most vulnerable in society. Conflicts will arise but can be resolved through dialogue and honest negotiation. This does not mean that whole societies can be reconciled and forget past sins; rather, “reconciliation is a personal act” and human evils like the Shoah and the atomic bombings must be remembered as symbols of the depths of human evil (246-247).

At this point, Pope Francis writes of war and the death penalty as two “false answers” that seem to address certain extreme circumstances, but “do no more than introduce new elements of destruction in the fabric of national and global society” (255). The Holy Father makes clear that his condemnation of war and the death penalty is in keeping with the ancient teaching of the Church. In previous eras each of these institutions was permitted by certain justifications, but because of the changed circumstances of our times, those justifications are no longer valid.

Chapter 8 – Religions at the Service of Fraternity in Our World

In this final chapter, the pope asserts the essential role that the different religions of the world should play in fostering universal fraternity. Religions remind humanity of the existence of transcendent truth which is the source of human dignity. Moreover, religious formation fortifies human consciences against the individualism and materialism that underlie the divisions and polarizations in our world. The Roman Pontiff calls for greater collaboration among religions “for the common good and the promotion of the poor” (282). Finally, Pope Francis quotes directly from the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” which he signed in February 2019 with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi, committing again, in the name of God, to a path of peace and dialogue toward greater human fraternity.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Rejecting the Cornerstone | One-Minute Homily

Latest from the Jesuit Post - Sun, 10/04/2020 - 02:00

Do we continue to reject the stone that became the Cornerstone? Martin Ngo, SJ, reflects on recognizing Christ in our world today. Based on the readings for Sunday, October 4, 2020.

Pop-quiz! Who are the builders that rejected the stone that became the cornerstone?

Hi, I’m Martin, and this is my One-Minute Homily.

Answer: All of us.

Don’t get me wrong, none of us would announce that we promote injustice. But, unfortunately, in so many ways we are complicit to the systemic inequalities that result in the beating, killing, and turning away of God’s servants; of Jesus in those most vulnerable today.

The rich symbol of a lush vineyard represents the house of Israel. That’s our house; the house of God’s people; the house of all humankind. The harsh words of Matthew’s Gospel today were directed towards those in positions of power.

Who among us doesn’t have some level of power? It’s not easy, but we need to be aware of the ways we are privileged. For instance, this little white tab gives me crazy privilege; often, I’m at God’s feet begging for the grace to face my weaknesses, and to love boldly and live humbly like Christ each day.

Let’s not be afraid to ask for this grace that comes from our Cornerstone.

Categories: Things Jesuit

Pages