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November 30, 2016

Andrew, ap F

Mt 4: 18-22

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

What Love Requires

Pretty much throughout my school years I felt called to excel academically. For several years I felt called to become a Jesuit priest. The call to marriage and children became stronger than the call to religious life. In business I felt called to work hard for the company, customers and society. I have felt called in so many different ways during the course of my life. I suspect you may have the same experience.

So what is the call of Andrew, Peter, James and John we read about in today’s gospel, and how does it relate to the various callings I have experienced?

As I reflect on my “callings” they have a couple of things in common; using the talents God has given me to the fullest; and constantly asking and answering the question “what does love require.” God creates us from his infinite, pure and unconditional love. He calls us to share that love with the people he puts in our lives and those who are marginalized.

The call of the Kingdom never ceases and it is always about love as we live it concretely in our everyday lives.

—David McNulty serves as Assistant for Operations at the Chicago-Detroit Jesuit Province.

Prayer

Lord our God, grant that we may be ready
to receive Christ when he comes in glory
and to share in the banquet of heaven.  Amen.

—An Advent prayer

 


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November 29, 2016

Lk 10: 21-24

At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

So Simple

What a comfort it is to hear Jesus say that the starting point of our faith is so simple that it is best received by “little ones.” God gives us gifts such as wisdom and learning, yet the beginning of our relationship with God lies in this simple openness to God, a beginning to which we must return time and time again.

What is it like to receive God as a little one? I imagine it’s a lot like the moment when God’s light shines on a fallow field within our heart or our world, unimportant and forgotten, populated by a few sheep and a few shepherds, so flooding it with joy that it comes to know its own dignity in an instant.

Today I give thanks for the “little ones,” the fallow fields of our hearts and our world that await the arrival of joy.

— Ryen Dwyer, S.J., a Chicago-Detroit province Jesuit scholastic, is currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

God, during Advent, may we remember the greatest gift ever given: your only Son, Jesus Christ. Fill our hearts with wonder and gratitude as we think of our Savior putting aside his heavenly glory and coming among us. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, grow our understanding about the impact of our Lord’s birth. By Christmas day, may our hearts overflow with thanksgiving as we embrace the greatest of all  promises: God with us!

—The Jesuit Prayer Team

 

 


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November 28, 2016

Mt 8: 5-11

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.”

When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

My Word On It

My mind wanders and I don’t always pay close attention but at a recent Eucharistic liturgy I was captivated by the words chosen by the presider: “Lord Jesus, you come for those who have need of you. Lord, have mercy.” Today’s Gospel speaks of “need” and confidence in being true to one’s word. How often have we heard the words, “You have my word on it!”

The centurion is outright in admitting his need and he trusts Jesus’ word. Jesus is amazed at the man’s faith. Can I be so bold about my need? Can I trust Jesus saying to me, “You have My Word on it!” How might this Advent lead me to a deeper celebration of the mystery of the Incarnation if I truly took God’s Word to heart?

—Susan Kusz, SND serves as Associate Director at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, WI.

Prayer

Yes, Jesus, you come for those who have need of you. You came in time, you come right now, and you will come again. We are today’s people in need. Teach us to trust your Word and your presence within and among us. This day may we have great faith in your healing miracles at work in our hearts. Amen!

—Susan Kusz, SND

 

 


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November 27, 2016

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT  

ROM 13:11-14

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Hope – Peace – Repentance

The season of Advent evokes in Christians a time of hope, of peace and of repentance. Our hope is based on the risen, living Christ who has already ‘won the victory’, and so much wants to share that with us through his Spirit. Advent reminds us that Christ wants to come into our lives, come close. And as we prepare for Christmas, we recall that he is the prince of peace. How much the world needs his peace!

What a wonderful call: to share Christ’s mission of making peace! Now more than ever. But before we get carried away, the Church wisely calls each of us to repentance: ‘It is the hour for you to wake up from sleep…Let us throw off the works of darkness.’ With God’s help, pick one area to ‘throw off’ this Advent, to become a peace-maker, to be hope-filled once again!

—Mark Henninger, S.J. serves as a Pastoral Care chaplain at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood IL.

Prayer

With inward pain my heartstrings sound,
My soul dissolves away;
Dear Sovereign, whirl the seasons round,
Whirl the seasons round, and bring,
And bring the promised day,
And bring the promised day.

—Early American hymn

 

 

 


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November 26, 2016

St. John Berchmans, S.J.

PS 95:1-2, 3-5, 6-7AB

Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us greet him with thanksgiving;
Let us joyfully sing praise to him.

Marana tha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

For the Lord is a great God,
And a great king above all gods;
In his hands are the depths of the earth,
And the tops of the mountains are his.

Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Come, let us bow down in worship;
Let us kneel before the Lord who made us.
For he is our God, and we are the people he shepherds,
The flock he guides.  Marana tha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Longing seems like such a useless emotion. It doesn’t make the thing longed for come any faster. It seems to only make the one who longs unsatisfied, frustrated even. It’s not what one could call a ‘peaceful’ feeling, but one that upsets stability, seeming to condemn the present because it does not contain the future longed-for thing or person. It makes the person who feels it unsettled, aware of their incompleteness, their unhappiness, and of their inability to bring about what is desired. Who needs it!

And yet, the psalm response this last day of the Church year asks us to focus on the longing of our hearts, the cry “Marana tha!” The good thing about this longing is it reminds us that, while we look to find God in all things here, the fullness of God is ahead, in the future. So perhaps we can put up with a little frustration right now.

What are the longings, the desires of your heart?  

—Fr. Dennis Dillon, S.J. serves as pastoral minister at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI. He is also an avid stamp collector and accomplished magician.

Prayer

For all that has been, thanks!                        
For all that is still to come, yes!

Marana tha!

 


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November 25, 2016

St. Catherine of Alexandria

Lk 21: 29-33

Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

The Buds Will Burst Open

Life can be difficult. “Just try this” some will say. It might help, it might not. You would love if it were that easy. Sometimes, you just feel lost.

The buds will burst open.

A small gesture may begin to lift you out of darkness. A hug, a sunrise, the loving words of a loved one. You believe that there is hope and life.

The buds will burst open.

Soon, you pay more attention to the moments of light. You see how beautiful the world is, how God cares for you, and you desire to love deeply in response. Struggle is there, but it does not have the last word.

The buds will burst open.

You may not have felt God’s presence in the darkness, but God was there, all along. And now you can rejoice, because the buds have burst open. They always will.

—Chris Williams, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the Wisconsin province, is studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

Primary Wonder

Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; cap and bells.

And then
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng’s clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.

—Denise Levertov

 


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November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Day

Sir 50: 22-24

And now, bless the God of all,
who has done wondrous things on earth;
Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb,
and fashions them according to his will!
May he grant you joy of heart
and may peace abide among you;
May his goodness toward us endure in Israel
to deliver us in our days.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Lessons Learned from Dad

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, but recently it has taken on an even deeper meaning for me. Two years ago this Thanksgiving was the last time I saw my Dad alive. His health had been failing and most of his kids and grandkids were home, knowing that his time with us was ending soon.

One of the greatest gifts he taught me was how to welcome the stranger. He didn’t always have this welcoming spirit, though. I remember my Dad yelling that he was going to daily Mass to pray for my sister’s soul. She had just introduced a long-term Muslim boyfriend to our traditionally Catholic family. He softened over the years, thanks in part to a deep-seated belief that parents never turn their kids away. When another daughter came out as gay towards the end of his life, he had the courage to call the bishop when the diocese decided to cancel a retreat for the LGBTQ community. He said that his daughter deserves a spiritual home too.

Like the God “who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb,” my Dad actively fostered a relationship with us even when our actions and lives challenged his values. He did not let us become strangers to one another. I pray for the strength and empathy to provide the same for my own children.

What gifts are you thankful for today?

—JoEllen Windau-Cattapan is the Atlanta area director for the Contemplative Leaders in Action, a program of the Office of Ignatian Spirituality, USA Northeast Province.

Prayer

Bless us, O Lord, and these your gifts
which we are about to receive from your goodness,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

—a traditional prayer of thanks

 


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November 23, 2016

Bl Miguel Augustín Pro, S.J., martyr

Lk 21: 12-19

“But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Support Each Other

It was an amazing opportunity to attend the Ignatian Family Teach-In, held last week in Washington D.C. I brought students there from Cristo Rey H.S. Milwaukee for their first time. We were planning on speaking with our local Representatives in Congress, about how our faith guides us towards treating the marginalized with human dignity. This was a task my students were hesitant to do so soon after the election, especially because many students were afraid of what might happen to their families and friends in the coming years.

However,  after spending time with the entire Ignatian family, and seeing all the communities present speaking about the same call of the Gospel, my students were very comforted in knowing that they were not alone. And that this community would be together as we were brought before “kings and governors, because of my name,” and that it would be Christ’s testimony and the Gospel that would lead their defense.

Let us continue to be the support for one, both those near and far, as part of the Ignatian Family. May we be the example of Christ when others feel alone and on trial.

—Griffin Knipp serves as Campus Minister and Coordinator of Student Life at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Milwaukee WI.

Prayer

I believe, O Lord; but strengthen my faith…
Heart of Jesus, I love Thee; but increase my love.
Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee; but give greater vigor to my confidence.
Heart of Jesus, I give my heart to Thee;
    but so enclose it in Thee that it may never be separated from Thee.
Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine; but take care of my promise
    so that I may be able to put it in practice even unto the sacrifice of my life.

—Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro, S.J., martyr of Mexico

 


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November 22, 2016

St. Cecilia

Lk 21: 5-11

When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.” They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them. “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.”

Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Prayer and Peace

When? Where? Under what conditions? These are the questions Jesus is pummeled with today. I wonder if his answer gave his questioners the information that they wanted to hear. We do not really know what the reaction was of the crowd. Did they understand, or were they even more confused, or something else? I, too, am periodically tempted to pummel Jesus with questions. Why? For what? What did he or she, or I do? What does this mean? Where do I go from here? When will I know for sure? Under what conditions?

Jesus assures the crowd, and us today, “do not be terrified.” Can prayer today offer you that peace? Might Jesus be wishing to calm you in prayer today as well? What questions do you have for the Lord? What questions are weighing heavily on your heart today? Can you let Jesus sit with them, too?

—Patrick Hyland, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the Chicago-Detroit province, is currently studying philosophy at  St. Louis University.

Prayer

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

—Pedro Arrupe, S.J., in Hearts on Fire, ed. Michael Harter, S.J., © Loyola Press, Chicago, 2004.

 

 


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November 21, 2016

Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lk 21: 1-4

He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Giving with Grace

In today’s Gospel, Jesus notices a poor woman donating money to the temple treasury. She had little to give but gave anyway. I wonder what she sacrificed to make her donation. Did she skip a meal? Did she work a double-shift? Did her rent check bounce that month?

Jesus is calling us to give even when it is not easy. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week many of us will be with family and friends. We may be asked to give financially or in another way. Will I listen patiently to my father-in-law’s problems when I would rather watch football? Will I think of my unemployed neighbor and give her a gift card? What if a political discussion makes me angry? If my son asks me to read to him, will I make time to do so? Can I be like the poor widow? Can I give even if it is difficult or takes time from my busy schedule? Will my desire to be Christ-like be stronger that my own self-centeredness, impatience, and self-righteousness?

—Jerry Kinney teaches Spanish at Creighton Jesuit Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

Lord, teach me to be generous, to serve you as you deserve:
to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward,
but that of knowing that I do your will.

—St. Ignatius Loyola 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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November 30, 2016

Andrew, ap F

Mt 4: 18-22

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

What Love Requires

Pretty much throughout my school years I felt called to excel academically. For several years I felt called to become a Jesuit priest. The call to marriage and children became stronger than the call to religious life. In business I felt called to work hard for the company, customers and society. I have felt called in so many different ways during the course of my life. I suspect you may have the same experience.

So what is the call of Andrew, Peter, James and John we read about in today’s gospel, and how does it relate to the various callings I have experienced?

As I reflect on my “callings” they have a couple of things in common; using the talents God has given me to the fullest; and constantly asking and answering the question “what does love require.” God creates us from his infinite, pure and unconditional love. He calls us to share that love with the people he puts in our lives and those who are marginalized.

The call of the Kingdom never ceases and it is always about love as we live it concretely in our everyday lives.

—David McNulty serves as Assistant for Operations at the Chicago-Detroit Jesuit Province.

Prayer

Lord our God, grant that we may be ready
to receive Christ when he comes in glory
and to share in the banquet of heaven.  Amen.

—An Advent prayer

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 29, 2016

Lk 10: 21-24

At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

So Simple

What a comfort it is to hear Jesus say that the starting point of our faith is so simple that it is best received by “little ones.” God gives us gifts such as wisdom and learning, yet the beginning of our relationship with God lies in this simple openness to God, a beginning to which we must return time and time again.

What is it like to receive God as a little one? I imagine it’s a lot like the moment when God’s light shines on a fallow field within our heart or our world, unimportant and forgotten, populated by a few sheep and a few shepherds, so flooding it with joy that it comes to know its own dignity in an instant.

Today I give thanks for the “little ones,” the fallow fields of our hearts and our world that await the arrival of joy.

— Ryen Dwyer, S.J., a Chicago-Detroit province Jesuit scholastic, is currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

God, during Advent, may we remember the greatest gift ever given: your only Son, Jesus Christ. Fill our hearts with wonder and gratitude as we think of our Savior putting aside his heavenly glory and coming among us. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, grow our understanding about the impact of our Lord’s birth. By Christmas day, may our hearts overflow with thanksgiving as we embrace the greatest of all  promises: God with us!

—The Jesuit Prayer Team

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 28, 2016

Mt 8: 5-11

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.”

When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

My Word On It

My mind wanders and I don’t always pay close attention but at a recent Eucharistic liturgy I was captivated by the words chosen by the presider: “Lord Jesus, you come for those who have need of you. Lord, have mercy.” Today’s Gospel speaks of “need” and confidence in being true to one’s word. How often have we heard the words, “You have my word on it!”

The centurion is outright in admitting his need and he trusts Jesus’ word. Jesus is amazed at the man’s faith. Can I be so bold about my need? Can I trust Jesus saying to me, “You have My Word on it!” How might this Advent lead me to a deeper celebration of the mystery of the Incarnation if I truly took God’s Word to heart?

—Susan Kusz, SND serves as Associate Director at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, WI.

Prayer

Yes, Jesus, you come for those who have need of you. You came in time, you come right now, and you will come again. We are today’s people in need. Teach us to trust your Word and your presence within and among us. This day may we have great faith in your healing miracles at work in our hearts. Amen!

—Susan Kusz, SND

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 27, 2016

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT  

ROM 13:11-14

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Hope – Peace – Repentance

The season of Advent evokes in Christians a time of hope, of peace and of repentance. Our hope is based on the risen, living Christ who has already ‘won the victory’, and so much wants to share that with us through his Spirit. Advent reminds us that Christ wants to come into our lives, come close. And as we prepare for Christmas, we recall that he is the prince of peace. How much the world needs his peace!

What a wonderful call: to share Christ’s mission of making peace! Now more than ever. But before we get carried away, the Church wisely calls each of us to repentance: ‘It is the hour for you to wake up from sleep…Let us throw off the works of darkness.’ With God’s help, pick one area to ‘throw off’ this Advent, to become a peace-maker, to be hope-filled once again!

—Mark Henninger, S.J. serves as a Pastoral Care chaplain at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood IL.

Prayer

With inward pain my heartstrings sound,
My soul dissolves away;
Dear Sovereign, whirl the seasons round,
Whirl the seasons round, and bring,
And bring the promised day,
And bring the promised day.

—Early American hymn

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 26, 2016

St. John Berchmans, S.J.

PS 95:1-2, 3-5, 6-7AB

Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us greet him with thanksgiving;
Let us joyfully sing praise to him.

Marana tha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

For the Lord is a great God,
And a great king above all gods;
In his hands are the depths of the earth,
And the tops of the mountains are his.

Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Come, let us bow down in worship;
Let us kneel before the Lord who made us.
For he is our God, and we are the people he shepherds,
The flock he guides.  Marana tha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Longing seems like such a useless emotion. It doesn’t make the thing longed for come any faster. It seems to only make the one who longs unsatisfied, frustrated even. It’s not what one could call a ‘peaceful’ feeling, but one that upsets stability, seeming to condemn the present because it does not contain the future longed-for thing or person. It makes the person who feels it unsettled, aware of their incompleteness, their unhappiness, and of their inability to bring about what is desired. Who needs it!

And yet, the psalm response this last day of the Church year asks us to focus on the longing of our hearts, the cry “Marana tha!” The good thing about this longing is it reminds us that, while we look to find God in all things here, the fullness of God is ahead, in the future. So perhaps we can put up with a little frustration right now.

What are the longings, the desires of your heart?  

—Fr. Dennis Dillon, S.J. serves as pastoral minister at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI. He is also an avid stamp collector and accomplished magician.

Prayer

For all that has been, thanks!                        
For all that is still to come, yes!

Marana tha!

 


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November 25, 2016

St. Catherine of Alexandria

Lk 21: 29-33

Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

The Buds Will Burst Open

Life can be difficult. “Just try this” some will say. It might help, it might not. You would love if it were that easy. Sometimes, you just feel lost.

The buds will burst open.

A small gesture may begin to lift you out of darkness. A hug, a sunrise, the loving words of a loved one. You believe that there is hope and life.

The buds will burst open.

Soon, you pay more attention to the moments of light. You see how beautiful the world is, how God cares for you, and you desire to love deeply in response. Struggle is there, but it does not have the last word.

The buds will burst open.

You may not have felt God’s presence in the darkness, but God was there, all along. And now you can rejoice, because the buds have burst open. They always will.

—Chris Williams, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the Wisconsin province, is studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

Primary Wonder

Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; cap and bells.

And then
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng’s clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.

—Denise Levertov

 


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November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Day

Sir 50: 22-24

And now, bless the God of all,
who has done wondrous things on earth;
Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb,
and fashions them according to his will!
May he grant you joy of heart
and may peace abide among you;
May his goodness toward us endure in Israel
to deliver us in our days.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Lessons Learned from Dad

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, but recently it has taken on an even deeper meaning for me. Two years ago this Thanksgiving was the last time I saw my Dad alive. His health had been failing and most of his kids and grandkids were home, knowing that his time with us was ending soon.

One of the greatest gifts he taught me was how to welcome the stranger. He didn’t always have this welcoming spirit, though. I remember my Dad yelling that he was going to daily Mass to pray for my sister’s soul. She had just introduced a long-term Muslim boyfriend to our traditionally Catholic family. He softened over the years, thanks in part to a deep-seated belief that parents never turn their kids away. When another daughter came out as gay towards the end of his life, he had the courage to call the bishop when the diocese decided to cancel a retreat for the LGBTQ community. He said that his daughter deserves a spiritual home too.

Like the God “who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb,” my Dad actively fostered a relationship with us even when our actions and lives challenged his values. He did not let us become strangers to one another. I pray for the strength and empathy to provide the same for my own children.

What gifts are you thankful for today?

—JoEllen Windau-Cattapan is the Atlanta area director for the Contemplative Leaders in Action, a program of the Office of Ignatian Spirituality, USA Northeast Province.

Prayer

Bless us, O Lord, and these your gifts
which we are about to receive from your goodness,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

—a traditional prayer of thanks

 


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November 23, 2016

Bl Miguel Augustín Pro, S.J., martyr

Lk 21: 12-19

“But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Support Each Other

It was an amazing opportunity to attend the Ignatian Family Teach-In, held last week in Washington D.C. I brought students there from Cristo Rey H.S. Milwaukee for their first time. We were planning on speaking with our local Representatives in Congress, about how our faith guides us towards treating the marginalized with human dignity. This was a task my students were hesitant to do so soon after the election, especially because many students were afraid of what might happen to their families and friends in the coming years.

However,  after spending time with the entire Ignatian family, and seeing all the communities present speaking about the same call of the Gospel, my students were very comforted in knowing that they were not alone. And that this community would be together as we were brought before “kings and governors, because of my name,” and that it would be Christ’s testimony and the Gospel that would lead their defense.

Let us continue to be the support for one, both those near and far, as part of the Ignatian Family. May we be the example of Christ when others feel alone and on trial.

—Griffin Knipp serves as Campus Minister and Coordinator of Student Life at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Milwaukee WI.

Prayer

I believe, O Lord; but strengthen my faith…
Heart of Jesus, I love Thee; but increase my love.
Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee; but give greater vigor to my confidence.
Heart of Jesus, I give my heart to Thee;
    but so enclose it in Thee that it may never be separated from Thee.
Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine; but take care of my promise
    so that I may be able to put it in practice even unto the sacrifice of my life.

—Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro, S.J., martyr of Mexico

 


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November 22, 2016

St. Cecilia

Lk 21: 5-11

When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.” They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them. “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.”

Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Prayer and Peace

When? Where? Under what conditions? These are the questions Jesus is pummeled with today. I wonder if his answer gave his questioners the information that they wanted to hear. We do not really know what the reaction was of the crowd. Did they understand, or were they even more confused, or something else? I, too, am periodically tempted to pummel Jesus with questions. Why? For what? What did he or she, or I do? What does this mean? Where do I go from here? When will I know for sure? Under what conditions?

Jesus assures the crowd, and us today, “do not be terrified.” Can prayer today offer you that peace? Might Jesus be wishing to calm you in prayer today as well? What questions do you have for the Lord? What questions are weighing heavily on your heart today? Can you let Jesus sit with them, too?

—Patrick Hyland, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the Chicago-Detroit province, is currently studying philosophy at  St. Louis University.

Prayer

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

—Pedro Arrupe, S.J., in Hearts on Fire, ed. Michael Harter, S.J., © Loyola Press, Chicago, 2004.

 

 


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November 21, 2016

Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lk 21: 1-4

He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Giving with Grace

In today’s Gospel, Jesus notices a poor woman donating money to the temple treasury. She had little to give but gave anyway. I wonder what she sacrificed to make her donation. Did she skip a meal? Did she work a double-shift? Did her rent check bounce that month?

Jesus is calling us to give even when it is not easy. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week many of us will be with family and friends. We may be asked to give financially or in another way. Will I listen patiently to my father-in-law’s problems when I would rather watch football? Will I think of my unemployed neighbor and give her a gift card? What if a political discussion makes me angry? If my son asks me to read to him, will I make time to do so? Can I be like the poor widow? Can I give even if it is difficult or takes time from my busy schedule? Will my desire to be Christ-like be stronger that my own self-centeredness, impatience, and self-righteousness?

—Jerry Kinney teaches Spanish at Creighton Jesuit Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

Lord, teach me to be generous, to serve you as you deserve:
to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward,
but that of knowing that I do your will.

—St. Ignatius Loyola 


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