The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
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.
“He saw a vast crowd, and his heart was moved with pity for them,” is the translation of the last verse as we hear it at Mass in today’s Gospel. Christian wisdom is to see the world around us with the eyes of Christ. St. Ignatius’s work, Spiritual Exercises, is a very good way of allowing Christ to work this miracle in us. Through these exercises, Christ changes the patterns of significance and value that shape our perceptions.
The culture around us, in countless, relentless ways drums into us its own ‘patterns of significance and value.’ We hear messages that“This is fantastic! You gotta have this!” But how is it that just this one image of Christ ‘moved with pity for them’ can move us more deeply? There’s the miracle. And the Spiritual Exercises focus on that miracle: the little calls and inspirations that are often on the periphery of our consciousness and often lost, these are brought into the foreground and treasured. Your heart is changed and you see with the eyes of Christ!
—Fr. Mark Henninger, SJ, is a spiritual care chaplain at Loyola University Medical Centerin Maywood, IL.
Lord, we pray for the grace to feel your presence through our thoughts, circumstances, and moments of love that weave in and out of our day. We know that more times than not, the “feeling” is transitory. And that’s okay.
Our life meaning is not advanced by a feeling, but it is anchored in the guarantee of your personal care for every aspect of our lives. To this claim we cling. Though storms may pound the securities and loves of our lives, we will not be vanquished. We will triumph through a reciprocal faithfulness: you being there for us and we being there for you.
—The Jesuit Prayer team
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