August 18, 2019

Lk 12: 49-53

“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

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.

Casting fire into our hearts

In The Divine Comedy, Satan is frozen solid at the bottommost pit of hell, which Dante envisions as the iciest place in the cosmos. And in The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis depicts the reign of the White Witch as one of endless winter. If in the popular imagination, hell is closely associated with fire and heat, these literary giants propose exactly the opposite view, for reasons that help make sense of Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel. “I came to cast fire on the earth!”

Heat is what gets things moving. It is the kinetic energy that enables molecules fixed solidly in place to become fluid again and thus able to take on new and different forms. In one sense, hell is the precise opposite: it is a refusal to budge, a remaining locked in place. There is a kind of “peace” in such a state, as anyone who has experienced the tranquility of a snow-covered landscape knows. But it is ultimately a lifeless one, as the austerity of the arctic tundra makes clear.

Jesus seeks to cast fire in our hearts to melt away our disordered attachments, the things we cling to that freeze us in place. What are those icy areas of my own life?

—Fr. Matthew Baugh, SJ, is a member of the USA Central and Southern Province and serves as the associate pastor of St. Francis Xavier (College) Church in St. Louis.

Prayer

I believe, O Lord; but strengthen my faith…
Heart of Jesus, I love Thee; but increase my love.
Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee; but give greater vigor to my confidence.
Heart of Jesus, I give my heart to Thee; but so enclose it in Thee that it may never be separated from Thee.
Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine; but take care of my promise so that I may be able to put it in practice even unto the complete sacrifice of my life.

—Blessed Miguel Pro, SJ


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 17, 2018

Mt 19: 13-15

Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.

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.

Living by a child’s framework

Children are such special gifts to each of us and to the world. The way they come to a space is so honest, innocent and caring. “Cura Personalis” (care for the whole person) is embedded into the core of their being. Accepting others without judgment is the framework they use in life. How beautiful our world would be if we lived by children’s framework.

Jesus tells us to come like children. If we did that, what a different world this would be. Then, the kingdom of heaven would belong to us. The question I pose today for you is: How do we transition to this? How do we prevent our children from assimilating to the adult way of living which is not always encompassing “Cura Personalis.”

Dr. Phyllis Graham-Dickerson is a professor and assistant dean at Regis University, Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions, Loretto Heights School of Nursing for seven years, with a tenure of 17 years on the nursing faculty.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, please grant us the wisdom and knowledge to move to the ways of a child. Amen.

—Dr. Phyllis Graham-Dickerson


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 16, 2019

Mt 19: 3-12

Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?” He said to them, “It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.” His disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”

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.

Choosing the good of the other

In her book The Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris quotes a monk who lived in a small monastery in Colorado: “Our biggest problem is that each man here had a mother who fried potatoes in a different way.” I have never been a monk, but I am married, and the quote rings true to me as a husband. As Jesus says in today’s Gospel, a married couple becomes one flesh, which happens in a myriad of ways. We bring all our experiences to a marriage and quickly realize the ways we grew up doing things like decorating the Christmas tree, watching TV every night or rarely watching it, or cooking potatoes can be sources of tension and conflict.

“One-flesh” marriage means choosing the good of the other over my own biases and my commitment to being right all the time. It means big and small sacrifices, over and over, every single day.

—Mike Jordan Laskey is the Senior Communications Director of the Jesuit Conference in Washington DC and an alum of Contemplative Leaders in Action in Philadelphia.

Prayer

Almighty and eternal God,
You blessed the union of married couples
so that they might reflect the union of Christ with his Church:
look with kindness on them.
Renew their marriage covenant,
increase your love in them,
and strengthen their bond of peace so that, with their children,
they may always rejoice in the gift of your blessing.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

—Prayer for Married Couples © United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 15, 2019

Assumption of Our Lady

Lk 1: 39-56

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 

And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” 

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

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.

Mary’s message of hope

Anyone who has been, or has accompanied, someone who hoped and prayed for a child, facing loss and discouragement, can imagine the joy that Mary and Elizabeth shared. After many years of hoping by Elizabeth, a baby was on the way! And Mary came with news about her own baby that must have filled them both with joy and wonder.

Few of Mary’s words are recorded in the Gospels, but what amazing words these are. God is making everything new! God is reaching out and favoring those at the bottom of society’s ladder. God has remembered all the things promised in the covenant with Abraham. The people’s hopes for generations are coming true! Let us celebrate today with Mary and her message of hope in God. 

Beth Franzosa teaches in the Religious Studies department at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School

Prayer

Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

—Traditional prayer


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 14, 2019

St. Maximillian Kolbe

Dt 34: 1-12

Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar. The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.”

Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigor had not abated. The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.

Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him; and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the Lordhad commanded Moses. Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. He was unequaled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

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.

Following Jesus, the new Moses

The death of Moses led to the choice of Joshua as his immediate successor.  In truth, Jesus is the new Moses. The signs and wonders performed by Moses are all fulfilled in the Word of God, the Christ.  It’s important to remember that the Church Jesus promised to build was not only the universal (“catholic”) sacrament of salvation for all peoples, but also the fulfillment of the Mosaic law. None of God’s commands were abandoned, but Jesus reaffirmed the Ten Commandments with the two great commands to love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

We too fulfill God’s call to spread the Good News. The same power that drew the people of Israel to follow Moses now draws us to follow Jesus.  Perhaps as we review these movements of salvation history, we too express our gratitude for the might and terrifying power of the Word of God given in Christ. 

—Kathy England is a Pastoral Associate at St. Francis Xavier Church in Cincinnati, OH.

Prayer

Stay with us, Lord Jesus.
Be our companion on our way.
In your mercy inflame our hearts and raise our hope,
so that, in union with our brothers and sisters,
we may recognize you in the scriptures,
and in our daily living. 

—Kathy England


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 13, 2019

Mt 18: 1-5, 10, 12-14

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them,and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. 

“Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 

And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

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.

Risk going after the lost

As a young Jesuit, I spent several months on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation. It was the heart of winter, and we would occasionally see cattle who had gotten lost and frozen to death. A parishioner who was a rancher explained that this was more or less normal. “You never like it,” he said, “but you try to take care of as many as you can. You can’t always stop the odd stray.” 

Jesus makes a different calculation. Unwilling to accept that even a single ‘little one’ be lost, he proposes the image of a shepherd willing to risk whatever might happen to the other ninety-nine in the hills in order to find the lost little one. 

Who are the little ones who I know are lost, the ones I’m tempted to shrug off as “just one of those things?” What am I willing to leave behind or risk to go find the lost one?

Fr. Matt Spotts, SJ, is a recently ordained priest of the Midwest Jesuits serving as an associate pastor at Ss. Joseph-St. Francis Xavier parish in Wilmette, IL as well as doing pastoral ministry at Loyola Academy in Wilmette.

Prayer

God, nothing is beneath your notice because you love all things into being. Help me to seek out the one who is lost, to rejoice in the finding of that one and, little by little, to become humble like a child. 

—Fr. Matt Spotts, SJ


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 12, 2019

Dt 10: 12-22

So now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord your God and his decrees that I am commanding you today, for your own well-being. 

Although heaven and the heaven of heavens belong to the Lord your God, the earth with all that is in it, yet the Lord set his heart in love on your ancestors alone and chose you, their descendants after them, out of all the peoples, as it is today. Circumcise, then, the foreskin of your heart, and do not be stubborn any longer. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. 

You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the Lord your God; him alone you shall worship; to him you shall hold fast, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise; he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things that your own eyes have seen. Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy persons; and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in 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.

Law given out of love

In the Ethics class I teach to juniors, I try to emphasize the idea that good rules and just laws are rooted in love, and not simply control or obedience.  I tell my young daughter not to run into the middle of the street, not because I wish to control her, but because I cherish her and this “command” keeps her alive so I can be with her. 

Today’s first reading reminds us it is the same with God’s commands.  God does not demand obedience for the sake of control, but desires relationship with us.  God desires us to be happy and healthy and loved. Following God’s law helps create the space for God to do amazing things.  God’s law is about our hearts. Remembering God’s generosity helps us to stay close, honor God’s commands and extend generosity to others.  

Megan Agliano teaches in religious studies at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, AZ.  

Prayer

God of love, help me follow your laws of love.  Help me to tame my selfishness and love you and others better through word and deed. Help me to offer to others the generosity and hospitality that you have shown to me in my life.   Amen


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 11, 2019

Heb 11: 1-2, 8-12

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. 

By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 

By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”

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.

Faith outside of ourselves

Abraham and Sarah set out on a long journey without knowing where they were going. They move about from place to place like displaced people, even though they are on their own land. And they are convinced that from bodies which are “as good as dead” new life is about to come. Their lives are thus marked by a not-knowing, not-having, not-being-able that seems to belie what they do know, have, and are able to do. This tells us something vital about faith. 

Because “faith is the assurance of things hoped for,” Christians can sometimes have the impression that faith is above all something we have in ourselves, just like knowledge or possessions or abilities. Strangely though, faith—like hope and love—is something we have outside ourselves, since its foundation lies outside of us in God. Faith consists in believing in God’s faithfulness, just as Sarah “considered him faithful who had promised.” This not-having on our own means that we come to share all that God has and wishes to give to us.

—Fr. Matthew Baugh, SJ, is a member of the USA Central and Southern Province and serves as the associate pastor of St. Francis Xavier (College) Church in St. Louis.

Prayer

Good and gracious God, we place our trust in you, despite not knowing exactly what is in store for us.  Increase our faith that we will receive all that you offer. May we never doubt that you keep your promises to us.  Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 10, 2019

St. Lawrence

2 Cor 9: 6-10

The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 

And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

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.

Sharing abundantly

When reading this text, what comes to mind are the Jesuit terms magis and cura personalis. The magis addresses the need to sow “more” or “greater.” In essence, doing more, living more for Christ, which leads to doing more for others. We want to focus more on living and sharing abundantly and move away from scarcity.

Care for the entire person (cura personalis), which includes sharing, planting seeds of truth, will lead to an abundant harvest of our righteousness.

How do we form the ideal society that is centered on Christ through the philosophy of magis and cura personalis?  

Dr. Phyllis Graham-Dickerson is a professor and assistant dean at Regis University, Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions, Loretto Heights School of Nursing for seven years, with a tenure of 17 years on the nursing faculty.

Prayer

Lord, help us to create an ideal society that is centered on you. Amen.

—Dr. Phyllis Graham-Dickerson


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 9, 2019

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Mt 16: 24-28

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 

For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 

Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

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.

Accepting Jesus’ offer

I’m a big fan of NBA basketball. Each summer, teams around the league jostle with each other to recruit the best free agents, luring players with promises of stardom, a winning culture and, most importantly, boatloads of money. Not very similar to Jesus’s recruiting pitch in today’s Gospel, to say the least! “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

The life Jesus offers us is not easy or comfortable. Discipleship doesn’t come with huge salaries and flattering photos of ourselves on billboards. What are we promised instead? Accompaniment during our trials, joy-filled community of faith, immense beauty, love beyond comprehension. You can’t put a price tag on any of those things, and they’re not worth much in a market economy. But in following Jesus together as sisters and brothers, we can glimpse the eternal and find life’s true meaning.

—Mike Jordan Laskey is the Senior Communications Director of the Jesuit Conference in Washington DC and an alum of Contemplative Leaders in Action in Philadelphia.

Prayer

“Take up your cross,” the Savior said,
“if you would my disciple be;
take up your cross with willing heart,
and humbly follow after me.”

Take up your cross; let not its weight
fill your weak spirit with alarm;
Christ’s strength shall bear your spirit up
and brace your heart and nerve your arm.

Take up your cross, heed not the shame,
and let your foolish heart be still;
the Lord for you accepted death
upon a cross, on Calv’ry’s hill.

Take up your cross, then, in Christ’s strength,
and calmly ev’ry danger brave:
it guides you to abundant life
and leads to vict’ry o’er the grave.

—Text of  Take Up Your Cross by Charles W. Everest


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
    123
18192021222324
25262728293031
       
     12
       
    123
25262728   
       
   1234
262728    
       
       
       
    123
45678910
       
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   
       
      1
       
     12
       
     12
3456789
10111213141516
       

August 18, 2019

Lk 12: 49-53

“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

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.

Casting fire into our hearts

In The Divine Comedy, Satan is frozen solid at the bottommost pit of hell, which Dante envisions as the iciest place in the cosmos. And in The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis depicts the reign of the White Witch as one of endless winter. If in the popular imagination, hell is closely associated with fire and heat, these literary giants propose exactly the opposite view, for reasons that help make sense of Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel. “I came to cast fire on the earth!”

Heat is what gets things moving. It is the kinetic energy that enables molecules fixed solidly in place to become fluid again and thus able to take on new and different forms. In one sense, hell is the precise opposite: it is a refusal to budge, a remaining locked in place. There is a kind of “peace” in such a state, as anyone who has experienced the tranquility of a snow-covered landscape knows. But it is ultimately a lifeless one, as the austerity of the arctic tundra makes clear.

Jesus seeks to cast fire in our hearts to melt away our disordered attachments, the things we cling to that freeze us in place. What are those icy areas of my own life?

—Fr. Matthew Baugh, SJ, is a member of the USA Central and Southern Province and serves as the associate pastor of St. Francis Xavier (College) Church in St. Louis.

Prayer

I believe, O Lord; but strengthen my faith…
Heart of Jesus, I love Thee; but increase my love.
Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee; but give greater vigor to my confidence.
Heart of Jesus, I give my heart to Thee; but so enclose it in Thee that it may never be separated from Thee.
Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine; but take care of my promise so that I may be able to put it in practice even unto the complete sacrifice of my life.

—Blessed Miguel Pro, SJ


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 17, 2018

Mt 19: 13-15

Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.

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.

Living by a child’s framework

Children are such special gifts to each of us and to the world. The way they come to a space is so honest, innocent and caring. “Cura Personalis” (care for the whole person) is embedded into the core of their being. Accepting others without judgment is the framework they use in life. How beautiful our world would be if we lived by children’s framework.

Jesus tells us to come like children. If we did that, what a different world this would be. Then, the kingdom of heaven would belong to us. The question I pose today for you is: How do we transition to this? How do we prevent our children from assimilating to the adult way of living which is not always encompassing “Cura Personalis.”

Dr. Phyllis Graham-Dickerson is a professor and assistant dean at Regis University, Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions, Loretto Heights School of Nursing for seven years, with a tenure of 17 years on the nursing faculty.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, please grant us the wisdom and knowledge to move to the ways of a child. Amen.

—Dr. Phyllis Graham-Dickerson


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 16, 2019

Mt 19: 3-12

Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?” He said to them, “It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.” His disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”

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.

Choosing the good of the other

In her book The Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris quotes a monk who lived in a small monastery in Colorado: “Our biggest problem is that each man here had a mother who fried potatoes in a different way.” I have never been a monk, but I am married, and the quote rings true to me as a husband. As Jesus says in today’s Gospel, a married couple becomes one flesh, which happens in a myriad of ways. We bring all our experiences to a marriage and quickly realize the ways we grew up doing things like decorating the Christmas tree, watching TV every night or rarely watching it, or cooking potatoes can be sources of tension and conflict.

“One-flesh” marriage means choosing the good of the other over my own biases and my commitment to being right all the time. It means big and small sacrifices, over and over, every single day.

—Mike Jordan Laskey is the Senior Communications Director of the Jesuit Conference in Washington DC and an alum of Contemplative Leaders in Action in Philadelphia.

Prayer

Almighty and eternal God,
You blessed the union of married couples
so that they might reflect the union of Christ with his Church:
look with kindness on them.
Renew their marriage covenant,
increase your love in them,
and strengthen their bond of peace so that, with their children,
they may always rejoice in the gift of your blessing.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

—Prayer for Married Couples © United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 15, 2019

Assumption of Our Lady

Lk 1: 39-56

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 

And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” 

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

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.

Mary’s message of hope

Anyone who has been, or has accompanied, someone who hoped and prayed for a child, facing loss and discouragement, can imagine the joy that Mary and Elizabeth shared. After many years of hoping by Elizabeth, a baby was on the way! And Mary came with news about her own baby that must have filled them both with joy and wonder.

Few of Mary’s words are recorded in the Gospels, but what amazing words these are. God is making everything new! God is reaching out and favoring those at the bottom of society’s ladder. God has remembered all the things promised in the covenant with Abraham. The people’s hopes for generations are coming true! Let us celebrate today with Mary and her message of hope in God. 

Beth Franzosa teaches in the Religious Studies department at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School

Prayer

Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

—Traditional prayer


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 14, 2019

St. Maximillian Kolbe

Dt 34: 1-12

Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar. The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.”

Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigor had not abated. The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.

Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him; and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the Lordhad commanded Moses. Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. He was unequaled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

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.

Following Jesus, the new Moses

The death of Moses led to the choice of Joshua as his immediate successor.  In truth, Jesus is the new Moses. The signs and wonders performed by Moses are all fulfilled in the Word of God, the Christ.  It’s important to remember that the Church Jesus promised to build was not only the universal (“catholic”) sacrament of salvation for all peoples, but also the fulfillment of the Mosaic law. None of God’s commands were abandoned, but Jesus reaffirmed the Ten Commandments with the two great commands to love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

We too fulfill God’s call to spread the Good News. The same power that drew the people of Israel to follow Moses now draws us to follow Jesus.  Perhaps as we review these movements of salvation history, we too express our gratitude for the might and terrifying power of the Word of God given in Christ. 

—Kathy England is a Pastoral Associate at St. Francis Xavier Church in Cincinnati, OH.

Prayer

Stay with us, Lord Jesus.
Be our companion on our way.
In your mercy inflame our hearts and raise our hope,
so that, in union with our brothers and sisters,
we may recognize you in the scriptures,
and in our daily living. 

—Kathy England


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 13, 2019

Mt 18: 1-5, 10, 12-14

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them,and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. 

“Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 

And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

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.

Risk going after the lost

As a young Jesuit, I spent several months on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation. It was the heart of winter, and we would occasionally see cattle who had gotten lost and frozen to death. A parishioner who was a rancher explained that this was more or less normal. “You never like it,” he said, “but you try to take care of as many as you can. You can’t always stop the odd stray.” 

Jesus makes a different calculation. Unwilling to accept that even a single ‘little one’ be lost, he proposes the image of a shepherd willing to risk whatever might happen to the other ninety-nine in the hills in order to find the lost little one. 

Who are the little ones who I know are lost, the ones I’m tempted to shrug off as “just one of those things?” What am I willing to leave behind or risk to go find the lost one?

Fr. Matt Spotts, SJ, is a recently ordained priest of the Midwest Jesuits serving as an associate pastor at Ss. Joseph-St. Francis Xavier parish in Wilmette, IL as well as doing pastoral ministry at Loyola Academy in Wilmette.

Prayer

God, nothing is beneath your notice because you love all things into being. Help me to seek out the one who is lost, to rejoice in the finding of that one and, little by little, to become humble like a child. 

—Fr. Matt Spotts, SJ


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 12, 2019

Dt 10: 12-22

So now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord your God and his decrees that I am commanding you today, for your own well-being. 

Although heaven and the heaven of heavens belong to the Lord your God, the earth with all that is in it, yet the Lord set his heart in love on your ancestors alone and chose you, their descendants after them, out of all the peoples, as it is today. Circumcise, then, the foreskin of your heart, and do not be stubborn any longer. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. 

You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the Lord your God; him alone you shall worship; to him you shall hold fast, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise; he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things that your own eyes have seen. Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy persons; and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in 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.

Law given out of love

In the Ethics class I teach to juniors, I try to emphasize the idea that good rules and just laws are rooted in love, and not simply control or obedience.  I tell my young daughter not to run into the middle of the street, not because I wish to control her, but because I cherish her and this “command” keeps her alive so I can be with her. 

Today’s first reading reminds us it is the same with God’s commands.  God does not demand obedience for the sake of control, but desires relationship with us.  God desires us to be happy and healthy and loved. Following God’s law helps create the space for God to do amazing things.  God’s law is about our hearts. Remembering God’s generosity helps us to stay close, honor God’s commands and extend generosity to others.  

Megan Agliano teaches in religious studies at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, AZ.  

Prayer

God of love, help me follow your laws of love.  Help me to tame my selfishness and love you and others better through word and deed. Help me to offer to others the generosity and hospitality that you have shown to me in my life.   Amen


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 11, 2019

Heb 11: 1-2, 8-12

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. 

By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 

By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”

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.

Faith outside of ourselves

Abraham and Sarah set out on a long journey without knowing where they were going. They move about from place to place like displaced people, even though they are on their own land. And they are convinced that from bodies which are “as good as dead” new life is about to come. Their lives are thus marked by a not-knowing, not-having, not-being-able that seems to belie what they do know, have, and are able to do. This tells us something vital about faith. 

Because “faith is the assurance of things hoped for,” Christians can sometimes have the impression that faith is above all something we have in ourselves, just like knowledge or possessions or abilities. Strangely though, faith—like hope and love—is something we have outside ourselves, since its foundation lies outside of us in God. Faith consists in believing in God’s faithfulness, just as Sarah “considered him faithful who had promised.” This not-having on our own means that we come to share all that God has and wishes to give to us.

—Fr. Matthew Baugh, SJ, is a member of the USA Central and Southern Province and serves as the associate pastor of St. Francis Xavier (College) Church in St. Louis.

Prayer

Good and gracious God, we place our trust in you, despite not knowing exactly what is in store for us.  Increase our faith that we will receive all that you offer. May we never doubt that you keep your promises to us.  Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 10, 2019

St. Lawrence

2 Cor 9: 6-10

The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 

And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

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.

Sharing abundantly

When reading this text, what comes to mind are the Jesuit terms magis and cura personalis. The magis addresses the need to sow “more” or “greater.” In essence, doing more, living more for Christ, which leads to doing more for others. We want to focus more on living and sharing abundantly and move away from scarcity.

Care for the entire person (cura personalis), which includes sharing, planting seeds of truth, will lead to an abundant harvest of our righteousness.

How do we form the ideal society that is centered on Christ through the philosophy of magis and cura personalis?  

Dr. Phyllis Graham-Dickerson is a professor and assistant dean at Regis University, Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions, Loretto Heights School of Nursing for seven years, with a tenure of 17 years on the nursing faculty.

Prayer

Lord, help us to create an ideal society that is centered on you. Amen.

—Dr. Phyllis Graham-Dickerson


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 9, 2019

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Mt 16: 24-28

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 

For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 

Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

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.

Accepting Jesus’ offer

I’m a big fan of NBA basketball. Each summer, teams around the league jostle with each other to recruit the best free agents, luring players with promises of stardom, a winning culture and, most importantly, boatloads of money. Not very similar to Jesus’s recruiting pitch in today’s Gospel, to say the least! “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

The life Jesus offers us is not easy or comfortable. Discipleship doesn’t come with huge salaries and flattering photos of ourselves on billboards. What are we promised instead? Accompaniment during our trials, joy-filled community of faith, immense beauty, love beyond comprehension. You can’t put a price tag on any of those things, and they’re not worth much in a market economy. But in following Jesus together as sisters and brothers, we can glimpse the eternal and find life’s true meaning.

—Mike Jordan Laskey is the Senior Communications Director of the Jesuit Conference in Washington DC and an alum of Contemplative Leaders in Action in Philadelphia.

Prayer

“Take up your cross,” the Savior said,
“if you would my disciple be;
take up your cross with willing heart,
and humbly follow after me.”

Take up your cross; let not its weight
fill your weak spirit with alarm;
Christ’s strength shall bear your spirit up
and brace your heart and nerve your arm.

Take up your cross, heed not the shame,
and let your foolish heart be still;
the Lord for you accepted death
upon a cross, on Calv’ry’s hill.

Take up your cross, then, in Christ’s strength,
and calmly ev’ry danger brave:
it guides you to abundant life
and leads to vict’ry o’er the grave.

—Text of  Take Up Your Cross by Charles W. Everest


Please share the Good Word with your friends!