June 16, 2019

Most Holy Trinity

Jn 16: 12-15

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to 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.

The Image of the Trinity

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The Trinity is not a distant or abstract concept, but rather it is something that is very near and dear to us. It is the most complete and dynamic image of love. When we speak about the Trinity, we speak about a united and loving community. We speak about an image of God who completely opens himself up to each one of us in unity and compassion. We are all created in God’s image. Therefore, each one of us is called to live in the image of the Trinity. This means that we must compassionately open and share our lives with our family and friends, with our community, and with those who are being marginalized from our society. In doing so, the mystery of the Trinity will be a living reality.

—Fr. Francis Nguyen, SJ, is a member of the Jesuits West Province who was ordained a priest on June 8, 2019 in Portland, OR at Our Lady of La Vang Church.  His first assignment as a priest will be at Most Holy Trinity Church in San Jose, CA.

Prayer

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

—Traditional prayer

 

 


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June 15, 2019

2 Cor 5: 14-21

For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of 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.

Entering into a new creation

How do we enter this “new creation” mentioned in today’s reading?  St. Ignatius of Loyola placed the prayer the Anima Christi at the beginning of his Spiritual Exercises.  It is a prayer I use daily; it gives a strength that I can’t find elsewhere.  Many of those who I have directed spiritually also love this prayer. Anima Christi is from the Latin meaning “Soul of Christ”.  The Latin word anima means “to breathe into”.  Christ’s soul is breathed into us, but we must accept this reality in order for it to flow.

The first line of this prayer is usually translated: “Soul of Christ, sanctify me.” Many days, this line is all I need for prayer and reflection.  Cardinal John Henry Newman translates it “Soul of my Savior, save me.” Fr. David Fleming, SJ, interprets it “Jesus may all that is you flow into me.”  Our soul is the immaterial part of our person; the soul is who we are at our best – it is immortal. As Paul said, “if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.” We know Christ today, but in a different way.  We can be one with Christ; our soul is given insight and direction through the soul of Christ. We go beyond anything that we alone could do.

—Greg Richard has served at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, OH for thirty-three years.  He has been the director of Campus Ministry, Theology teacher, Theology department chair, coach, and Adult Chaplain.  He is now the Vice President for Ignatian Identity.

Prayer

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds hide me.
Permit me not to be separated from you.
From the wicked foe, defend me.
At the hour of my death, call me
and bid me come to you
That with your saints I may praise you
For ever and ever. Amen.

—Anima Christi prayer


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June 14, 2019

2 Cor 4: 7-15

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh.

So death is at work in us, but life in you. But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke” —we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence.

Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of 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.

May grace increase our thanks

As we read in today’s first reading, even as “death is at work,” we are renewed by the life that also works in us. How? May the grace of this puzzle increase our thanksgiving and our motivation to simplicity: “I believed, and so I spoke,” of and for the greater glory of God.

—Claire Peterson works in the advancement and communications office of the USA Central and Southern Province and is the local organizer for Jesuit Connections – St. Louis.

Prayer

Mother Wisdom Speaks

Some of you I will hollow out.
I will make you a cave.
I will carve you so deep the stars will shine in your darkness.
You will be a bowl.
You will be the cup in the rock collecting rain.
I will hollow you with knives.
I will not do this to make you clean.
I will not do this to make you pure
You are clean already.
You are pure already.

I will do this because the world needs the hollowness of you.
I will do this for the space that you will be.
I will do this because you must be large.
A passage.
People will find their way through you.
A bowl.
People will eat from you.
And their hunger will not weaken them to death.
A cup to catch the sacred rain.
My daughter, do not cry.
Do not be afraid.
Nothing you need will be lost.
I am shaping you.
I am making you ready.
Light will flow in your hollowing.
You will be filled with light.
Your bones will shine.
The round open center of you will be radiant.
I will call you brilliant one.
I will call you daughter who is wide.
I will call you transformed.

—Christin Lore Weber, originally published in Circle of Mysteries


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June 13, 2019

St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church

Mt 5: 20-26

For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.

So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

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.

Fear Leads to Anger

Today’s Gospel presents the question: How can we be in right relationship with God, if we are not in right relationship with others? For starters, Jesus says that we will be held accountable for both our actions (e.g. murder) and our motives (e.g. anger). For most people, avoiding murder is easy. But avoiding anger? Not so much. On the surface, I am quick to blame my anger on people or events beyond my control – someone or something made me angry. But, just beyond the surface, what I’m really feeling is fear – I fear losing control, rejection, failure, uncertainty, loneliness. It’s just like Jedi master Yoda said, “fear leads to anger… anger leads to hate… hate leads to suffering.”

The way we counter fear, as we know from John, is with love, as “perfect love casts out fear.”  Jesus teaches us about anger so we better understand and appreciate the centrality of love and forgiveness in our relationships with God and others. We are called to cast off fear, let go of our anger, and love and forgive others, just as God loves and forgives us.

Jackie Schulte is the Dean of Faculty Formation and a history teacher at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

Lord Christ, help us to see what it is
that joins us together, not what separates us.
for when we see only what it is that makes us different,
we too often become aware of what is wrong with others.
We see only their faults and weaknesses,
interpreting their actions as flowing from
malice or hatred rather than fear.
Even when confronted with evil, Lord,
you forgave and sacrificed yourself
rather than sought revenge.
Teach us to do the same by the power of your Spirit.

—William Breault, SJ

 


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June 12, 2019

Mt 5: 17-19

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.

Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of 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.

The Kingdom comes through Jesus

We pursue the Kingdom of God following God’s commandments and teachings. However, in spite of our best intentions, we often fall short and at times can be very hypocritical self-righteous human beings. There are those who will dwell on these human hypocrisies insisting that we should abolish our laws and civic institutions entirely, saying that it is all absurd and we cannot trust any of it. Instead of abolishing the law, Jesus tells us that through him, it can be fulfilled and we can be redeemed. For only Jesus knows our hearts and inner desires. So instead of focusing on ourselves and our weaknesses, let us depend on our God to restore our faith and renew our spirit. For with Christ’s love, The Kingdom of God can be realized through us if we choose to rely on him.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, CO.

Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth.

—Traditional prayer


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June 11, 2019

St. Barnabas

Acts 11:21b-26; 12:1-3

The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord. News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.

And a great many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they met with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.”

About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword. After he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (This was during the festival of Unleavened Bread.)

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.

Calling Upon the Spirit

In third grade, I didn’t understand why the Church celebrated the feast of St. Barnabas. “Wasn’t he the guy who was supposed to be killed instead of Jesus?” I asked my friend David. “Why did we make him a Saint?

Thankfully David, more advanced in spelling, was able to clarify the source of my confusion: that was Barrabas, not Barnabas.

Our first reading makes clear why it is worth remembering the life of Barnabas, “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith.” Barnabas came to be filled with the Spirit because he was first and foremost a man of prayer.

Can we say the same about ourselves? When we are faced with an important decision or meaningful conversation, do we call upon the Spirit to guide us or give us the words to say? Or do we prefer to rely solely on our own wisdom, experience, and strength?

We celebrate Barnabas not because of his extraordinary talent, intelligence, or success but because he was open to being moved by the Spirit. At the end of our lives, may people say the same about us.

—Dan Dixon, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the Midwest Province currently working at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland to create the Welsh Academy, a grades 6-8 middle school for families of modest economic means.

Prayer

When I am at a crossroads and require direction, Come, Holy Spirit.
When I am trying to find the right words to say, Come, Holy Spirit.
When a loved one is pushing my buttons, Come, Holy Spirit.
When I am stressed, tired, hungry, or sad, Come, Holy Spirit
When my heart is full of joy and gratitude, Come, Holy Spirit.
In all things, Lord, remind me to pause and to say, Come Holy Spirit.

—Dan Dixon, SJ


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June 10, 2019

Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

Jn 19:25-34

And that is what the soldiers did. Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”

And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him.

But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out.

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.

Standing with the suffering

It’s dreadful to imagine Mary witnessing her son, beaten, bloodied, and nearly abandoned by his friends, die slowly at the hands of corrupt authority.  Yet despite the darkness, the image of Mary heartbroken and standing with her dying child vividly illustrates the grace to lovingly accompany the suffering despite our own brokenness.  Retreatants making the Spiritual Exercises pray for this grace as they follow their beloved friend Jesus through his gruesome Passion.  It’s also the grace we see in the mother sitting beside a hospital bed, holding her daughter’s bruised and pierced hand as she recovers from a risky surgery.

Mary, the stabat mater, or ‘mother who was standing,” demonstrates the love and compassion that remains when our only recourse is to simply be present with the one who suffers.

Nick Rennpage is a Theology teacher and the director of Adult Formation and Mission Integration at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy  

Prayer

Let me spend my life near thee, O Mother,
to keep thee company in thy solitude and deepest grief;
let me feel in my soul the sadness of thine eyes
and the abandonment of thy heart.

On life’s highway I do not seek the gladness of Bethlehem;
I do not wish to adore the Infant God in thy virginal hands,
nor to enjoy the winsome presence of Jesus
in thy humble home of Nazareth,
nor to mingle with the angelic choirs in thy glorious Assumption.

My wish in life is for the jeers and derision of Calvary;
for the slow agony of thy Son,
for the contempt, the disgrace and infamy of the Cross.
My wish, O most sorrowful Virgin, is to stand near thee,
to strengthen my soul through thy tears,
to complete my offering through thy martyrdom,
to temper my heart through thy solitude,
and to love my God and thy God through my self-sacrifice.

—Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro, SJ, published in Hearts on Fire: Praying Jesuits


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June 9, 2019

Pentecost

Jn 20: 19-23

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

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.

We have never been left alone

It seems today that we have many reasons to be fearful and anxious: signs of instability and unrest throughout the world; acts of violence stemming from intolerance and hatred; the increased degradation of the environment.

The natural response to fear is to withdraw to safety, much like the disciples do when they lock themselves within the upper room in today’s Gospel reading. Sometimes when we feel helpless and without control, we think that the only possible solution is self-preservation, and the end result is isolation and even greater fear.

Yet nothing can keep out divine love. The risen Jesus appears in the midst of the frightened disciples, and in place of fear he offers them his Spirit, and from that Spirit comes peace and joy.

This is what we celebrate today on Pentecost—that from the beginning Christ has never left the disciples alone in darkness and despair, and that up until the present day it is his Spirit that strengthens, sustains, and guides us as his Church. Whatever challenges we must confront, he is always in our midst. We may still have reasons to be fearful, but we know that we are not alone.

It is the gift of God’s Spirit that sends us out from our locked rooms to be the resurrected Body of Christ in the world, offering God’s peace to those in desperate need of it.

—Fr. Andrew Laguna, SJ, is a member of the Jesuits West Province who was ordained on June 8, 2019. His first assignment as a priest will be at Most Holy Trinity parish in San Jose, CA

Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit! Fill our hearts and cast out all fear with the confidence that we are infinitely loved by the God who is always in our midst, even in our darkest moments. Give us the courage to love and to forgive, and in so doing may we help to heal the world of the loneliness, hatred, and division that keep us isolated from one another.

—Fr. Andrew Laguna, SJ


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June 8, 2019

St. Jacques Berthieu, SJ

Acts 28: 16-20, 30-31

When we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

Three days later he called together the local leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, yet I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans.

When they had examined me, the Romans wanted to release me, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to the emperor—even though I had no charge to bring against my nation. For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is for the sake of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

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.

Love of God even in suffering

It is obvious there is great suffering in this world.  Children at our border are separated from their parents, no plan to bring them together, some have died.  Recently, I read of a man who lost his job after 25 years at a General Motors car plant in Lordstown, Ohio. For three generations this plant had been his families “ticket to the middle class.”  He lost the “only real job he had ever had.” Many other examples of the world’s suffering could be stated.

In today’s first reading, Paul is in Rome, humbled under house arrest and in chains; he knows his execution is near. Yet, he is allowed to receive visitors and he uses these visits to spread the Good News of Jesus. This love we have celebrated in this Easter season started with Jesus’s passion and his brutal death on the cross.  Paul is following in Jesus’s footsteps.

In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius states, “This is necessary for Divine protection…that as far as possible… I humble myself to obey the law of the Lord in all things, so that not even were I made Lord of all creation, or to save my life, here on earth, would I consent to violate a command of the Lord.” (para. 165)

Whatever sufferings the world puts before us, when we humble ourselves to the Lord, divine protection is certain.  Even though Paul is under arrest and in chains, he celebrates the love of the Lord. This is an example for us.

—Greg Richard has served at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, OH for thirty-three years.  He has been the director of Campus Ministry, Theology teacher, Theology department chair, coach, and Adult Chaplain.  He is now the Vice President for Ignatian Identity.

Prayer

Almighty Father, let the love we have celebrated in this Easter season be put into practice in our daily lives.

From the Opening Prayer at today’s Mass


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June 7, 2019

Jn 21: 15-19

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow 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.

You Know Everything

In this passage, Jesus and Peter sound like ships in the night. Jesus repeats his questions incessantly, and Peter, responding in kind, is puzzled and hurt. Why must Jesus ask so many times? Is it to be reassured himself of Peter’s love?

Sometimes it takes repetition to shake me out of a mental fog. I need to hear the same question several times before I actually listen to it. In the process, it’s easy to place the blame for my closed ears on the person asking the question.

—Claire Peterson works in the advancement and communications office of the USA Central and Southern Province and is the local organizer for Jesuit Connections – St. Louis.

Prayer

A Thousand Times

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a thousand times

Come, yet again, come, come.

—Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī


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June 16, 2019

Most Holy Trinity

Jn 16: 12-15

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to 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.

The Image of the Trinity

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The Trinity is not a distant or abstract concept, but rather it is something that is very near and dear to us. It is the most complete and dynamic image of love. When we speak about the Trinity, we speak about a united and loving community. We speak about an image of God who completely opens himself up to each one of us in unity and compassion. We are all created in God’s image. Therefore, each one of us is called to live in the image of the Trinity. This means that we must compassionately open and share our lives with our family and friends, with our community, and with those who are being marginalized from our society. In doing so, the mystery of the Trinity will be a living reality.

—Fr. Francis Nguyen, SJ, is a member of the Jesuits West Province who was ordained a priest on June 8, 2019 in Portland, OR at Our Lady of La Vang Church.  His first assignment as a priest will be at Most Holy Trinity Church in San Jose, CA.

Prayer

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

—Traditional prayer

 

 


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June 15, 2019

2 Cor 5: 14-21

For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of 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.

Entering into a new creation

How do we enter this “new creation” mentioned in today’s reading?  St. Ignatius of Loyola placed the prayer the Anima Christi at the beginning of his Spiritual Exercises.  It is a prayer I use daily; it gives a strength that I can’t find elsewhere.  Many of those who I have directed spiritually also love this prayer. Anima Christi is from the Latin meaning “Soul of Christ”.  The Latin word anima means “to breathe into”.  Christ’s soul is breathed into us, but we must accept this reality in order for it to flow.

The first line of this prayer is usually translated: “Soul of Christ, sanctify me.” Many days, this line is all I need for prayer and reflection.  Cardinal John Henry Newman translates it “Soul of my Savior, save me.” Fr. David Fleming, SJ, interprets it “Jesus may all that is you flow into me.”  Our soul is the immaterial part of our person; the soul is who we are at our best – it is immortal. As Paul said, “if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.” We know Christ today, but in a different way.  We can be one with Christ; our soul is given insight and direction through the soul of Christ. We go beyond anything that we alone could do.

—Greg Richard has served at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, OH for thirty-three years.  He has been the director of Campus Ministry, Theology teacher, Theology department chair, coach, and Adult Chaplain.  He is now the Vice President for Ignatian Identity.

Prayer

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds hide me.
Permit me not to be separated from you.
From the wicked foe, defend me.
At the hour of my death, call me
and bid me come to you
That with your saints I may praise you
For ever and ever. Amen.

—Anima Christi prayer


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June 14, 2019

2 Cor 4: 7-15

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh.

So death is at work in us, but life in you. But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke” —we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence.

Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of 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.

May grace increase our thanks

As we read in today’s first reading, even as “death is at work,” we are renewed by the life that also works in us. How? May the grace of this puzzle increase our thanksgiving and our motivation to simplicity: “I believed, and so I spoke,” of and for the greater glory of God.

—Claire Peterson works in the advancement and communications office of the USA Central and Southern Province and is the local organizer for Jesuit Connections – St. Louis.

Prayer

Mother Wisdom Speaks

Some of you I will hollow out.
I will make you a cave.
I will carve you so deep the stars will shine in your darkness.
You will be a bowl.
You will be the cup in the rock collecting rain.
I will hollow you with knives.
I will not do this to make you clean.
I will not do this to make you pure
You are clean already.
You are pure already.

I will do this because the world needs the hollowness of you.
I will do this for the space that you will be.
I will do this because you must be large.
A passage.
People will find their way through you.
A bowl.
People will eat from you.
And their hunger will not weaken them to death.
A cup to catch the sacred rain.
My daughter, do not cry.
Do not be afraid.
Nothing you need will be lost.
I am shaping you.
I am making you ready.
Light will flow in your hollowing.
You will be filled with light.
Your bones will shine.
The round open center of you will be radiant.
I will call you brilliant one.
I will call you daughter who is wide.
I will call you transformed.

—Christin Lore Weber, originally published in Circle of Mysteries


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June 13, 2019

St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church

Mt 5: 20-26

For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.

So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

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.

Fear Leads to Anger

Today’s Gospel presents the question: How can we be in right relationship with God, if we are not in right relationship with others? For starters, Jesus says that we will be held accountable for both our actions (e.g. murder) and our motives (e.g. anger). For most people, avoiding murder is easy. But avoiding anger? Not so much. On the surface, I am quick to blame my anger on people or events beyond my control – someone or something made me angry. But, just beyond the surface, what I’m really feeling is fear – I fear losing control, rejection, failure, uncertainty, loneliness. It’s just like Jedi master Yoda said, “fear leads to anger… anger leads to hate… hate leads to suffering.”

The way we counter fear, as we know from John, is with love, as “perfect love casts out fear.”  Jesus teaches us about anger so we better understand and appreciate the centrality of love and forgiveness in our relationships with God and others. We are called to cast off fear, let go of our anger, and love and forgive others, just as God loves and forgives us.

Jackie Schulte is the Dean of Faculty Formation and a history teacher at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

Lord Christ, help us to see what it is
that joins us together, not what separates us.
for when we see only what it is that makes us different,
we too often become aware of what is wrong with others.
We see only their faults and weaknesses,
interpreting their actions as flowing from
malice or hatred rather than fear.
Even when confronted with evil, Lord,
you forgave and sacrificed yourself
rather than sought revenge.
Teach us to do the same by the power of your Spirit.

—William Breault, SJ

 


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June 12, 2019

Mt 5: 17-19

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.

Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of 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.

The Kingdom comes through Jesus

We pursue the Kingdom of God following God’s commandments and teachings. However, in spite of our best intentions, we often fall short and at times can be very hypocritical self-righteous human beings. There are those who will dwell on these human hypocrisies insisting that we should abolish our laws and civic institutions entirely, saying that it is all absurd and we cannot trust any of it. Instead of abolishing the law, Jesus tells us that through him, it can be fulfilled and we can be redeemed. For only Jesus knows our hearts and inner desires. So instead of focusing on ourselves and our weaknesses, let us depend on our God to restore our faith and renew our spirit. For with Christ’s love, The Kingdom of God can be realized through us if we choose to rely on him.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, CO.

Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth.

—Traditional prayer


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June 11, 2019

St. Barnabas

Acts 11:21b-26; 12:1-3

The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord. News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.

And a great many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they met with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.”

About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword. After he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (This was during the festival of Unleavened Bread.)

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.

Calling Upon the Spirit

In third grade, I didn’t understand why the Church celebrated the feast of St. Barnabas. “Wasn’t he the guy who was supposed to be killed instead of Jesus?” I asked my friend David. “Why did we make him a Saint?

Thankfully David, more advanced in spelling, was able to clarify the source of my confusion: that was Barrabas, not Barnabas.

Our first reading makes clear why it is worth remembering the life of Barnabas, “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith.” Barnabas came to be filled with the Spirit because he was first and foremost a man of prayer.

Can we say the same about ourselves? When we are faced with an important decision or meaningful conversation, do we call upon the Spirit to guide us or give us the words to say? Or do we prefer to rely solely on our own wisdom, experience, and strength?

We celebrate Barnabas not because of his extraordinary talent, intelligence, or success but because he was open to being moved by the Spirit. At the end of our lives, may people say the same about us.

—Dan Dixon, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the Midwest Province currently working at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland to create the Welsh Academy, a grades 6-8 middle school for families of modest economic means.

Prayer

When I am at a crossroads and require direction, Come, Holy Spirit.
When I am trying to find the right words to say, Come, Holy Spirit.
When a loved one is pushing my buttons, Come, Holy Spirit.
When I am stressed, tired, hungry, or sad, Come, Holy Spirit
When my heart is full of joy and gratitude, Come, Holy Spirit.
In all things, Lord, remind me to pause and to say, Come Holy Spirit.

—Dan Dixon, SJ


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June 10, 2019

Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

Jn 19:25-34

And that is what the soldiers did. Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”

And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him.

But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out.

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.

Standing with the suffering

It’s dreadful to imagine Mary witnessing her son, beaten, bloodied, and nearly abandoned by his friends, die slowly at the hands of corrupt authority.  Yet despite the darkness, the image of Mary heartbroken and standing with her dying child vividly illustrates the grace to lovingly accompany the suffering despite our own brokenness.  Retreatants making the Spiritual Exercises pray for this grace as they follow their beloved friend Jesus through his gruesome Passion.  It’s also the grace we see in the mother sitting beside a hospital bed, holding her daughter’s bruised and pierced hand as she recovers from a risky surgery.

Mary, the stabat mater, or ‘mother who was standing,” demonstrates the love and compassion that remains when our only recourse is to simply be present with the one who suffers.

Nick Rennpage is a Theology teacher and the director of Adult Formation and Mission Integration at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy  

Prayer

Let me spend my life near thee, O Mother,
to keep thee company in thy solitude and deepest grief;
let me feel in my soul the sadness of thine eyes
and the abandonment of thy heart.

On life’s highway I do not seek the gladness of Bethlehem;
I do not wish to adore the Infant God in thy virginal hands,
nor to enjoy the winsome presence of Jesus
in thy humble home of Nazareth,
nor to mingle with the angelic choirs in thy glorious Assumption.

My wish in life is for the jeers and derision of Calvary;
for the slow agony of thy Son,
for the contempt, the disgrace and infamy of the Cross.
My wish, O most sorrowful Virgin, is to stand near thee,
to strengthen my soul through thy tears,
to complete my offering through thy martyrdom,
to temper my heart through thy solitude,
and to love my God and thy God through my self-sacrifice.

—Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro, SJ, published in Hearts on Fire: Praying Jesuits


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June 9, 2019

Pentecost

Jn 20: 19-23

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

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.

We have never been left alone

It seems today that we have many reasons to be fearful and anxious: signs of instability and unrest throughout the world; acts of violence stemming from intolerance and hatred; the increased degradation of the environment.

The natural response to fear is to withdraw to safety, much like the disciples do when they lock themselves within the upper room in today’s Gospel reading. Sometimes when we feel helpless and without control, we think that the only possible solution is self-preservation, and the end result is isolation and even greater fear.

Yet nothing can keep out divine love. The risen Jesus appears in the midst of the frightened disciples, and in place of fear he offers them his Spirit, and from that Spirit comes peace and joy.

This is what we celebrate today on Pentecost—that from the beginning Christ has never left the disciples alone in darkness and despair, and that up until the present day it is his Spirit that strengthens, sustains, and guides us as his Church. Whatever challenges we must confront, he is always in our midst. We may still have reasons to be fearful, but we know that we are not alone.

It is the gift of God’s Spirit that sends us out from our locked rooms to be the resurrected Body of Christ in the world, offering God’s peace to those in desperate need of it.

—Fr. Andrew Laguna, SJ, is a member of the Jesuits West Province who was ordained on June 8, 2019. His first assignment as a priest will be at Most Holy Trinity parish in San Jose, CA

Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit! Fill our hearts and cast out all fear with the confidence that we are infinitely loved by the God who is always in our midst, even in our darkest moments. Give us the courage to love and to forgive, and in so doing may we help to heal the world of the loneliness, hatred, and division that keep us isolated from one another.

—Fr. Andrew Laguna, SJ


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June 8, 2019

St. Jacques Berthieu, SJ

Acts 28: 16-20, 30-31

When we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

Three days later he called together the local leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, yet I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans.

When they had examined me, the Romans wanted to release me, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to the emperor—even though I had no charge to bring against my nation. For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is for the sake of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

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.

Love of God even in suffering

It is obvious there is great suffering in this world.  Children at our border are separated from their parents, no plan to bring them together, some have died.  Recently, I read of a man who lost his job after 25 years at a General Motors car plant in Lordstown, Ohio. For three generations this plant had been his families “ticket to the middle class.”  He lost the “only real job he had ever had.” Many other examples of the world’s suffering could be stated.

In today’s first reading, Paul is in Rome, humbled under house arrest and in chains; he knows his execution is near. Yet, he is allowed to receive visitors and he uses these visits to spread the Good News of Jesus. This love we have celebrated in this Easter season started with Jesus’s passion and his brutal death on the cross.  Paul is following in Jesus’s footsteps.

In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius states, “This is necessary for Divine protection…that as far as possible… I humble myself to obey the law of the Lord in all things, so that not even were I made Lord of all creation, or to save my life, here on earth, would I consent to violate a command of the Lord.” (para. 165)

Whatever sufferings the world puts before us, when we humble ourselves to the Lord, divine protection is certain.  Even though Paul is under arrest and in chains, he celebrates the love of the Lord. This is an example for us.

—Greg Richard has served at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, OH for thirty-three years.  He has been the director of Campus Ministry, Theology teacher, Theology department chair, coach, and Adult Chaplain.  He is now the Vice President for Ignatian Identity.

Prayer

Almighty Father, let the love we have celebrated in this Easter season be put into practice in our daily lives.

From the Opening Prayer at today’s Mass


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June 7, 2019

Jn 21: 15-19

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow 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.

You Know Everything

In this passage, Jesus and Peter sound like ships in the night. Jesus repeats his questions incessantly, and Peter, responding in kind, is puzzled and hurt. Why must Jesus ask so many times? Is it to be reassured himself of Peter’s love?

Sometimes it takes repetition to shake me out of a mental fog. I need to hear the same question several times before I actually listen to it. In the process, it’s easy to place the blame for my closed ears on the person asking the question.

—Claire Peterson works in the advancement and communications office of the USA Central and Southern Province and is the local organizer for Jesuit Connections – St. Louis.

Prayer

A Thousand Times

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a thousand times

Come, yet again, come, come.

—Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī


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