Prayer

Lord, if I want to be mindful of my talents and use those gifts to their fullest, I must ask that your Spirit unite with my spirit. On my own I may let greed, selfishness, or self-doubt minimize my talents. When I surrender myself to you, I discover that I am more capable, more secure, and more aware of seizing opportunities and serving others more completely and more consistently. Lord, I will not complain that others have more talents than I do. I will trust that you gave me just the right type and the right amount of gifts to serve you day by day.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Our Best for the Lord

St. Ignatius Loyola asks those who make a retreat to consider one’s life from the vantage point of one’s death.  It is an imagined scene, but eventually a real one.  The retreatant is asked to judge his choices from that backward and final glance.  Did I, as the Gospel suggests, live a full Christian life or am I now about to enter eternal life unfulfilled?  Yes, I can certainly point to good thoughts, deeds, kindnesses to others and adoration of my God.  But I am not returning to God all that He had hoped I would be.  After thinking of these things, I return to the present, to prepare for death and life with God.

What can I offer Him?  What will I offer Him?  Other human beings are a constant, living example of successful, but also miserable choices.  Let me think of Christ, who chose wisely, valiantly.

–John Kilgallen, SJ, Chicago-Detroit province Jesuit, is emeritus professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Mt 25: 14-30

“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them .Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest.

So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

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!

August 31, 2013

Mt 25: 14-30

“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them .Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest.

So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

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

Our Best for the Lord

St. Ignatius Loyola asks those who make a retreat to consider one’s life from the vantage point of one’s death.  It is an imagined scene, but eventually a real one.  The retreatant is asked to judge his choices from that backward and final glance.  Did I, as the Gospel suggests, live a full Christian life or am I now about to enter eternal life unfulfilled?  Yes, I can certainly point to good thoughts, deeds, kindnesses to others and adoration of my God.  But I am not returning to God all that He had hoped I would be.  After thinking of these things, I return to the present, to prepare for death and life with God.

What can I offer Him?  What will I offer Him?  Other human beings are a constant, living example of successful, but also miserable choices.  Let me think of Christ, who chose wisely, valiantly.

­–John Kilgallen, SJ, Chicago-Detroit province Jesuit, is emeritus professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome.

Prayer

Lord, if I want to be mindful of my talents and use those gifts to their fullest, I must ask that your Spirit unite with my spirit. On my own I may let greed, selfishness, or self-doubt minimize my talents. When I surrender myself to you, I discover that I am more capable, more secure, and more aware of seizing opportunities and serving others more completely and more consistently. Lord, I will not complain that others have more talents than I do. I will trust that you gave me just the right type and the right amount of gifts to serve you day by day.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, let us live this day with no regrets. May we count our blessings when we feel downhearted or overwhelmed. May we see the magic in the common and seize opportunity though fear may try to hold us back.  May we remember those who loved us so much on earth, confident that we will one day be one with them. Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will. 

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

We’ve Struck Oil!

The parable of the wise and foolish virgins is perfect fodder for literary criticism; it’s the stuff of Joyce and Eliot and O’Neill. Here we have an allegory that makes us dance between the story and the deeper meaning. Are the ten bridesmaids married to one bridegroom? Where is the bride? What’s with the oil, and why did each bridesmaid need a lamp—couldn’t they share the light enough to interact with the bridegroom? Why would the bridegroom say he didn’t recognize five of the ten bridesmaids?

As my head reels, I can hear St. Ignatius saying, “Don’t be so literal! Use your imagination and engage your heart!”

Okay, now I see a little better . . . Like marriage, the relationship between God and his people is deeply intimate. Like the bridesmaids, the disciples and all people of faith wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ (the bridegroom). And like the wise bridesmaids, we need to have enough “oil” so we can see Christ present in the world.

Ignatius calls us to linger when we’ve struck gold, or in this case, oil. As we wait in joyful hope, what lights our lamps is the oil of open hearts, love of the “other,” and works of mercy. In our Catholic tradition, oil doesn’t just light our lamps, it is used to anoint the newly baptized, catechumens, newly ordained priests, and the sick. Oil is loaded with ancient symbolism and meaning.

Today, let’s reflect on how we can stay awake and see Christ at work in the world. Let’s light our lamps with the oil of love and keep them burning through a spirit of generosity. 

—Jeremy Langford is the director of communications for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits and author of Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life ©2007 Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA.

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Mt 25: 1-13

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 

But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’

And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’

Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

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!

August 30, 2013

Mt 25: 1-13

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept.

But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’

And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’

Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

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

We’ve Struck Oil!

The parable of the wise and foolish virgins is perfect fodder for literary criticism; it’s the stuff of Joyce and Eliot and O’Neill. Here we have an allegory that makes us dance between the story and the deeper meaning. Are the ten bridesmaids married to one bridegroom? Where is the bride? What’s with the oil, and why did each bridesmaid need a lamp—couldn’t they share the light enough to interact with the bridegroom? Why would the bridegroom say he didn’t recognize five of the ten bridesmaids?

As my head reels, I can hear St. Ignatius saying, “Don’t be so literal! Use your imagination and engage your heart!”

Okay, now I see a little better . . . Like marriage, the relationship between God and his people is deeply intimate. Like the bridesmaids, the disciples and all people of faith wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ (the bridegroom). And like the wise bridesmaids, we need to have enough “oil” so we can see Christ present in the world.

Ignatius calls us to linger when we’ve struck gold, or in this case, oil. As we wait in joyful hope, what lights our lamps is the oil of open hearts, love of the “other,” and works of mercy. In our Catholic tradition, oil doesn’t just light our lamps, it is used to anoint the newly baptized, catechumens, newly ordained priests, and the sick. Oil is loaded with ancient symbolism and meaning.

Today, let’s reflect on how we can stay awake and see Christ at work in the world. Let’s light our lamps with the oil of love and keep them burning through a spirit of generosity. 

—Jeremy Langford is the director of communications for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits and author of Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life ©2007 Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA.

Prayer

Lord, let us live this day with no regrets. May we count our blessings when we feel downhearted or overwhelmed. May we see the magic in the common and seize opportunity though fear may try to hold us back.  May we remember those who loved us so much on earth, confident that we will one day be one with them. Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Prayer

Lord, too, often when our position, power, image, or likeability is threatened, our backbone crumbles as the other’s reputation is decimated. Grant us your grace to surrender to you and to fill up on your love and protection. Surround us with co-workers, family members, and friends who strengthen our resolve to face conflict with truth and to remain loyal to the one wrongly accused.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Jesus, let’s talk!

Do you think Mary ever had a conversation with Jesus about the death of his cousin, John the Baptist? Mary might have asked, “Son, wasn’t there anything you could have done to save your poor cousin’s life — at least you could have spared him such a gruesome death. Jesus, I feel awful for his followers. How traumatic to bury the remains of John’s body. Help me understand, son, why you let all of this happen.”

Yet Mary understood that John’s death was a precursor to her son’s horrific fate. Sometimes we call out to Mary about the inconceivable hurt, tragedy, loss in our own lives. We don’t understand the why for the suffering. How bizarre that John the Baptist would suffer such a hideous death just to placate Herod’s selfish, vengeful wife. It seems almost a travesty of John’s life.

Yet we hold to our Lord’s promise. Nothing will separate us from his love. While we are vulnerable, we cling to his life preserving love that never abandons us — despite the surface reality. Though we don’t understand why we must endure suffering, our faith assures us that suffering and death will not have the last word. Somehow through it all we will arrive at a deeper understanding of our life’s purpose. We will find a way through because we will keep our eyes fixed on “The Way.”

—The Jesuit Prayer Team

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Welcome to FaithCP

Creighton Prep and the Midwest Jesuits have partnered to create FaithCP, a daily resource for prayer. FaithCP provides daily scripture, reflections, and prayers grounded in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.


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Prayer

Lord, if I want to be mindful of my talents and use those gifts to their fullest, I must ask that your Spirit unite with my spirit. On my own I may let greed, selfishness, or self-doubt minimize my talents. When I surrender myself to you, I discover that I am more capable, more secure, and more aware of seizing opportunities and serving others more completely and more consistently. Lord, I will not complain that others have more talents than I do. I will trust that you gave me just the right type and the right amount of gifts to serve you day by day.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Our Best for the Lord

St. Ignatius Loyola asks those who make a retreat to consider one’s life from the vantage point of one’s death.  It is an imagined scene, but eventually a real one.  The retreatant is asked to judge his choices from that backward and final glance.  Did I, as the Gospel suggests, live a full Christian life or am I now about to enter eternal life unfulfilled?  Yes, I can certainly point to good thoughts, deeds, kindnesses to others and adoration of my God.  But I am not returning to God all that He had hoped I would be.  After thinking of these things, I return to the present, to prepare for death and life with God.

What can I offer Him?  What will I offer Him?  Other human beings are a constant, living example of successful, but also miserable choices.  Let me think of Christ, who chose wisely, valiantly.

–John Kilgallen, SJ, Chicago-Detroit province Jesuit, is emeritus professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Mt 25: 14-30

“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them .Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest.

So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

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!

August 31, 2013

Mt 25: 14-30

“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them .Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest.

So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

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

Our Best for the Lord

St. Ignatius Loyola asks those who make a retreat to consider one’s life from the vantage point of one’s death.  It is an imagined scene, but eventually a real one.  The retreatant is asked to judge his choices from that backward and final glance.  Did I, as the Gospel suggests, live a full Christian life or am I now about to enter eternal life unfulfilled?  Yes, I can certainly point to good thoughts, deeds, kindnesses to others and adoration of my God.  But I am not returning to God all that He had hoped I would be.  After thinking of these things, I return to the present, to prepare for death and life with God.

What can I offer Him?  What will I offer Him?  Other human beings are a constant, living example of successful, but also miserable choices.  Let me think of Christ, who chose wisely, valiantly.

­–John Kilgallen, SJ, Chicago-Detroit province Jesuit, is emeritus professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome.

Prayer

Lord, if I want to be mindful of my talents and use those gifts to their fullest, I must ask that your Spirit unite with my spirit. On my own I may let greed, selfishness, or self-doubt minimize my talents. When I surrender myself to you, I discover that I am more capable, more secure, and more aware of seizing opportunities and serving others more completely and more consistently. Lord, I will not complain that others have more talents than I do. I will trust that you gave me just the right type and the right amount of gifts to serve you day by day.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, let us live this day with no regrets. May we count our blessings when we feel downhearted or overwhelmed. May we see the magic in the common and seize opportunity though fear may try to hold us back.  May we remember those who loved us so much on earth, confident that we will one day be one with them. Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will. 

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

We’ve Struck Oil!

The parable of the wise and foolish virgins is perfect fodder for literary criticism; it’s the stuff of Joyce and Eliot and O’Neill. Here we have an allegory that makes us dance between the story and the deeper meaning. Are the ten bridesmaids married to one bridegroom? Where is the bride? What’s with the oil, and why did each bridesmaid need a lamp—couldn’t they share the light enough to interact with the bridegroom? Why would the bridegroom say he didn’t recognize five of the ten bridesmaids?

As my head reels, I can hear St. Ignatius saying, “Don’t be so literal! Use your imagination and engage your heart!”

Okay, now I see a little better . . . Like marriage, the relationship between God and his people is deeply intimate. Like the bridesmaids, the disciples and all people of faith wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ (the bridegroom). And like the wise bridesmaids, we need to have enough “oil” so we can see Christ present in the world.

Ignatius calls us to linger when we’ve struck gold, or in this case, oil. As we wait in joyful hope, what lights our lamps is the oil of open hearts, love of the “other,” and works of mercy. In our Catholic tradition, oil doesn’t just light our lamps, it is used to anoint the newly baptized, catechumens, newly ordained priests, and the sick. Oil is loaded with ancient symbolism and meaning.

Today, let’s reflect on how we can stay awake and see Christ at work in the world. Let’s light our lamps with the oil of love and keep them burning through a spirit of generosity. 

—Jeremy Langford is the director of communications for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits and author of Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life ©2007 Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA.

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Mt 25: 1-13

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 

But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’

And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’

Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

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!

August 30, 2013

Mt 25: 1-13

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept.

But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’

And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’

Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

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

We’ve Struck Oil!

The parable of the wise and foolish virgins is perfect fodder for literary criticism; it’s the stuff of Joyce and Eliot and O’Neill. Here we have an allegory that makes us dance between the story and the deeper meaning. Are the ten bridesmaids married to one bridegroom? Where is the bride? What’s with the oil, and why did each bridesmaid need a lamp—couldn’t they share the light enough to interact with the bridegroom? Why would the bridegroom say he didn’t recognize five of the ten bridesmaids?

As my head reels, I can hear St. Ignatius saying, “Don’t be so literal! Use your imagination and engage your heart!”

Okay, now I see a little better . . . Like marriage, the relationship between God and his people is deeply intimate. Like the bridesmaids, the disciples and all people of faith wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ (the bridegroom). And like the wise bridesmaids, we need to have enough “oil” so we can see Christ present in the world.

Ignatius calls us to linger when we’ve struck gold, or in this case, oil. As we wait in joyful hope, what lights our lamps is the oil of open hearts, love of the “other,” and works of mercy. In our Catholic tradition, oil doesn’t just light our lamps, it is used to anoint the newly baptized, catechumens, newly ordained priests, and the sick. Oil is loaded with ancient symbolism and meaning.

Today, let’s reflect on how we can stay awake and see Christ at work in the world. Let’s light our lamps with the oil of love and keep them burning through a spirit of generosity. 

—Jeremy Langford is the director of communications for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits and author of Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life ©2007 Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA.

Prayer

Lord, let us live this day with no regrets. May we count our blessings when we feel downhearted or overwhelmed. May we see the magic in the common and seize opportunity though fear may try to hold us back.  May we remember those who loved us so much on earth, confident that we will one day be one with them. Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


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Prayer

Prayer

Lord, too, often when our position, power, image, or likeability is threatened, our backbone crumbles as the other’s reputation is decimated. Grant us your grace to surrender to you and to fill up on your love and protection. Surround us with co-workers, family members, and friends who strengthen our resolve to face conflict with truth and to remain loyal to the one wrongly accused.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


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Jesus, let’s talk!

Do you think Mary ever had a conversation with Jesus about the death of his cousin, John the Baptist? Mary might have asked, “Son, wasn’t there anything you could have done to save your poor cousin’s life — at least you could have spared him such a gruesome death. Jesus, I feel awful for his followers. How traumatic to bury the remains of John’s body. Help me understand, son, why you let all of this happen.”

Yet Mary understood that John’s death was a precursor to her son’s horrific fate. Sometimes we call out to Mary about the inconceivable hurt, tragedy, loss in our own lives. We don’t understand the why for the suffering. How bizarre that John the Baptist would suffer such a hideous death just to placate Herod’s selfish, vengeful wife. It seems almost a travesty of John’s life.

Yet we hold to our Lord’s promise. Nothing will separate us from his love. While we are vulnerable, we cling to his life preserving love that never abandons us — despite the surface reality. Though we don’t understand why we must endure suffering, our faith assures us that suffering and death will not have the last word. Somehow through it all we will arrive at a deeper understanding of our life’s purpose. We will find a way through because we will keep our eyes fixed on “The Way.”

—The Jesuit Prayer Team

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!