We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there.
A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.
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.
Ignatian Contemplation invites us to pray using our imaginations, giving us an opportunity to jump into the scene. Don’t ask me why but my first image of Lydia is a feisty, 5-foot-tall woman—think Rita Moreno. She is a believer and I picture her as an aggressive and persistent small business owner, “a dealer in purple cloth”.
When Paul arrives, she is praying with her friends along the river. Paul and his companions have to be exhausted. This reading indicates the amount of work it took to grow the kingdom—”we set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.”
In conversing with Paul, who is most likely a stranger to Lydia, “the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying.” She was opened to what Paul had to say and, in so doing, was moved to invite Paul and his companions to rest at her home.
One of the tenets of being a graduate from a Jesuit high school is being “Open to Growth”. Based on this passage, Lydia would have made an ideal graduate. May we all be as open to the Spirit in our lives as Lydia.
Pay attention: The Spirit is constantly in action within us and in front of us.
—Dan O’Brien is a graduate of Loyola Academy and John Carroll University. He has worked for the Jesuits for 20 years and currently serves as a Regional Advancement Director for the Midwest Jesuits based in Milwaukee, WI.
Father, in the name of Jesus, give me the Spirit.
—St. Peter Faber, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!