The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.”So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Years ago, there was an elderly Jesuit brother in my community named John. He baked marvelous chocolate chip cookies. One day, I overheard the superior asking him to make some cookies for the Jesuits. John responded with irritation, “Why should I bother? They’ll only get eaten right away!”
God sent Jonah to convert the Ninevites lest God destroy their city. They responded better than any prophet could have hoped. But instead of being happy about it, Jonah grows angry. The reason is unclear. Perhaps God’s mercy violated Jonah’s own sense of justice. Or perhaps Jonah felt that the lack of fire and brimstone called his credibility into question. Either way, Jonah’s preoccupation with himself caused him to forget the very reason for his mission.
St. Ignatius Loyola liked to remind Christians that they should strive, to the extent that they can, to do something solely from the motive of serving God’s greater glory. He called this “pure intention.”
Everyone ought to reflect that, in all spiritual matters, the more one divests oneself of self-love, self-will, and self-interests, the more progress one will make.
—St. Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, no. 189.Please share the Good Word with your friends!