May 31, 2013

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

Luke 1: 39-56

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

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

Untying the Knots

Here is an anecdote from Pope Francis’ personal devotion to Mary that helps this feast of the Visitation come alive. While studying in Germany many years ago, then-Father Bergoglio found a painting which shows an image of “Mary who unties knots.”  In the painting Mary looks determined to untie a number of big and small knots in a ribbon that is handed to her by an angel. A second angel then returns to earth the now-untied ribbon.

Of this image, painted in 1700, Bergoglio wrote some years ago:  “All of us have knots in our hearts and all of us go through difficult times. Our good Lord who bestows grace on all his children wants us to have faith in Mary; he wants us to entrust to her the knots of our miseries which prevent us from reaching God, so that she can untie them and bring us closer to Jesus.”

This feast of Mary’s visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, you and I might pray over the “knots” of our own hearts.  Which of these can I entrust today to Mary’s grace and care?  In your prayer today, which of these “knots” do I invite her to untie?  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

The Jesuit Prayer Team

Prayer

Mother of the silence that preserves the mystery of God, deliver us from the idolatry of the present, to which those who forget are condemned. Purify the eyes of pastors with the balm of memory: that we might return to the freshness of the beginning, for a praying and penitent Church.

Mother of the beauty that blossoms from fidelity to daily work, remove us from the torpor of laziness, of pettiness, and defeatism. Cloak Pastors with that compassion that unifies and integrates: that we might discover the joy of a humble and fraternal servant Church.

Mother of the tenderness which enfolds in patience and mercy, help us burn away the sadness, impatience, and rigidity of those who have not known what it means to belong.
Intercede with your Son that our hands, our feet and our hearts may be swift: that we may build the Church with the truth in charity. Mother, we will be the People of God, on pilgrimage towards the Kingdom. Amen.

Pope Francis


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May 30, 2013

Mark 10: 46-52

They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

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

Enthusiasm for the Lord

Bartimaeus is a richly described character in Mark´s gospel.  We learn that he is a blind, roadside beggar who was unafraid to raise his voice when he learned that Jesus was passing by.  Though told to be quiet, he raises his voice yet again to get Jesus´ attention.  Finally, when he learns that he is being called, he “throws off” his cloak and “jumps” to his feet.

In Bartimaeus we see perseverance, a desire for healing, and maybe most importantly his enthusiasm. He does not want this moment to pass by.  His engagement with the present moment, with the reality that surrounds him, is passionate.

At the end of the story, Jesus tells him that it was his faith that saved him.  Given the actions of Bartimaeus in the story, we might say that it was his passion and enthusiasm that saved him.  Faith in this story has something to do with “throwing off our cloak” and “jumping to our feet”.

We might ask ourselves then: what makes me jump to my feet?  For whom or what do I throw off my cloak to meet or be with?

May the witness of Bartimaeus guide us.  May he help us jump to our feet to meet those who most need us today.

Christopher Staab, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic teaching at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Chicago IL

Prayer

Lord, too often we silence ourselves when we should defend the good name of another Sometimes we become quiet and surrender our convictions to preserve harmony and spare ourselves the tension that conflict brings. With the persistence and enthusiasm of Bartimaeus let us not flinch before the truth.  And like Bartimaeus may we hear those assuring words: Take heart; get up, he is calling you.”

The Jesuit Prayer Team


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May 29, 2013

Mark 10: 32-45

They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.”

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking.

Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

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

God’s People — That’s Us!

In today’s reading from the Book of Sirach we hear a prayer for God’s people. Have you ever played the game of describing yourself without referring to what you do? This game forces us to reflect on our most fundamental identity. All too often, we think about how we are different from one another…Christian, Jew or Muslim; rich or poor; educated or uneducated; conservative or liberal; right or wrong.

Today’s reading reminds us that our most fundamental identity is that we are children of God. We are God’s people! God creates each and every one of us from and for his infinite, absolute and unconditional love. He calls us to live and share this love with every person he puts in our lives. Be alert today for the people God puts in your life and share with them God’s love.  Make a special effort to share with those who are different and in most need of love.

David McNulty is the Provincial Assistant for Advancement, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits

Prayer

Lord, we search for that which will brings us true success. We seek for our families that which will bring them enduring fulfillment. You have given us the pathway to such joy.  “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all” Today may our decisions and the ways we spend our time follow your call to greatness.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


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May 28, 2013

Mark 10:28-31

Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

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

What’s In It For Me?

“Okay, Jesus, that sounds really good. A hundred to one return on an investment is excellent. But there is one phrase in the contract that makes me uneasy—with persecutions.  If you could just delete that, your offer would be just about perfect.”  Peter and his fellow disciples, like many of us, could not resist asking the “What’s in it for me?” question. We are willing to make an effort, to make a commitment, but we want to know that it is going to be effective, that it is going to pay off.

Jesus will work with Peter and with his other disciples and with us to lead his followers to a deeper realization of what it means to serve him. In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius has several key meditations that guide a person to see things more and more from Christ’s perspective. At the conclusion of the Kingdom meditation, the person making the Exercises prays to imitate Jesus in bearing all injuries and affronts and in poverty, actual as well as spiritual.

There is a similar prayer at the conclusion of the meditation on the Two Standards. And in the “Take and Receive” prayer at the end of the Exercises, the person gives everything back to God, and says that God’s love and grace is all that is needed.

St. Ignatius is realistic enough to recognize that this is a challenging step. We may not be ready. So we may need to start with the desire to desire such a relationship with Christ. And we may even need to begin by praying for the desire to desire the desire.

Where do I find myself in my journey to join Christ in the persecutions, the tough stuff?

—Fr. Joseph Folzenlogen, S.J.is vice-superior of the Faber Jesuit Community in Cincinnati and Director of Claver Jesuit Ministry.

Prayer

Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to labor and not to seek for reward, save that of knowing that I am doing your holy will.

St. Ignatius, Prayer for Generosity


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May 27, 2013

Mark 10: 17-27

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother. Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”  The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

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

Come, Follow Me

For some 40 years, Paul Harvey hosted a popular segment on National Public Radio, “The Rest of the Story.”  He would select a well-known person, event or situation, describing and narrating a little known or forgotten fact which ultimately highlighted a key and surprising element about the whole story.   The narrative of the rich young man in today’s Gospel passage offers an opportunity to ponder the “rest of the story.”

It is easy to interpret a Gospel story solely from a contemporary historical lens.  This can place a limitation and conclusion to the story, confining the meaning to the actual narrative.  Ignatian imaginative prayer invites the reader to start with the actual narrative, rather than end with what has been written down.

Maybe the rich young man returns to Jesus as a disciple after some time of discernment, and indeed after selling and giving away his many possessions.  Perhaps Jesus sees him again and calls him, and the young man is ready to follow Jesus. Maybe I would realize ways in which I needed time to ponder and discern a question or challenge from God. And perhaps I would realize and embrace with gratitude those times and ways when I really wanted needed to follow Jesus more than the particular thing(s) to which I cling.

In this way, the eternal nature of Sacred Scripture lives through the lens of our own lives, our own ongoing history.  The Gospels were written to a community of an earlier age, but were also written for us, followers and disciples of Jesus Christ. We become, and are, “The Rest of the Story.”

As the day begins, let Jesus look into your eyes with love.  Here is personal invitation to “Come, Follow Me” whatever that might mean for you today.
—Fr. Glen Chun, S.J. is minister of the Loyola University Jesuit Community, Chicago, and also serves on the vocations staff for the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus

Prayer

On this Memorial Day
Grant peace to the souls
of all those soldiers who died in war.
We remember the tears and grief of their families,
The pain of mothers, wives, husbands and children
Who lost precious loved ones.

To build a meaningful memorial to them,
We ask God to give us all the will
To work for peace around the world
So no more sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, nor mothers
Are slaughtered by the guns and bombs of war.

We ask Mary, who held the lifeless body of her son
And was pierced by the sorrow of his suffering and death,
To grant us the compassion and wisdom to affirm life
And honor the dead through forgiveness and peace making.

May God have mercy on the souls of the departed.
Grant them peace, O Lord.
May we have mercy on the living.
Grant us peace, O Lord.
In Your name we pray.
Amen.

Education for Justice, www.educationforjustice.org


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May 26, 2013

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

John 16: 12-15

There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now.  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’

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

It’s a Mystery

Sometime when we asked questions of our parents as youngsters and our parents did not have the answer, they responded:  “It’s a mystery.”  It stopped us from asking more questions.  And so today, when we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, we want a more adult answer to our questions about the Trinity than, “It’s a mystery.”

Men and women from the beginning of time until now have been blessed by the ways God communicates with them.  In the Hebrew Scriptures God revealed himself and his message through intermediaries, the patriarchs and prophets.  Through the person of Jesus, God revealed himself through his incarnate Son.  But the Son knew that he had a limited time among the sons and daughters of men, so he made a promise to send an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to continue the way God communicates with human persons.

And in our Gospel passage today, this Advocate is called the Spirit of Truth because he will “take the things which belong to me (Jesus), and tell you of them.”  And so God continues communicating in our day through the Spirit making the New Testament Scripture the truth about who we are, where we are going and how to get there.

The Trinity is mystery in the way love is a mystery.  God loves us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Fr. Douglas Leonhardt, S.J. is associate vice-president for Mission and
Ministry at Marquette University where he is also pastoral minister for the College of Education and McCabe Residence Hall 

Prayer

Glory be to you, Father, who has created me in your own image and likeness and through your love sustains all living things in being.

Glory be to you, the Son, who became flesh to show me you are the way, the truth, and the life. Glory be to you, Holy Spirit, who has sanctified me in the Sacrament of Baptism and continues to enlighten me by your wisdom. Glory be to you, holy Trinity, as you were in the beginning and will be forever!

Fr. Douglas Leonhardt, S.J. 


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May 25, 2013

Sirach 17: 1-15

The Lord created man out of earth, and turned him back to it again.  He gave to men few days, a limited time, but granted them authority over the things upon the earth.  He endowed them with strength like his own, and made them in his own image.  He placed the fear of them in all living beings, and granted them dominion over beasts and birds.  He made for them tongue and eyes; he gave them ears and a mind for thinking.  He filled them with knowledge and understanding, and showed them good and evil.   He set his eye upon their hearts to show them the majesty of his works.

And they will praise his holy name, to proclaim the grandeur of his works.  He bestowed knowledge upon them, and allotted to them the law of life.  He established with them an eternal covenant, and showed them his judgments.  Their eyes saw his glorious majesty, and their ears heard the glory of his voice.  And he said to them, “Beware of all unrighteousness.” And he gave commandment to each of them concerning his neighbor. Their ways are always before him, they will not be hid from his eyes.

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

Life – A Holy Gift

The Lord formed human beings….He made them to be like himself.
Sirach 17: 1-3

Donald Cross Peattie has written a lot about nature. In one article he made this suggestion: If you ever find a spider spinning a web, run and get your little boy or girl. “Lift your child to see. Tell him that the shining sliver drawn out of the spider’s body has a greater tensile strength than steel. If he learns admiration instead of disgust for the tiny spinner, he will have learned one of the greatest lessons in nature—that all life is sacred.”

Today, more than ever, we need to stress that all life—especially human life— is a gift from God and is sacred. To what extent—and why—do I agree that today, more than ever, we need to stress the sacredness of life?

By having reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relationship with the world. Albert Schweitzer

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

Prayer

All praise be yours, my Lord, through all you have made, and first my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and through whom you give us light. How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor; Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

All Praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, bright, and precious, and fair. All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers wind and air, and fair and stormy, all the weather’s moods, by which you cherish all that you have made.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water, so useful, humble, precious and pure. All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten up the night. How beautiful is he, how cheerful! Full of power and strength.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth, who sustains us and governs us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Abridged version of Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon of St. Francis of Assisi


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May 24, 2013

Feast of Madonna della Strada

Sirach 6: 5-17

A pleasant voice multiplies friends, and a gracious tongue multiplies courtesies
Let those that are at peace with you be many, but let your advisers be
one in a thousand. When you gain a friend, gain him through testing, and do
not trust him hastily. For there is a friend who is such at his own convenience,
but will not stand by you in your day of trouble. And there is a friend who changes
into an enemy, and will disclose a quarrel to your disgrace. And there is
a friend who is a table companion, but will not stand by you in your day of trouble.
In prosperity he will make himself your equal, and be bold with your servants;
but if you are brought low he will turn against you, and will hide himself from
your presence.Keep yourself far from your enemies, and be on guard toward
your friends. A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he that has found one has
found a treasure There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no
scales can measure his excellence. A faithful friend is an elixir of life; and
those who fear the Lord will find him. Whoever fears the Lord directs his
friendship aright, for as he is, so is his neighbor also.

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

Alive in the Holy Spirit

Today in the Jesuit world we celebrate the feast of Madonna della Strada, Our Lady of the Way.  There was an ancient painting of Mary under this title which was very dear to St. Ignatius.  He would pray before this image as his Jesuit brothers departed from Rome for various missions near and far.  In the spirit of today’s reading on friendship from the Book of Sirach, each of us has the reminder to pray for our friends and family members spread across the globe.

The author of Sirach tells us that faithful friends are “a sturdy shelter,”

“a life-saving remedy,” confidants and companions “beyond price.”  We pray with and for our many friends today, remembering the life and joy they bring to our daily living.  This first week after Pentecost may the gifts of the Holy Spirit fill their hearts and homes.  May the Holy Spirit strengthen us as well as we make a difference today for the gospel!

—The Jesuit Prayer Team

Prayer

Lord, we are so grateful for the dear friends who share life with us. If in any way we have hurt our friends, failed to show our appreciation for them, or neglected to spend time with them, let us do right by those friends this week.  We thank you, Lord, for choosing us to be your friends. Like your disciples, we want to follow you and to bring your comfort and hope to anyone carrying a burdened heart.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


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May 23, 2013

Mark 9: 41-50

Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward. If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.

And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where “the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.”  Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.

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

Salt for Your Heart

Integrity, focus, an open mind, even a “tasty” heart — in today’s gospel Jesus invites us to measure our attitudes and actions with these time-honored life qualities.  But then the messiness of life and its relationships enters, and I lose focus as my heart becomes divided, even parched.  And so I begin to drift and my relationships suffer…especially those relationships I hold most dear. Here is where today’s reminder from the book of Sirach can help: “Delay not your conversion to the Lord, put it not off from day to day.”

What is one step I can take today to turn my life back to my God?  To whom do I need to apologize or make amends?  Which Pentecost gifts might anchor my heart anew as “ordinary time” begins?   Go for it!

—The Jesuit Prayer Team

Prayer

Lord, sometimes we drift away from people who at one time meant so much to us. Perhaps a disagreement, perhaps the separation by distance has dulled our relationship or placed an emotional fence between us. How do you want us to move forward with such relationships? Our desire is to listen to your guidance and any promptings toward reconciliation. Be with those who are removed from our hearts and bring them closer to you.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


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May 22, 2013

Sirach 4: 11-19

Wisdom exalts her sons and gives help to those who seek her.  Whoever loves her loves life, and those who seek her early will be filled with joy.  Whoever holds her fast will obtain glory, and the Lord will bless the place she enters.  Those who serve her will minister to the Holy One; the Lord loves those who love her.  He who obeys her will judge the nations, and whoever gives heed to her will dwell secure.  If he has faith in her he will obtain her; and his descendants will remain in possession of her.  For at first she will walk with him on tortuous paths, she will bring fear and cowardice upon him, and will torment him by her discipline until she trusts him, and she will test him with her ordinances. Then she will come straight back to him and gladden him, and will reveal her secrets to him. If he goes astray she will forsake him, and hand him over to his ruin.
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

Wisdom’s Rewards

In this week after Pentecost, it is fitting we hear about the rewards of wisdom in the first reading from the Book of Sirach. Wisdom is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. From childhood we are taught to pray for the “Wisdom of the Holy Spirit.”
Two short prayers which for me capture the gift of the Holy Spirit are:
Holy Spirit, you are here with me today, at this very moment. Hold me, confirm me, comfort me and lead me in your ways. Allow me to see and to hear and to think with your wisdom. Allow me to speak and to act with your love. Help me to respond to the call of Jesus to complete his work in the world today.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. Enkindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and we shall be created, and you will renew the face of the earth.
—David McNulty, Provincial Assistant for Advancement, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits

Prayer

Lord, we ask your Spirit to be with us at this very moment. Lead us in your ways. Help us to see and to hear and to think with your wisdom. Give us a heart to speak and act with your love. And wherever we can be your servant, grant us the grace not to miss the opportunity. And through the wisdom of the Spirit may our decisions be bold, just, and true.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team

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May 31, 2013

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

Luke 1: 39-56

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

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

Untying the Knots

Here is an anecdote from Pope Francis’ personal devotion to Mary that helps this feast of the Visitation come alive. While studying in Germany many years ago, then-Father Bergoglio found a painting which shows an image of “Mary who unties knots.”  In the painting Mary looks determined to untie a number of big and small knots in a ribbon that is handed to her by an angel. A second angel then returns to earth the now-untied ribbon.

Of this image, painted in 1700, Bergoglio wrote some years ago:  “All of us have knots in our hearts and all of us go through difficult times. Our good Lord who bestows grace on all his children wants us to have faith in Mary; he wants us to entrust to her the knots of our miseries which prevent us from reaching God, so that she can untie them and bring us closer to Jesus.”

This feast of Mary’s visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, you and I might pray over the “knots” of our own hearts.  Which of these can I entrust today to Mary’s grace and care?  In your prayer today, which of these “knots” do I invite her to untie?  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

The Jesuit Prayer Team

Prayer

Mother of the silence that preserves the mystery of God, deliver us from the idolatry of the present, to which those who forget are condemned. Purify the eyes of pastors with the balm of memory: that we might return to the freshness of the beginning, for a praying and penitent Church.

Mother of the beauty that blossoms from fidelity to daily work, remove us from the torpor of laziness, of pettiness, and defeatism. Cloak Pastors with that compassion that unifies and integrates: that we might discover the joy of a humble and fraternal servant Church.

Mother of the tenderness which enfolds in patience and mercy, help us burn away the sadness, impatience, and rigidity of those who have not known what it means to belong.
Intercede with your Son that our hands, our feet and our hearts may be swift: that we may build the Church with the truth in charity. Mother, we will be the People of God, on pilgrimage towards the Kingdom. Amen.

Pope Francis


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May 30, 2013

Mark 10: 46-52

They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

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

Enthusiasm for the Lord

Bartimaeus is a richly described character in Mark´s gospel.  We learn that he is a blind, roadside beggar who was unafraid to raise his voice when he learned that Jesus was passing by.  Though told to be quiet, he raises his voice yet again to get Jesus´ attention.  Finally, when he learns that he is being called, he “throws off” his cloak and “jumps” to his feet.

In Bartimaeus we see perseverance, a desire for healing, and maybe most importantly his enthusiasm. He does not want this moment to pass by.  His engagement with the present moment, with the reality that surrounds him, is passionate.

At the end of the story, Jesus tells him that it was his faith that saved him.  Given the actions of Bartimaeus in the story, we might say that it was his passion and enthusiasm that saved him.  Faith in this story has something to do with “throwing off our cloak” and “jumping to our feet”.

We might ask ourselves then: what makes me jump to my feet?  For whom or what do I throw off my cloak to meet or be with?

May the witness of Bartimaeus guide us.  May he help us jump to our feet to meet those who most need us today.

Christopher Staab, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic teaching at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Chicago IL

Prayer

Lord, too often we silence ourselves when we should defend the good name of another Sometimes we become quiet and surrender our convictions to preserve harmony and spare ourselves the tension that conflict brings. With the persistence and enthusiasm of Bartimaeus let us not flinch before the truth.  And like Bartimaeus may we hear those assuring words: Take heart; get up, he is calling you.”

The Jesuit Prayer Team


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May 29, 2013

Mark 10: 32-45

They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.”

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking.

Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

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

God’s People — That’s Us!

In today’s reading from the Book of Sirach we hear a prayer for God’s people. Have you ever played the game of describing yourself without referring to what you do? This game forces us to reflect on our most fundamental identity. All too often, we think about how we are different from one another…Christian, Jew or Muslim; rich or poor; educated or uneducated; conservative or liberal; right or wrong.

Today’s reading reminds us that our most fundamental identity is that we are children of God. We are God’s people! God creates each and every one of us from and for his infinite, absolute and unconditional love. He calls us to live and share this love with every person he puts in our lives. Be alert today for the people God puts in your life and share with them God’s love.  Make a special effort to share with those who are different and in most need of love.

David McNulty is the Provincial Assistant for Advancement, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits

Prayer

Lord, we search for that which will brings us true success. We seek for our families that which will bring them enduring fulfillment. You have given us the pathway to such joy.  “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all” Today may our decisions and the ways we spend our time follow your call to greatness.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


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May 28, 2013

Mark 10:28-31

Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

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

What’s In It For Me?

“Okay, Jesus, that sounds really good. A hundred to one return on an investment is excellent. But there is one phrase in the contract that makes me uneasy—with persecutions.  If you could just delete that, your offer would be just about perfect.”  Peter and his fellow disciples, like many of us, could not resist asking the “What’s in it for me?” question. We are willing to make an effort, to make a commitment, but we want to know that it is going to be effective, that it is going to pay off.

Jesus will work with Peter and with his other disciples and with us to lead his followers to a deeper realization of what it means to serve him. In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius has several key meditations that guide a person to see things more and more from Christ’s perspective. At the conclusion of the Kingdom meditation, the person making the Exercises prays to imitate Jesus in bearing all injuries and affronts and in poverty, actual as well as spiritual.

There is a similar prayer at the conclusion of the meditation on the Two Standards. And in the “Take and Receive” prayer at the end of the Exercises, the person gives everything back to God, and says that God’s love and grace is all that is needed.

St. Ignatius is realistic enough to recognize that this is a challenging step. We may not be ready. So we may need to start with the desire to desire such a relationship with Christ. And we may even need to begin by praying for the desire to desire the desire.

Where do I find myself in my journey to join Christ in the persecutions, the tough stuff?

—Fr. Joseph Folzenlogen, S.J.is vice-superior of the Faber Jesuit Community in Cincinnati and Director of Claver Jesuit Ministry.

Prayer

Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to labor and not to seek for reward, save that of knowing that I am doing your holy will.

St. Ignatius, Prayer for Generosity


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May 27, 2013

Mark 10: 17-27

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother. Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”  The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

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

Come, Follow Me

For some 40 years, Paul Harvey hosted a popular segment on National Public Radio, “The Rest of the Story.”  He would select a well-known person, event or situation, describing and narrating a little known or forgotten fact which ultimately highlighted a key and surprising element about the whole story.   The narrative of the rich young man in today’s Gospel passage offers an opportunity to ponder the “rest of the story.”

It is easy to interpret a Gospel story solely from a contemporary historical lens.  This can place a limitation and conclusion to the story, confining the meaning to the actual narrative.  Ignatian imaginative prayer invites the reader to start with the actual narrative, rather than end with what has been written down.

Maybe the rich young man returns to Jesus as a disciple after some time of discernment, and indeed after selling and giving away his many possessions.  Perhaps Jesus sees him again and calls him, and the young man is ready to follow Jesus. Maybe I would realize ways in which I needed time to ponder and discern a question or challenge from God. And perhaps I would realize and embrace with gratitude those times and ways when I really wanted needed to follow Jesus more than the particular thing(s) to which I cling.

In this way, the eternal nature of Sacred Scripture lives through the lens of our own lives, our own ongoing history.  The Gospels were written to a community of an earlier age, but were also written for us, followers and disciples of Jesus Christ. We become, and are, “The Rest of the Story.”

As the day begins, let Jesus look into your eyes with love.  Here is personal invitation to “Come, Follow Me” whatever that might mean for you today.
—Fr. Glen Chun, S.J. is minister of the Loyola University Jesuit Community, Chicago, and also serves on the vocations staff for the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus

Prayer

On this Memorial Day
Grant peace to the souls
of all those soldiers who died in war.
We remember the tears and grief of their families,
The pain of mothers, wives, husbands and children
Who lost precious loved ones.

To build a meaningful memorial to them,
We ask God to give us all the will
To work for peace around the world
So no more sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, nor mothers
Are slaughtered by the guns and bombs of war.

We ask Mary, who held the lifeless body of her son
And was pierced by the sorrow of his suffering and death,
To grant us the compassion and wisdom to affirm life
And honor the dead through forgiveness and peace making.

May God have mercy on the souls of the departed.
Grant them peace, O Lord.
May we have mercy on the living.
Grant us peace, O Lord.
In Your name we pray.
Amen.

Education for Justice, www.educationforjustice.org


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May 26, 2013

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

John 16: 12-15

There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now.  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’

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

It’s a Mystery

Sometime when we asked questions of our parents as youngsters and our parents did not have the answer, they responded:  “It’s a mystery.”  It stopped us from asking more questions.  And so today, when we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, we want a more adult answer to our questions about the Trinity than, “It’s a mystery.”

Men and women from the beginning of time until now have been blessed by the ways God communicates with them.  In the Hebrew Scriptures God revealed himself and his message through intermediaries, the patriarchs and prophets.  Through the person of Jesus, God revealed himself through his incarnate Son.  But the Son knew that he had a limited time among the sons and daughters of men, so he made a promise to send an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to continue the way God communicates with human persons.

And in our Gospel passage today, this Advocate is called the Spirit of Truth because he will “take the things which belong to me (Jesus), and tell you of them.”  And so God continues communicating in our day through the Spirit making the New Testament Scripture the truth about who we are, where we are going and how to get there.

The Trinity is mystery in the way love is a mystery.  God loves us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Fr. Douglas Leonhardt, S.J. is associate vice-president for Mission and
Ministry at Marquette University where he is also pastoral minister for the College of Education and McCabe Residence Hall 

Prayer

Glory be to you, Father, who has created me in your own image and likeness and through your love sustains all living things in being.

Glory be to you, the Son, who became flesh to show me you are the way, the truth, and the life. Glory be to you, Holy Spirit, who has sanctified me in the Sacrament of Baptism and continues to enlighten me by your wisdom. Glory be to you, holy Trinity, as you were in the beginning and will be forever!

Fr. Douglas Leonhardt, S.J. 


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May 25, 2013

Sirach 17: 1-15

The Lord created man out of earth, and turned him back to it again.  He gave to men few days, a limited time, but granted them authority over the things upon the earth.  He endowed them with strength like his own, and made them in his own image.  He placed the fear of them in all living beings, and granted them dominion over beasts and birds.  He made for them tongue and eyes; he gave them ears and a mind for thinking.  He filled them with knowledge and understanding, and showed them good and evil.   He set his eye upon their hearts to show them the majesty of his works.

And they will praise his holy name, to proclaim the grandeur of his works.  He bestowed knowledge upon them, and allotted to them the law of life.  He established with them an eternal covenant, and showed them his judgments.  Their eyes saw his glorious majesty, and their ears heard the glory of his voice.  And he said to them, “Beware of all unrighteousness.” And he gave commandment to each of them concerning his neighbor. Their ways are always before him, they will not be hid from his eyes.

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

Life – A Holy Gift

The Lord formed human beings….He made them to be like himself.
Sirach 17: 1-3

Donald Cross Peattie has written a lot about nature. In one article he made this suggestion: If you ever find a spider spinning a web, run and get your little boy or girl. “Lift your child to see. Tell him that the shining sliver drawn out of the spider’s body has a greater tensile strength than steel. If he learns admiration instead of disgust for the tiny spinner, he will have learned one of the greatest lessons in nature—that all life is sacred.”

Today, more than ever, we need to stress that all life—especially human life— is a gift from God and is sacred. To what extent—and why—do I agree that today, more than ever, we need to stress the sacredness of life?

By having reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relationship with the world. Albert Schweitzer

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

Prayer

All praise be yours, my Lord, through all you have made, and first my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and through whom you give us light. How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor; Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

All Praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, bright, and precious, and fair. All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers wind and air, and fair and stormy, all the weather’s moods, by which you cherish all that you have made.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water, so useful, humble, precious and pure. All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten up the night. How beautiful is he, how cheerful! Full of power and strength.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth, who sustains us and governs us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Abridged version of Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon of St. Francis of Assisi


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May 24, 2013

Feast of Madonna della Strada

Sirach 6: 5-17

A pleasant voice multiplies friends, and a gracious tongue multiplies courtesies
Let those that are at peace with you be many, but let your advisers be
one in a thousand. When you gain a friend, gain him through testing, and do
not trust him hastily. For there is a friend who is such at his own convenience,
but will not stand by you in your day of trouble. And there is a friend who changes
into an enemy, and will disclose a quarrel to your disgrace. And there is
a friend who is a table companion, but will not stand by you in your day of trouble.
In prosperity he will make himself your equal, and be bold with your servants;
but if you are brought low he will turn against you, and will hide himself from
your presence.Keep yourself far from your enemies, and be on guard toward
your friends. A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he that has found one has
found a treasure There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no
scales can measure his excellence. A faithful friend is an elixir of life; and
those who fear the Lord will find him. Whoever fears the Lord directs his
friendship aright, for as he is, so is his neighbor also.

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

Alive in the Holy Spirit

Today in the Jesuit world we celebrate the feast of Madonna della Strada, Our Lady of the Way.  There was an ancient painting of Mary under this title which was very dear to St. Ignatius.  He would pray before this image as his Jesuit brothers departed from Rome for various missions near and far.  In the spirit of today’s reading on friendship from the Book of Sirach, each of us has the reminder to pray for our friends and family members spread across the globe.

The author of Sirach tells us that faithful friends are “a sturdy shelter,”

“a life-saving remedy,” confidants and companions “beyond price.”  We pray with and for our many friends today, remembering the life and joy they bring to our daily living.  This first week after Pentecost may the gifts of the Holy Spirit fill their hearts and homes.  May the Holy Spirit strengthen us as well as we make a difference today for the gospel!

—The Jesuit Prayer Team

Prayer

Lord, we are so grateful for the dear friends who share life with us. If in any way we have hurt our friends, failed to show our appreciation for them, or neglected to spend time with them, let us do right by those friends this week.  We thank you, Lord, for choosing us to be your friends. Like your disciples, we want to follow you and to bring your comfort and hope to anyone carrying a burdened heart.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


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May 23, 2013

Mark 9: 41-50

Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward. If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.

And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where “the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.”  Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.

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

Salt for Your Heart

Integrity, focus, an open mind, even a “tasty” heart — in today’s gospel Jesus invites us to measure our attitudes and actions with these time-honored life qualities.  But then the messiness of life and its relationships enters, and I lose focus as my heart becomes divided, even parched.  And so I begin to drift and my relationships suffer…especially those relationships I hold most dear. Here is where today’s reminder from the book of Sirach can help: “Delay not your conversion to the Lord, put it not off from day to day.”

What is one step I can take today to turn my life back to my God?  To whom do I need to apologize or make amends?  Which Pentecost gifts might anchor my heart anew as “ordinary time” begins?   Go for it!

—The Jesuit Prayer Team

Prayer

Lord, sometimes we drift away from people who at one time meant so much to us. Perhaps a disagreement, perhaps the separation by distance has dulled our relationship or placed an emotional fence between us. How do you want us to move forward with such relationships? Our desire is to listen to your guidance and any promptings toward reconciliation. Be with those who are removed from our hearts and bring them closer to you.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


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May 22, 2013

Sirach 4: 11-19

Wisdom exalts her sons and gives help to those who seek her.  Whoever loves her loves life, and those who seek her early will be filled with joy.  Whoever holds her fast will obtain glory, and the Lord will bless the place she enters.  Those who serve her will minister to the Holy One; the Lord loves those who love her.  He who obeys her will judge the nations, and whoever gives heed to her will dwell secure.  If he has faith in her he will obtain her; and his descendants will remain in possession of her.  For at first she will walk with him on tortuous paths, she will bring fear and cowardice upon him, and will torment him by her discipline until she trusts him, and she will test him with her ordinances. Then she will come straight back to him and gladden him, and will reveal her secrets to him. If he goes astray she will forsake him, and hand him over to his ruin.
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

Wisdom’s Rewards

In this week after Pentecost, it is fitting we hear about the rewards of wisdom in the first reading from the Book of Sirach. Wisdom is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. From childhood we are taught to pray for the “Wisdom of the Holy Spirit.”
Two short prayers which for me capture the gift of the Holy Spirit are:
Holy Spirit, you are here with me today, at this very moment. Hold me, confirm me, comfort me and lead me in your ways. Allow me to see and to hear and to think with your wisdom. Allow me to speak and to act with your love. Help me to respond to the call of Jesus to complete his work in the world today.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. Enkindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and we shall be created, and you will renew the face of the earth.
—David McNulty, Provincial Assistant for Advancement, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits

Prayer

Lord, we ask your Spirit to be with us at this very moment. Lead us in your ways. Help us to see and to hear and to think with your wisdom. Give us a heart to speak and act with your love. And wherever we can be your servant, grant us the grace not to miss the opportunity. And through the wisdom of the Spirit may our decisions be bold, just, and true.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team

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