“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away.
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
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 are told the goal of Ignatian mysticism is to praise, reverence and serve our Lord. But what, exactly, is service for Ignatius? According to Fr. Paul Coutinho, SJ, service is not simply doing things for others; it’s about loving God first, and then, out of that love, going out and serving others. The challenge of a loving relationship, then, is not to love, but to allow yourself to be loved. Not just to love God or love your neighbor, but to allow God to love us, to allow our neighbor to love us. That’s transformative. It’s finally realizing that when we “hear the word and understand it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundred fold,” we are in relationship. God’s love flows only from the love that we receive from God first, and only then can flow to everyone we encounter. It cannot be contained.
Pause for a moment right now, and breathe. Feel the unconditionally love of God. Rejoice in this relationship.
—Deacon Chuck Thompson is the Director of Adult Ministry at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.
A gentle reminder:
we only bear much fruit when we are in You, O Lord.
Seeds, all, alive only in Your soil.
May I learn to love the ground where I have fallen,
whatever awaits, no matter how far I have strayed,
May your strength and glory always lift me,
Bending low in Your infinite garden, Your church, our church,
where the rain falls on the just and the unjust.
Where the rain falls on me.
And I am lifted up.
—Deacon Chuck ThompsonPlease share the Good Word with your friends!