November 30, 2015

St. Andrew, apostle

Mt 4: 18-22

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

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation

Following Jesus Christ

In today’s Gospel Jesus calls two sets of brothers to abandon fishing careers and families to catch bigger fish: Andrew (whose feast is today) and his brother Simon Peter, along with James and John. All four leave abruptly: Andrew and Simon “at once,” Zebedee’s sons “immediately.” What inspires these men to pursue radically—even rashly—this stranger? Perhaps they intuited that Jesus was God, not just another guru. Maybe through his gaze they felt known, accepted and loved like never before. Possibly a promise of meaning and joy encountered something restless and empty within their souls.

The voice of Christ effected a similar radical reorientation in St. Ignatius’ life, unmasking his vanity and setting him on an entirely new path of life.

Why do I follow Jesus Christ? What aspects of his person and teachings attract me? Is there one person Jesus wants to “net” through my discipleship—by prayer and sacrifice on his behalf, by inviting her back to Mass, by an act of forgiveness or mercy during the Year of Mercy?

Fr. Rob Kroll, S.J. is Superior of the Jesuit Community at Creighton Prep, Omaha, NE.

Prayer

St. Andrew, brother of Simon Peter, you heard John the Baptist say:
“Behold the Lamb of God,” and you chose to follow Jesus.
Leaving your nets, you became a successful fisher of souls.
Lover of the Crucified Christ, you too were crucified like him.
Teach us to live and suffer for Him and to win many souls for Christ. Amen.

—a traditional prayer to St. Andrew


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 29, 2015

Lk 21: 25-28. 34- 36

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

“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

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-translation

Paying Attention

One of the skills that new teachers have to learn is how to redirect a misbehaving student to the appropriate behavior by stating what the student should be doing. Often, novice teachers think it is enough to tell the drowsing student, “Please lift your head off your desk,” without realizing the importance of continuing with “and sit up, with your eyes facing the smart board.” This season of Advent that we are embarking on today is one devoted to redirecting us from drowsiness to standing erect and raising our heads; that is, to paying attention. During these weeks we’re invited to be more attentive to how God’s grace is active and alive in the world and in our lives, to take notice of even the most mundane signs that tell us our redemption is at hand.

—Fr. Martin Connell, S.J. is Professor of Education at John Carroll University, University Heights, OH,  and Rector of the John Carroll University Jesuit community.

Prayer

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

The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 28, 2015

Daniel 3: 82-87

You sons and daughters, bless the Lord: praise and exalt God above all forever.
O Israel, bless the Lord: praise and exalt God above all forever.
Priests of the Lord, bless the Lord. You servants of the Lord, bless the Lord:  
praise and exalt God above all forever.
You spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord.  You holy and humble of heart, bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt God above all forever.

A. Gregory Murray, OSB  (c) the Grail, 1963

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-translation

Gratitude and Hope

This Thanksgiving weekend marks the end of the current Church year. Advent begins tomorrow and we begin a new journey of faith. Thus today is a “hinge day” a time for gratitude to God for the grace and blessings of the past year, as well as the opportunity to walk forward with the Lord into Advent, as once again we prepare our hearts and homes for the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

Ignatius Loyola regularly invites us to take note of the movements of God’s grace in our daily livings. Today, as this year of grace comes to an end, what is happening within my heart? What adventures and opportunities of this past year am I really grateful for? What individuals and situations have strengthened me, challenged me, stretched me? What person and situation has had a particular impact this past year? Can I trace God’s presence throughout these past months of grace and opportunity…even if some days or weeks were particularly tough and challenging?

Take some moments today to express your thanks, to compliment a friend, to ask forgiveness, to share your talent and time with someone in need. Andcome midnightHappy New Year! Maranatha!

—The Jesuit prayer team

Prayer

For all that has been, thanks!
For all that will be, yes!


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 27, 2015

Lk 21: 29-33

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

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation

Living in the Now

While the Catechism refers to seven sacraments, could it be that the number of sacraments is actually eight? Why only seven?  Is there not an eighth sacrament called the “Sacrament of the Present Moment”? In other words, if we are to know that the Kingdom of God is truly near, would not this eighth sacrament transform what we too often label as the “mundane”?  Would living in the Present Moment not be a way to “know that the Kingdom of God is near” not at some undesignated time in the futurebut here and now?

I’ve sometimes wondered what is meant when we speak about God’s “graces.” What is really meant when we talk about receiving grace? I’m not sure that I have come to a satisfying definition quite yet, but maybe grace is that conscious realization of God’s presence NOW.  Maybe when we talk about God’s reign this should not be understood to mean “Thy kingdom come” at some unknown time in the future, but NOW in the Sacrament of the Present Moment. God is on the phone NOW. Am I going to take his call?

—Jack Goldberg is a retired trial attorney. He and his wife Barbara live in Cincinnati, OH. Jack is the moderator of the Moot Court competition team at St. Xavier High School, Cincinnati, and an alumnus of St. X.

Prayer

O Lord of Lords, and ruler of the House of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush, come NOW to each of us with your outstretched arm, and ransom us. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus, come now!


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Day in the United States

Lk 17: 11-19

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan.

Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

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-translation

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Greek word that is the source for our word “Eucharist” means “Thanksgiving.”  And since our Eucharistic Liturgy and our Thanksgiving celebrations as Americans both involve a very special community (or family) meal, it shouldn’t be a surprise if our thoughts today will have liturgy and our holiday celebration move in parallel.

“Blessing God” and finding joy and peace in God’s goodness to his people is the theme of the first reading from Sirach, and Paul’s “giving thanks” to God for people who live good lives while awaiting the revelation of the Lord is the theme of the second reading. As families gather on this special day, many share in one way or another with the poor, either collecting food or inviting them to share in our family table. Such sharing is a witness to our dependence upon God and upon each other.

In the gospel, we see the reaction of Jesus when one former leper, a Samaritan, is the only one of ten lepers to return and give thanks after Jesus cleanses them from their affliction. This might lead us to ask whether we really do thank God for his love, his protection, his mercy, his forgiveness each time we gather for Mass. Does our thanksgiving then overflow into goodness and mercy toward others? God bless you and your family on this special day!

—Fr. Michael A. Vincent, S.J. serves as associate pastor of the Church of the Gesu, University Heights, OH.

Prayer

Bless us and our families this Thanksgiving day, O Lord. Thank you for all the gifts you lavish upon us throughout the year. May those who hunger have bread. And may we who have bread so bountifully today hunger always for your justice and peace. Amen!

—The Jesuit prayer team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 25, 2015

St. Catherine of Alexandria

Lk 21: 12-19

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

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation

Trust and Joy

When I was younger I loved to read. I would read almost anything I could get my hands on. Getting into a good book would take up hours of my time, time my other friends wanted to spend in different ways. Sitting with a book, for them, was painfully dull. I continued reading books, regardless of how lame my friends said it was. Reading brought me great joy and a sense of peace.

It can be difficult to keep doing something, even something you love, when those close to you disagree and put you down for enjoying it. But if you know something is good and if it brings you true joy it is worth suffering for, even when the suffering is brought on from those closest to you. Trust that Christ will give you the strength to persevere through the suffering needed to gain the greatest joy and peace of all, eternal life with Him.

Matt Davis is a senior psychology major (with a minor in gender and health studies) at the University of Michigan. He is an active student leader at St. Mary’s Student Parish in Ann Arbor.

Prayer

Lord, grant that I may see you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
follow you more nearly.

—St. Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises #104


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 24, 2015

St. Andrew Dung-Lac and companions

Lk 21: 5-11

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

Do not go after them. “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation

Building Up

It is so much easier to destroy than to create. The recent terrorist attacks around the world testify to this. As we lament the horror of destruction, we would do well to remember our call to be co-creators of the world with God. As we reflect on the apocalyptic literature in Scripture, which reminds us of how unreliable our human-made structures can be, let us pray for the courage and perseverance to build up in the face of so much tearing-down.

What part of me can I hold out to God for more upbuilding? What part of the world around me can I build up?

—Michael Lamanna, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic of the USA Northeast Jesuit province. He is currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts;
It is beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is the Lord’s work. . .
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the Master Builder
and the worker.
We are workers, but not master builders. . .
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future that is not our own.

—Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 23, 2015

Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J. / St.  Clement  / St. Columban

Lk 21: 1-4

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

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation

Relationships and Time

This passage from Luke’s Gospel reminds me of a favorite hymn“Where Your Treasure Is, There Your Heart Shall Be.”  This is the time we are asked to discern what portion of our treasure we are able and willing to give to our parish church. We hear about the widow who had no surplus but offered her total treasure.

The widow inspires me to also name treasures of a different kind: relationshipswith family, friends, and God; the gift of timehealthy relationships require time; moments of heartfelt peace. These are my treasures.

How easy it is to get caught up in the lure of holiday consumerism with the flurry of advertisements for Black Friday sales! During this week of Thanksgiving, let’s focus on our treasures and give attention to how we spend our time. Notice how stress builds when we succumb to those influences that detract from what we treasure. Do relationships suffer? Is our attention to prayer diminished? Whatever treasures you hold deep within your heartlet them be your guide.

Pat Schloemer is a member of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, Cincinnati, Ohio, and in her fourth year of service with the Ignatian Lay Volunteer Corps. Pat and Sam Schloemer have been married 54 years, have 4 married children, and 11 grandchildren.

Prayer

Where your treasure is, there your heart shall be.
All that you possess will never set you free.
Seek the things that last; come and learn from me.
Where your treasure is, your heart shall be.

What do you gain from all your worry,
What you should eat or what to wear?
There is no peace in stress and hurry,
Do you not know that you are held within God’s care?

Marty Haugen, “Where Your Treasure Is,” © 2000, GIA Publications, Inc.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 22, 2015

Solemnity of Christ the King

Jn 18: 33b-37

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

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-translation

A King of Redeeming Love

Each of the four Gospels mentions that, when Jesus was crucified, an inscription placed above his head on the cross read: “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.” When was the last time I thought of Jesus as King? From the days of its founding, the United States has always rejected any effort to impose a king’s rule over it. Jesus, too, rejected kingship in any worldly or political sense and all our suppositions about kingliness are turned upside-down in the Gospels.

Ever since Adam and Eve people have longed for a ruler who would usher the whole human family into a kingdom of justice and peace. What Christians have recognized in Jesus over the centuries is this: here is a King of redeeming love, the humble servant of all. Remember the old Quaker hymn: “When Love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?”

—Fr. Paul Harman, S.J. is a Jesuit of the USA Northeast Province. He has worked in Jesuit formation and over many years has been a valued administrator at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA.

Prayer

My life goes on in endless song above earth’s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear it’s music ringing:
It sounds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars, I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness ’round me close, songs in the night it giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock I’m clinging.
When love is lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?

Robert W. Lowery


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 21, 2015

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Psalm 9: 2-3, 4, 6, 16, 19

I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

When my enemies turned back, they stumbled and perished before you.

For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne giving righteous judgment.

The enemies have vanished in everlasting ruins; their cities you have rooted out; the very memory of them has perished.

The Lord has made himself known, he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands.

Rise up, O Lord! Do not let mortals prevail; let the nations be judged before you.

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-translation

Mercy and Compassion

Pope Francis continues to draw the world’s attention to those who are poor and in need. He invites us to reach out to others with mercy and compassion. Each of us has a story: each of us has moments of brilliance and success, as well as times we are definitely poor and in need. It is precisely in such moments when we genuinely need the “mercy and compassion” about which Pope Francis speaks.

Today’s psalm reminds us that the needy will not be forgotten; those afflicted in any way will find hope. Tomorrow’s feast of Christ, the king and center of our lives, invites us to bring that part of our hearts that is afflicted or in need to the heart of Jesus. So what would happen if I invite Jesus into that part of myself where I experience doubt and shame and fear? What difference would there be if I let Jesus transform my anxieties and fears precisely through his life-giving mercy and holy compassion? And could it be that my own heart and soul become healed when I extend the compassion of Jesus, the mercy and hope of Jesus to those I live with and work with, to those I meet at work and on the street, or wherever my daily routine takes me? Come, Lord Jesus, let me be your hands and heart; help me share your mercy and compassion!

—The Jesuit prayer team

Prayer

Christ has no body now but yours; no hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which He looks with compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good;
Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

—St. Teresa of Avila


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.


Get our FREE App

Submit a Prayer Request

Archives

SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  12345
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
       
   1234
262728    
       
       
       
    123
45678910
       
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   
       
      1
       
     12
       
     12
3456789
10111213141516
       

November 30, 2015

St. Andrew, apostle

Mt 4: 18-22

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

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation

Following Jesus Christ

In today’s Gospel Jesus calls two sets of brothers to abandon fishing careers and families to catch bigger fish: Andrew (whose feast is today) and his brother Simon Peter, along with James and John. All four leave abruptly: Andrew and Simon “at once,” Zebedee’s sons “immediately.” What inspires these men to pursue radically—even rashly—this stranger? Perhaps they intuited that Jesus was God, not just another guru. Maybe through his gaze they felt known, accepted and loved like never before. Possibly a promise of meaning and joy encountered something restless and empty within their souls.

The voice of Christ effected a similar radical reorientation in St. Ignatius’ life, unmasking his vanity and setting him on an entirely new path of life.

Why do I follow Jesus Christ? What aspects of his person and teachings attract me? Is there one person Jesus wants to “net” through my discipleship—by prayer and sacrifice on his behalf, by inviting her back to Mass, by an act of forgiveness or mercy during the Year of Mercy?

Fr. Rob Kroll, S.J. is Superior of the Jesuit Community at Creighton Prep, Omaha, NE.

Prayer

St. Andrew, brother of Simon Peter, you heard John the Baptist say:
“Behold the Lamb of God,” and you chose to follow Jesus.
Leaving your nets, you became a successful fisher of souls.
Lover of the Crucified Christ, you too were crucified like him.
Teach us to live and suffer for Him and to win many souls for Christ. Amen.

—a traditional prayer to St. Andrew


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 29, 2015

Lk 21: 25-28. 34- 36

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

“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

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-translation

Paying Attention

One of the skills that new teachers have to learn is how to redirect a misbehaving student to the appropriate behavior by stating what the student should be doing. Often, novice teachers think it is enough to tell the drowsing student, “Please lift your head off your desk,” without realizing the importance of continuing with “and sit up, with your eyes facing the smart board.” This season of Advent that we are embarking on today is one devoted to redirecting us from drowsiness to standing erect and raising our heads; that is, to paying attention. During these weeks we’re invited to be more attentive to how God’s grace is active and alive in the world and in our lives, to take notice of even the most mundane signs that tell us our redemption is at hand.

—Fr. Martin Connell, S.J. is Professor of Education at John Carroll University, University Heights, OH,  and Rector of the John Carroll University Jesuit community.

Prayer

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

The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 28, 2015

Daniel 3: 82-87

You sons and daughters, bless the Lord: praise and exalt God above all forever.
O Israel, bless the Lord: praise and exalt God above all forever.
Priests of the Lord, bless the Lord. You servants of the Lord, bless the Lord:  
praise and exalt God above all forever.
You spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord.  You holy and humble of heart, bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt God above all forever.

A. Gregory Murray, OSB  (c) the Grail, 1963

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-translation

Gratitude and Hope

This Thanksgiving weekend marks the end of the current Church year. Advent begins tomorrow and we begin a new journey of faith. Thus today is a “hinge day” a time for gratitude to God for the grace and blessings of the past year, as well as the opportunity to walk forward with the Lord into Advent, as once again we prepare our hearts and homes for the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

Ignatius Loyola regularly invites us to take note of the movements of God’s grace in our daily livings. Today, as this year of grace comes to an end, what is happening within my heart? What adventures and opportunities of this past year am I really grateful for? What individuals and situations have strengthened me, challenged me, stretched me? What person and situation has had a particular impact this past year? Can I trace God’s presence throughout these past months of grace and opportunity…even if some days or weeks were particularly tough and challenging?

Take some moments today to express your thanks, to compliment a friend, to ask forgiveness, to share your talent and time with someone in need. Andcome midnightHappy New Year! Maranatha!

—The Jesuit prayer team

Prayer

For all that has been, thanks!
For all that will be, yes!


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 27, 2015

Lk 21: 29-33

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

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation

Living in the Now

While the Catechism refers to seven sacraments, could it be that the number of sacraments is actually eight? Why only seven?  Is there not an eighth sacrament called the “Sacrament of the Present Moment”? In other words, if we are to know that the Kingdom of God is truly near, would not this eighth sacrament transform what we too often label as the “mundane”?  Would living in the Present Moment not be a way to “know that the Kingdom of God is near” not at some undesignated time in the futurebut here and now?

I’ve sometimes wondered what is meant when we speak about God’s “graces.” What is really meant when we talk about receiving grace? I’m not sure that I have come to a satisfying definition quite yet, but maybe grace is that conscious realization of God’s presence NOW.  Maybe when we talk about God’s reign this should not be understood to mean “Thy kingdom come” at some unknown time in the future, but NOW in the Sacrament of the Present Moment. God is on the phone NOW. Am I going to take his call?

—Jack Goldberg is a retired trial attorney. He and his wife Barbara live in Cincinnati, OH. Jack is the moderator of the Moot Court competition team at St. Xavier High School, Cincinnati, and an alumnus of St. X.

Prayer

O Lord of Lords, and ruler of the House of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush, come NOW to each of us with your outstretched arm, and ransom us. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus, come now!


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Day in the United States

Lk 17: 11-19

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan.

Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

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-translation

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Greek word that is the source for our word “Eucharist” means “Thanksgiving.”  And since our Eucharistic Liturgy and our Thanksgiving celebrations as Americans both involve a very special community (or family) meal, it shouldn’t be a surprise if our thoughts today will have liturgy and our holiday celebration move in parallel.

“Blessing God” and finding joy and peace in God’s goodness to his people is the theme of the first reading from Sirach, and Paul’s “giving thanks” to God for people who live good lives while awaiting the revelation of the Lord is the theme of the second reading. As families gather on this special day, many share in one way or another with the poor, either collecting food or inviting them to share in our family table. Such sharing is a witness to our dependence upon God and upon each other.

In the gospel, we see the reaction of Jesus when one former leper, a Samaritan, is the only one of ten lepers to return and give thanks after Jesus cleanses them from their affliction. This might lead us to ask whether we really do thank God for his love, his protection, his mercy, his forgiveness each time we gather for Mass. Does our thanksgiving then overflow into goodness and mercy toward others? God bless you and your family on this special day!

—Fr. Michael A. Vincent, S.J. serves as associate pastor of the Church of the Gesu, University Heights, OH.

Prayer

Bless us and our families this Thanksgiving day, O Lord. Thank you for all the gifts you lavish upon us throughout the year. May those who hunger have bread. And may we who have bread so bountifully today hunger always for your justice and peace. Amen!

—The Jesuit prayer team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 25, 2015

St. Catherine of Alexandria

Lk 21: 12-19

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

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation

Trust and Joy

When I was younger I loved to read. I would read almost anything I could get my hands on. Getting into a good book would take up hours of my time, time my other friends wanted to spend in different ways. Sitting with a book, for them, was painfully dull. I continued reading books, regardless of how lame my friends said it was. Reading brought me great joy and a sense of peace.

It can be difficult to keep doing something, even something you love, when those close to you disagree and put you down for enjoying it. But if you know something is good and if it brings you true joy it is worth suffering for, even when the suffering is brought on from those closest to you. Trust that Christ will give you the strength to persevere through the suffering needed to gain the greatest joy and peace of all, eternal life with Him.

Matt Davis is a senior psychology major (with a minor in gender and health studies) at the University of Michigan. He is an active student leader at St. Mary’s Student Parish in Ann Arbor.

Prayer

Lord, grant that I may see you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
follow you more nearly.

—St. Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises #104


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 24, 2015

St. Andrew Dung-Lac and companions

Lk 21: 5-11

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

Do not go after them. “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation

Building Up

It is so much easier to destroy than to create. The recent terrorist attacks around the world testify to this. As we lament the horror of destruction, we would do well to remember our call to be co-creators of the world with God. As we reflect on the apocalyptic literature in Scripture, which reminds us of how unreliable our human-made structures can be, let us pray for the courage and perseverance to build up in the face of so much tearing-down.

What part of me can I hold out to God for more upbuilding? What part of the world around me can I build up?

—Michael Lamanna, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic of the USA Northeast Jesuit province. He is currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts;
It is beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is the Lord’s work. . .
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the Master Builder
and the worker.
We are workers, but not master builders. . .
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future that is not our own.

—Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 23, 2015

Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J. / St.  Clement  / St. Columban

Lk 21: 1-4

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

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation

Relationships and Time

This passage from Luke’s Gospel reminds me of a favorite hymn“Where Your Treasure Is, There Your Heart Shall Be.”  This is the time we are asked to discern what portion of our treasure we are able and willing to give to our parish church. We hear about the widow who had no surplus but offered her total treasure.

The widow inspires me to also name treasures of a different kind: relationshipswith family, friends, and God; the gift of timehealthy relationships require time; moments of heartfelt peace. These are my treasures.

How easy it is to get caught up in the lure of holiday consumerism with the flurry of advertisements for Black Friday sales! During this week of Thanksgiving, let’s focus on our treasures and give attention to how we spend our time. Notice how stress builds when we succumb to those influences that detract from what we treasure. Do relationships suffer? Is our attention to prayer diminished? Whatever treasures you hold deep within your heartlet them be your guide.

Pat Schloemer is a member of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, Cincinnati, Ohio, and in her fourth year of service with the Ignatian Lay Volunteer Corps. Pat and Sam Schloemer have been married 54 years, have 4 married children, and 11 grandchildren.

Prayer

Where your treasure is, there your heart shall be.
All that you possess will never set you free.
Seek the things that last; come and learn from me.
Where your treasure is, your heart shall be.

What do you gain from all your worry,
What you should eat or what to wear?
There is no peace in stress and hurry,
Do you not know that you are held within God’s care?

Marty Haugen, “Where Your Treasure Is,” © 2000, GIA Publications, Inc.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 22, 2015

Solemnity of Christ the King

Jn 18: 33b-37

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

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-translation

A King of Redeeming Love

Each of the four Gospels mentions that, when Jesus was crucified, an inscription placed above his head on the cross read: “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.” When was the last time I thought of Jesus as King? From the days of its founding, the United States has always rejected any effort to impose a king’s rule over it. Jesus, too, rejected kingship in any worldly or political sense and all our suppositions about kingliness are turned upside-down in the Gospels.

Ever since Adam and Eve people have longed for a ruler who would usher the whole human family into a kingdom of justice and peace. What Christians have recognized in Jesus over the centuries is this: here is a King of redeeming love, the humble servant of all. Remember the old Quaker hymn: “When Love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?”

—Fr. Paul Harman, S.J. is a Jesuit of the USA Northeast Province. He has worked in Jesuit formation and over many years has been a valued administrator at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA.

Prayer

My life goes on in endless song above earth’s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear it’s music ringing:
It sounds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars, I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness ’round me close, songs in the night it giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock I’m clinging.
When love is lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?

Robert W. Lowery


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

November 21, 2015

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Psalm 9: 2-3, 4, 6, 16, 19

I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

When my enemies turned back, they stumbled and perished before you.

For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne giving righteous judgment.

The enemies have vanished in everlasting ruins; their cities you have rooted out; the very memory of them has perished.

The Lord has made himself known, he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands.

Rise up, O Lord! Do not let mortals prevail; let the nations be judged before you.

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-translation

Mercy and Compassion

Pope Francis continues to draw the world’s attention to those who are poor and in need. He invites us to reach out to others with mercy and compassion. Each of us has a story: each of us has moments of brilliance and success, as well as times we are definitely poor and in need. It is precisely in such moments when we genuinely need the “mercy and compassion” about which Pope Francis speaks.

Today’s psalm reminds us that the needy will not be forgotten; those afflicted in any way will find hope. Tomorrow’s feast of Christ, the king and center of our lives, invites us to bring that part of our hearts that is afflicted or in need to the heart of Jesus. So what would happen if I invite Jesus into that part of myself where I experience doubt and shame and fear? What difference would there be if I let Jesus transform my anxieties and fears precisely through his life-giving mercy and holy compassion? And could it be that my own heart and soul become healed when I extend the compassion of Jesus, the mercy and hope of Jesus to those I live with and work with, to those I meet at work and on the street, or wherever my daily routine takes me? Come, Lord Jesus, let me be your hands and heart; help me share your mercy and compassion!

—The Jesuit prayer team

Prayer

Christ has no body now but yours; no hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which He looks with compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good;
Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

—St. Teresa of Avila


Please share the Good Word with your friends!