November 30, 2012

Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle

Matthew 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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

The Word of Christ

We are called to reverence the Word of God by reading it with great care and attention. Sometimes great spiritual fruit can be brought from even a point of grammar. On today’s feast of St. Andrew the apostle, the Church offers us a first reading in which St. Paul speaks of the mission of an apostle to bring the Gospel to the world. He says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

But how do we come to this faith that saves us? The role of the apostle is to spread the good news of faith in Jesus Christ: “Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.”

But what is this word of Christ? Is it Christ’s word, that is, the same teaching that Jesus made while he was with the apostles: the Beatitudes, the Great Commandment, the Our Father, the parables? Or is Christ the word that is preached, so that Jesus himself is the content of this good news: that Jesus Christ is God’s own Son who died and rose from the dead that we might have life? From the point of view of grammar, even in the original language, it could be either. The ambiguity can’t be completely resolved, and in that ambiguity lies great richness, for it could just as well be both.

We are saved by the teaching of Christ, by his word, but Christ himself is the Word made flesh. What distinguishes Jesus Christ from every other teacher who teaches the truth is that he is himself the truth that he taught. His teaching was about himself as the way to salvation: “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” and “he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” The apostles have handed on to us (in the apostolic succession that is the Church’s great treasure) the “word of Christ”: not only his teaching, but much more, Christ himself. As we prepare our souls for the coming of Christ during this season of Advent, let us seek to hear and be transformed by that word of Christ in all the richness of its meaning.

—Fr. Matthew Monnig, S.J.

Prayer

Lord, every day you whisper your call to us. Heighten our awareness to recognize your presence in the seemingly ordinary encounters of the day. In the chill of the approaching winter, let us be touched by the beauty of the stars and the moon and the falling snow. Let the Advent season be our time to really embrace the greatest gift– God with us.  Let this reality truly inspire and direct our relationships, our decisions, our greatest concerns, and the many common moments of our day.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, every day you whisper your call to us. Heighten our awareness to recognize your presence in the seemingly ordinary encounters of the day. In the chill of the approaching winter, let us be touched by the beauty of the stars and the moon and the falling snow. Let the Advent season be our time to really embrace the greatest gift– God with us.  Let this reality truly inspire and direct our relationships, our decisions, our greatest concerns, and the many common moments of our day.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

The Word of Christ

We are called to reverence the Word of God by reading it with great care and attention. Sometimes great spiritual fruit can be brought from even a point of grammar. On today’s feast of St. Andrew the apostle, the Church offers us a first reading in which St. Paul speaks of the mission of an apostle to bring the Gospel to the world. He says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

But how do we come to this faith that saves us? The role of the apostle is to spread the good news of faith in Jesus Christ: “Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.”

But what is this word of Christ? Is it Christ’s word, that is, the same teaching that Jesus made while he was with the apostles: the Beatitudes, the Great Commandment, the Our Father, the parables? Or is Christ the word that is preached, so that Jesus himself is the content of this good news: that Jesus Christ is God’s own Son who died and rose from the dead that we might have life? From the point of view of grammar, even in the original language, it could be either. The ambiguity can’t be completely resolved, and in that ambiguity lies great richness, for it could just as well be both.

We are saved by the teaching of Christ, by his word, but Christ himself is the Word made flesh. What distinguishes Jesus Christ from every other teacher who teaches the truth is that he is himself the truth that he taught. His teaching was about himself as the way to salvation: “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” and “he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” The apostles have handed on to us (in the apostolic succession that is the Church’s great treasure) the “word of Christ”: not only his teaching, but much more, Christ himself. As we prepare our souls for the coming of Christ during this season of Advent, let us seek to hear and be transformed by that word of Christ in all the richness of its meaning.

—Fr. Matthew Monnig, S.J.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle

Matthew 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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 29, 2012

Luke 21: 20-28

When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it; for these are days of vengeance, as a fulfillment of all that is written.

Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

The Majestic Mystery of God

John writes: I heard what sounded like the roar of a large crowd of people in heaven, saying “Praise God! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God!” -Revelation 19:1

Job says of God, “We cannot understand the great things he does, and to his miracles there is no end. . . . I can’t believe he would listen to me.” (Job 9: 10, 16)

God is beyond all comprehension. The greatest blunder we can make is to try to reduce God to the level of human definition. Saint Augustine put it this way: “God is inexpressible. It is easier for us to say what God is not than what God is. . . . God is not at all what we have conceived God to be.”

With what kind of reverence and awe ought I place myself in God’s presence?
I sing the might power of God, that made the mountains rise;
That spread the flowing skies abroad, and built the lofty skies. —Isaac Watts (1715)

—Excerpted from Mission, by Fr. Mark Link, S.J. ©2000 RCL Enterprises, Inc., Allen TX. For more prayer resources from Fr. Link, please visit www.staygreat.com

Prayer

Lord, we pray that we do not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.  Lord, our only desire and our one choice should be this: we want and we choose what better leads to the deepening of God’s life in us.

—  Adapted from St. Ignatius as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J. from the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, we pray that we do not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.  Lord, our only desire and our one choice should be this: we want and we choose what better leads to the deepening of God’s life in us.

—  Adapted from St. Ignatius as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J. from the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

The Majestic Mystery of God

John writes: I heard what sounded like the roar of a large crowd of people in heaven, saying “Praise God! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God!” -Revelation 19:1

Job says of God, “We cannot understand the great things he does, and to his miracles there is no end. . . . I can’t believe he would listen to me.” (Job 9: 10, 16)

God is beyond all comprehension. The greatest blunder we can make is to try to reduce God to the level of human definition. Saint Augustine put it this way: “God is inexpressible. It is easier for us to say what God is not than what God is. . . . God is not at all what we have conceived God to be.”

With what kind of reverence and awe ought I place myself in God’s presence? I sing the might power of God, that made the mountains rise; That spread the flowing skies abroad, and built the lofty skies. —Isaac Watts (1715)

—Excerpted from Mission, by Fr. Mark Link, S.J. ©2000 RCL Enterprises, Inc., Allen TX. For more prayer resources from Fr. Link, please visit www.staygreat.com


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Luke 21: 20-28

When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it; for these are days of vengeance, as a fulfillment of all that is written.

Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 28, 2012

Luke 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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

Get Out of the Way

The Church has looked to the Society of Jesus for spiritual direction throughout the centuries.
Many people come to Jesuits seeking sound spiritual wisdom and insight into how God is
at work in their lives. I recall with gratitude my own Jesuit spiritual directors—men of God
attuned to the Spirit working in the lives of those who desire to follow Christ in an intentional
way. As a spiritual director myself now, I am humbled by the trust people place in our hands.
God’s love frees us from the sins, illusions, and un-freedoms that hold us back in our response to
Him. And it is a privileged grace to serve the Church as a Jesuit spiritual director.

I am also aware of the poverty of wisdom that I bring to these intimate conversations. In the
interest of ‘helping souls,’ I desire to have the right answer or response that will really deepen
people’s prayer lives, or shed new light on God’s love. It is easy for this response of generosity
to become a point of pride.

When I begin to head down this road toward self-importance, I am reminded of the need to entrust these spiritual conversations to God, first and foremost. For a spiritual director, faith entails a trust that God is in fact working in the life of his or her directee, and that the faithful directee will receive God’s needed, if challenging, perspective. And so I pray at the start of each direction session that I may recognize God at work and not get in the way with my own words or plan.

This is a freeing act of faith, because it reminds us that God can and will use us in helping others along the Christian path. God does not ask of us slick proofs or persuasive conversations to bring people closer to Him. Rather, as our Gospel reminds us, He will give us the wisdom to
speak, if we would only trust in Him.

As the great Catholic apologist St. John Henry Newman once wrote, “I do not want to be
converted by a smart syllogism; if I am asked to convert others by it, I say plainly I do not care
to overcome their reasons without touching their hearts.”

—Joseph Simmons, S.J.

Prayer

Lord, we turn over to you even our good intentions to serve you and others. Use our gifts this day
as you see fit, and free us from any pride that may interfere with your plan. Before we intervene with our insights and our recommendations, we will pause and ask for your Spirit to direct our thoughts, our hearts, and our actions.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, we turn over to you even our good intentions to serve you and others. Use our gifts this day as you see fit, and free us from any pride that may interfere with your plan. Before we intervene with our insights and our recommendations, we will pause and ask for your Spirit to direct our thoughts, our hearts, and our actions.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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November 30, 2012

Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle

Matthew 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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

The Word of Christ

We are called to reverence the Word of God by reading it with great care and attention. Sometimes great spiritual fruit can be brought from even a point of grammar. On today’s feast of St. Andrew the apostle, the Church offers us a first reading in which St. Paul speaks of the mission of an apostle to bring the Gospel to the world. He says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

But how do we come to this faith that saves us? The role of the apostle is to spread the good news of faith in Jesus Christ: “Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.”

But what is this word of Christ? Is it Christ’s word, that is, the same teaching that Jesus made while he was with the apostles: the Beatitudes, the Great Commandment, the Our Father, the parables? Or is Christ the word that is preached, so that Jesus himself is the content of this good news: that Jesus Christ is God’s own Son who died and rose from the dead that we might have life? From the point of view of grammar, even in the original language, it could be either. The ambiguity can’t be completely resolved, and in that ambiguity lies great richness, for it could just as well be both.

We are saved by the teaching of Christ, by his word, but Christ himself is the Word made flesh. What distinguishes Jesus Christ from every other teacher who teaches the truth is that he is himself the truth that he taught. His teaching was about himself as the way to salvation: “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” and “he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” The apostles have handed on to us (in the apostolic succession that is the Church’s great treasure) the “word of Christ”: not only his teaching, but much more, Christ himself. As we prepare our souls for the coming of Christ during this season of Advent, let us seek to hear and be transformed by that word of Christ in all the richness of its meaning.

—Fr. Matthew Monnig, S.J.

Prayer

Lord, every day you whisper your call to us. Heighten our awareness to recognize your presence in the seemingly ordinary encounters of the day. In the chill of the approaching winter, let us be touched by the beauty of the stars and the moon and the falling snow. Let the Advent season be our time to really embrace the greatest gift– God with us.  Let this reality truly inspire and direct our relationships, our decisions, our greatest concerns, and the many common moments of our day.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, every day you whisper your call to us. Heighten our awareness to recognize your presence in the seemingly ordinary encounters of the day. In the chill of the approaching winter, let us be touched by the beauty of the stars and the moon and the falling snow. Let the Advent season be our time to really embrace the greatest gift– God with us.  Let this reality truly inspire and direct our relationships, our decisions, our greatest concerns, and the many common moments of our day.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

The Word of Christ

We are called to reverence the Word of God by reading it with great care and attention. Sometimes great spiritual fruit can be brought from even a point of grammar. On today’s feast of St. Andrew the apostle, the Church offers us a first reading in which St. Paul speaks of the mission of an apostle to bring the Gospel to the world. He says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

But how do we come to this faith that saves us? The role of the apostle is to spread the good news of faith in Jesus Christ: “Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.”

But what is this word of Christ? Is it Christ’s word, that is, the same teaching that Jesus made while he was with the apostles: the Beatitudes, the Great Commandment, the Our Father, the parables? Or is Christ the word that is preached, so that Jesus himself is the content of this good news: that Jesus Christ is God’s own Son who died and rose from the dead that we might have life? From the point of view of grammar, even in the original language, it could be either. The ambiguity can’t be completely resolved, and in that ambiguity lies great richness, for it could just as well be both.

We are saved by the teaching of Christ, by his word, but Christ himself is the Word made flesh. What distinguishes Jesus Christ from every other teacher who teaches the truth is that he is himself the truth that he taught. His teaching was about himself as the way to salvation: “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” and “he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” The apostles have handed on to us (in the apostolic succession that is the Church’s great treasure) the “word of Christ”: not only his teaching, but much more, Christ himself. As we prepare our souls for the coming of Christ during this season of Advent, let us seek to hear and be transformed by that word of Christ in all the richness of its meaning.

—Fr. Matthew Monnig, S.J.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle

Matthew 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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 29, 2012

Luke 21: 20-28

When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it; for these are days of vengeance, as a fulfillment of all that is written.

Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

The Majestic Mystery of God

John writes: I heard what sounded like the roar of a large crowd of people in heaven, saying “Praise God! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God!” -Revelation 19:1

Job says of God, “We cannot understand the great things he does, and to his miracles there is no end. . . . I can’t believe he would listen to me.” (Job 9: 10, 16)

God is beyond all comprehension. The greatest blunder we can make is to try to reduce God to the level of human definition. Saint Augustine put it this way: “God is inexpressible. It is easier for us to say what God is not than what God is. . . . God is not at all what we have conceived God to be.”

With what kind of reverence and awe ought I place myself in God’s presence?
I sing the might power of God, that made the mountains rise;
That spread the flowing skies abroad, and built the lofty skies. —Isaac Watts (1715)

—Excerpted from Mission, by Fr. Mark Link, S.J. ©2000 RCL Enterprises, Inc., Allen TX. For more prayer resources from Fr. Link, please visit www.staygreat.com

Prayer

Lord, we pray that we do not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.  Lord, our only desire and our one choice should be this: we want and we choose what better leads to the deepening of God’s life in us.

—  Adapted from St. Ignatius as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J. from the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, we pray that we do not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.  Lord, our only desire and our one choice should be this: we want and we choose what better leads to the deepening of God’s life in us.

—  Adapted from St. Ignatius as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J. from the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

The Majestic Mystery of God

John writes: I heard what sounded like the roar of a large crowd of people in heaven, saying “Praise God! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God!” -Revelation 19:1

Job says of God, “We cannot understand the great things he does, and to his miracles there is no end. . . . I can’t believe he would listen to me.” (Job 9: 10, 16)

God is beyond all comprehension. The greatest blunder we can make is to try to reduce God to the level of human definition. Saint Augustine put it this way: “God is inexpressible. It is easier for us to say what God is not than what God is. . . . God is not at all what we have conceived God to be.”

With what kind of reverence and awe ought I place myself in God’s presence? I sing the might power of God, that made the mountains rise; That spread the flowing skies abroad, and built the lofty skies. —Isaac Watts (1715)

—Excerpted from Mission, by Fr. Mark Link, S.J. ©2000 RCL Enterprises, Inc., Allen TX. For more prayer resources from Fr. Link, please visit www.staygreat.com


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Luke 21: 20-28

When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it; for these are days of vengeance, as a fulfillment of all that is written.

Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 28, 2012

Luke 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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

Get Out of the Way

The Church has looked to the Society of Jesus for spiritual direction throughout the centuries.
Many people come to Jesuits seeking sound spiritual wisdom and insight into how God is
at work in their lives. I recall with gratitude my own Jesuit spiritual directors—men of God
attuned to the Spirit working in the lives of those who desire to follow Christ in an intentional
way. As a spiritual director myself now, I am humbled by the trust people place in our hands.
God’s love frees us from the sins, illusions, and un-freedoms that hold us back in our response to
Him. And it is a privileged grace to serve the Church as a Jesuit spiritual director.

I am also aware of the poverty of wisdom that I bring to these intimate conversations. In the
interest of ‘helping souls,’ I desire to have the right answer or response that will really deepen
people’s prayer lives, or shed new light on God’s love. It is easy for this response of generosity
to become a point of pride.

When I begin to head down this road toward self-importance, I am reminded of the need to entrust these spiritual conversations to God, first and foremost. For a spiritual director, faith entails a trust that God is in fact working in the life of his or her directee, and that the faithful directee will receive God’s needed, if challenging, perspective. And so I pray at the start of each direction session that I may recognize God at work and not get in the way with my own words or plan.

This is a freeing act of faith, because it reminds us that God can and will use us in helping others along the Christian path. God does not ask of us slick proofs or persuasive conversations to bring people closer to Him. Rather, as our Gospel reminds us, He will give us the wisdom to
speak, if we would only trust in Him.

As the great Catholic apologist St. John Henry Newman once wrote, “I do not want to be
converted by a smart syllogism; if I am asked to convert others by it, I say plainly I do not care
to overcome their reasons without touching their hearts.”

—Joseph Simmons, S.J.

Prayer

Lord, we turn over to you even our good intentions to serve you and others. Use our gifts this day
as you see fit, and free us from any pride that may interfere with your plan. Before we intervene with our insights and our recommendations, we will pause and ask for your Spirit to direct our thoughts, our hearts, and our actions.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, we turn over to you even our good intentions to serve you and others. Use our gifts this day as you see fit, and free us from any pride that may interfere with your plan. Before we intervene with our insights and our recommendations, we will pause and ask for your Spirit to direct our thoughts, our hearts, and our actions.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!