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October 23, 2018

Lk 12: 35-38

“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

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 hard work of being ready

In today’s Gospel, Jesus exhorts his disciples to stay vigilant. The kind of anticipation he is asking them to assume is not passive waiting. By asking his disciples to gird their loins and to light their lamps, he is inviting them to actively wait, to be prepared.

I imagine the servants in the Gospel story keeping food warm and standing ready to hang up the master’s cloak and wash his feet when he does arrive. They are probably expecting the expected, ready to serve the master as they have always done. Then comes the surprise. When they hear that knock and rush to open the door, the master commends them for being ready. Then he asks them to sit down at the table and tells them: “Tonight I’m going to wait on you!”

The hard work of being faithful will not lack its reward. How will God surprise you today?

—Orlando Portalatin, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Central and Southern Province studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.

—Psalm 130:5-7

 

 


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October 22, 2018

Lk 12: 13-21

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward 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.

Rich in what matters to God

Our time, money, and resources can often feel limited.  Sometimes, I find myself wishing for more: more time to get a little extra sleep or finish that project, more money to take that flight to a wedding across the country, or maybe more space to accommodate out-of-town guests.  While these are not selfish or even unreasonable wishes, we still find ourselves in a place where it becomes hard to accept those realities. To truly be rich in what matters to God, we can practice sacrifice of the things we do have.  Can I spare a few minutes before driving home to check in with a coworker? Can I drop my change in the tip jar after buying lunch? By continuing to give of what we have, even if it doesn’t seem like much, we bring ourselves closer to the true mission of Christ and closer in kinship to those around us.

—Erin Emeric is a music teacher at Christ, Light of the Nations school and a member of the Billiken Teaching Corps at Saint Louis University.

Prayer

Lord, help us to focus on all that we have instead of what we don’t have.  May we recognize the needs of others and do what we can to meet them. Let us see those things that matter to you, and strive for more of that in our daily life.  May we store up treasure in heaven rather than on earth. Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 


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October 21, 2018

Mk 10:35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.”

Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John.So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them.

But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

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.

Humbling ourselves to follow Jesus’ example

I taught a student who used to come into class, walk up to me, and stand in my face. When I would invite him to take a seat, he would respond, “Nah, I’m good. You stand, so I stand.” We had this interaction several times before I realized that this was less an act of defiance and more an expression of his desire for connection. He just had no idea what would lead to the connection he wanted.

James and John understand that they can’t get for themselves what they want, which was to share in Jesus’ glory. But they don’t understand what leads to Jesus’ glory. Jesus’ glory does not come from placing himself above, but by humbling himself all the way to the cross. And Jesus invites us to the same humility, which will lead us to be sharers in His glory. If Christ could humble himself, who are we not to?

—Fr. Brad Held, SJ, is a member of the Midwest Province and is a campus minister and theology teacher at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, WI.

Prayer

Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus

From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

—Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val

 


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October 20, 2018

Lk 12:8-12

“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.”

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.

Acknowledging God before the world

Throughout history, we have stories of martyrs who have accepted death rather than renouncing their faith in God.  While we may not be asked to make such a dramatic confession of faith, we have daily opportunities to choose whether to acknowledge or deny God.  We choose our answer when we respond to a Sunday brunch invitation at the same time as we’re planning to go to Mass. We decide whether to keep ashes on our foreheads throughout Ash Wednesday or wash them off.  We make a decision about how to respond to Jesus in the form of a homeless person standing at a freeway offramp.

How is your confession of faith in God shared with the world through your words and actions?

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

—Nicene Creed

 

 

 

 


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October 19, 2018

Sts. John de Brebeuf, SJ and Isaac Jogues, SJ and Companions, Jesuit Martyrs of North America

Eph 1:11-14

In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

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.

Our purpose is to do God’s will

We are loved into this life by God. Jesus chose us. So what is our purpose in this life? This letter from Paul to the Ephesians states it quite simply. Our purpose is to do God’s will. How do we do this? As St. Ignatius’ First Principle and Foundation states, we are made to love, praise, and serve God in all that we do. This is our truth, which we place our faith and hope as we seek to do God’s will.

How am I loving, praising, and serving God with the gifts and talents God has given me? Where can I do this more? With whom do I need to do this more intentionally? What am I prepared to do?

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Acting Assistant Principal of Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

The goal of our life is to live with God forever. God, who loves us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows God’s life to flow into us without limit. All the things in this world are gifts of God, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily. As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God insofar as they help us develop as loving persons. But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace God and so hinder our growth toward our goal. In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some obligation. We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God. Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening his life in me.

—First Principle and Foundation as translated by David Fleming, SJ

 

 


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October 18, 2018

St. Luke, Evangelist

Lk 10:1-9

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road.

Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near 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.

Called to work in the fields of the Lord

I imagine Jesus addressing me. My response, while honest, is disappointing: “You’re sending me among wolves? Thanks, Lord, but no thanks. Send someone else.”

I wonder why am I afraid to be sent out into the harvest. Am I afraid I will be judged harshly by others? Am I afraid I will make fool of myself? Am I afraid that I will not be effective?

These fears reveal that I am overly concerned about my reputation, and this concern is more burdensome than any purse, bag, or sandals. I want people to think well of me, and I’m afraid that somehow, people will decide that I’m not educated, holy, or talented enough to work in the fields of the Lord. Better to let other, more talented people do the important stuff.

Despite these fears, the Lord still calls me. May I receive the grace to respond wholeheartedly.

—Bob Burnham is a Secular Franciscan, spiritual director, and author of Little Lessons from the Saints: 52 Simple and Surprising Ways to See the Saint in You published by Loyola Press.

Prayer

Take Lord, and receive all my concerns, worries, and hesitancy.
You have called me into your harvest.
That is enough for me. Amen.

—Bob Burnham

 


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October 17, 2018

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr

Lk 11:42-46

“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practiced, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love to have the seat of honor in the synagogues and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces. Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing it.”

One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us too.” And he said, “Woe also to you lawyers! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not lift a finger to ease them.

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.

Going deeper for the magis

One of my favorite Ignatian ideals is magis, Latin for “more” or “greater.”

At first glance, aren’t the Pharisees and lawyers in today’s Gospel committed to doing more: tithing crops, attaining honor in the synagogue, holding others accountable?

“What does all that matter,” the impassioned Jesus argues, “without an authentic commitment to self-reflection, love, and justice?”

Jesus’ anger at this hypocrisy highlights that perceived “excellence” often becomes an idol, displacing the real depth to which magis calls us. Perhaps it is easier, less vulnerable, more instantly gratifying for us to achieve more than it is to go deeper. The “more” we seek requires us always to keep our eyes on God, the direction of our dedicated service.

In my life, how and when am I tempted to understand magis as “doing more things” instead of as “going deeper”? How can I commit more deeply to love and justice this day?

—Katie Davis (MDiv, Loyola University Chicago) is a former Jesuit Volunteer/JVC Magis currently working as a Chaplain and Religious Studies teacher at St. Ignatius College Prep. She has served on the Advisory Board for Jesuit Connections and is a member of the Chicago Women’s Team for the Ignatian Spirituality Project. Katie preaches with the project Catholic Women Preach.

Prayer

God of Peace,
Our comforting Calm in the stress of hectic days,
Our relieving Balance in the heaviness of competing responsibilities,
Our abiding Light in the darkness of painful struggles,
Strengthen our Church so we can create a community of caring support and loving challenge.
Humble us so that each day, we will rely on You, on trusted others, and on our truest selves.
Grant us the freedom that comes from truly focusing on You – that is, on Love – above all else.
Help us trust that this Love will lead us to true success
As we strive for the Magis
more depth, more truth, more generosity –
in our everyday lives.
In the name of Jesus our Brother,
Who reminds us that we are never alone.
Amen.

—Katie Davis

 

 

 

 


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October 16, 2018

Lk 11:37-41

While he was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to dine with him; so he went in and took his place at the table. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not first wash before dinner. Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for 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 fullest extent of the law

Jesus is not inviting the Pharisee to abandon the observance of the law. He is inviting the Pharisee to observe the law of God to the fullest extent by going beyond the letter of the law. But going beyond the letter of the law does not suggest disregarding the law; it points to observing the law fully. In his response to the Pharisee, Jesus seems to imply that observing the fullness of the law is all about harmonizing what the law says with what God intends the law to be.

How do we observe the law to the fullest extent? How do we invite Christ into our discernment of what it means to observe the law to the fullest extent?

—Orlando Portalatin, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Central and Southern Province studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

Grant me, O Lord, to see everything now with new eyes,
to discern and test the spirits
that help me read the signs of the times,
to relish the things that are yours, and to communicate them to others.
Give me the clarity of understanding that you gave Ignatius.

—Pedro Arrupe, SJ

 


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October 15, 2018

St. Teresa of Avila

Lk 11:29-32

When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here!

The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!

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.

Little signs from God

It can be scary to think about the culmination of our time on Earth when we must face our choices of this life.  We know neither the day nor the hour but, as we hear throughout Scripture, Jesus came the first time to let us know that we can always come back to him.  As we go about our days, it can be difficult to see Jesus reaching out to us. He tells the crowd in the Gospel that he is the sign they seek. Each day in the small moments of our lives, Jesus gives us signs that he is with us, guiding us, and won’t let us walk alone.

How can we notice the Lord watching over us today? Let us take each little sign from him and use it as a stepping stone toward love and righteousness to be repentant disciples.

—Erin Emeric is a music teacher at Christ, Light of the Nations school and a member of the Billiken Teaching Corps at Saint Louis University.

Prayer

Lord, help us to recognize you in the little signs you show us throughout each day.  May we turn our hearts to you and trust that you remain with us on our journey.

—The Jesuit Prayer team


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October 14, 2018

Mk 10:17-27

As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’”

He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

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.

Concealing and revealing the truth

Today we encounter one of my favorite motifs in the Gospels: Jesus conceals his divine identity while simultaneously revealing it. He shows the young man who he is, but Jesus does not do it by saying “I am God!” So how does Jesus do this? He takes the young man’s statement that Jesus is good and places it side-by-side with the statement that God alone is truly good. But then Jesus does something that only God can do, which is to essentially add to the Ten Commandments. Jesus adds a commandment to follow him and places it on par with the Commandments. It’s this concealing while also revealing way of saying, “Only God is good and I have done something that only God can do. So who do you say that I am?”

This motif is not limited to written Scriptures, but is at work in our days and lives as well. Where is God quietly revealing himself to be God to you?

—Fr. Brad Held, SJ, is a member of the Midwest Province and is a campus minister and theology teacher at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, WI.

Prayer

Good and gracious God, you invite us to follow you, even though that path may not be an easy one.  Help us to recognize you and your invitation to respond in a variety of situations and relationships in our lives.  May we always place our trust in you, knowing that all things are possible through you. Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 


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Ignatian spirituality reminds us that God pursues us in the routines of our home and work life, and in the hopes and fears of life's challenges. The founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, created the Spiritual Exercises to deepen our relationship with Christ and to move our contemplation into service. May this prayer site anchor your day and strengthen your resolve to remember what truly matters.

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October 23, 2018

Lk 12: 35-38

“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

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 hard work of being ready

In today’s Gospel, Jesus exhorts his disciples to stay vigilant. The kind of anticipation he is asking them to assume is not passive waiting. By asking his disciples to gird their loins and to light their lamps, he is inviting them to actively wait, to be prepared.

I imagine the servants in the Gospel story keeping food warm and standing ready to hang up the master’s cloak and wash his feet when he does arrive. They are probably expecting the expected, ready to serve the master as they have always done. Then comes the surprise. When they hear that knock and rush to open the door, the master commends them for being ready. Then he asks them to sit down at the table and tells them: “Tonight I’m going to wait on you!”

The hard work of being faithful will not lack its reward. How will God surprise you today?

—Orlando Portalatin, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Central and Southern Province studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.

—Psalm 130:5-7

 

 


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October 22, 2018

Lk 12: 13-21

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward 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.

Rich in what matters to God

Our time, money, and resources can often feel limited.  Sometimes, I find myself wishing for more: more time to get a little extra sleep or finish that project, more money to take that flight to a wedding across the country, or maybe more space to accommodate out-of-town guests.  While these are not selfish or even unreasonable wishes, we still find ourselves in a place where it becomes hard to accept those realities. To truly be rich in what matters to God, we can practice sacrifice of the things we do have.  Can I spare a few minutes before driving home to check in with a coworker? Can I drop my change in the tip jar after buying lunch? By continuing to give of what we have, even if it doesn’t seem like much, we bring ourselves closer to the true mission of Christ and closer in kinship to those around us.

—Erin Emeric is a music teacher at Christ, Light of the Nations school and a member of the Billiken Teaching Corps at Saint Louis University.

Prayer

Lord, help us to focus on all that we have instead of what we don’t have.  May we recognize the needs of others and do what we can to meet them. Let us see those things that matter to you, and strive for more of that in our daily life.  May we store up treasure in heaven rather than on earth. Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 


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October 21, 2018

Mk 10:35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.”

Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John.So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them.

But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

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.

Humbling ourselves to follow Jesus’ example

I taught a student who used to come into class, walk up to me, and stand in my face. When I would invite him to take a seat, he would respond, “Nah, I’m good. You stand, so I stand.” We had this interaction several times before I realized that this was less an act of defiance and more an expression of his desire for connection. He just had no idea what would lead to the connection he wanted.

James and John understand that they can’t get for themselves what they want, which was to share in Jesus’ glory. But they don’t understand what leads to Jesus’ glory. Jesus’ glory does not come from placing himself above, but by humbling himself all the way to the cross. And Jesus invites us to the same humility, which will lead us to be sharers in His glory. If Christ could humble himself, who are we not to?

—Fr. Brad Held, SJ, is a member of the Midwest Province and is a campus minister and theology teacher at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, WI.

Prayer

Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus

From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

—Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val

 


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October 20, 2018

Lk 12:8-12

“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.”

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.

Acknowledging God before the world

Throughout history, we have stories of martyrs who have accepted death rather than renouncing their faith in God.  While we may not be asked to make such a dramatic confession of faith, we have daily opportunities to choose whether to acknowledge or deny God.  We choose our answer when we respond to a Sunday brunch invitation at the same time as we’re planning to go to Mass. We decide whether to keep ashes on our foreheads throughout Ash Wednesday or wash them off.  We make a decision about how to respond to Jesus in the form of a homeless person standing at a freeway offramp.

How is your confession of faith in God shared with the world through your words and actions?

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

—Nicene Creed

 

 

 

 


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October 19, 2018

Sts. John de Brebeuf, SJ and Isaac Jogues, SJ and Companions, Jesuit Martyrs of North America

Eph 1:11-14

In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

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.

Our purpose is to do God’s will

We are loved into this life by God. Jesus chose us. So what is our purpose in this life? This letter from Paul to the Ephesians states it quite simply. Our purpose is to do God’s will. How do we do this? As St. Ignatius’ First Principle and Foundation states, we are made to love, praise, and serve God in all that we do. This is our truth, which we place our faith and hope as we seek to do God’s will.

How am I loving, praising, and serving God with the gifts and talents God has given me? Where can I do this more? With whom do I need to do this more intentionally? What am I prepared to do?

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Acting Assistant Principal of Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

The goal of our life is to live with God forever. God, who loves us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows God’s life to flow into us without limit. All the things in this world are gifts of God, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily. As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God insofar as they help us develop as loving persons. But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace God and so hinder our growth toward our goal. In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some obligation. We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God. Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening his life in me.

—First Principle and Foundation as translated by David Fleming, SJ

 

 


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October 18, 2018

St. Luke, Evangelist

Lk 10:1-9

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road.

Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near 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.

Called to work in the fields of the Lord

I imagine Jesus addressing me. My response, while honest, is disappointing: “You’re sending me among wolves? Thanks, Lord, but no thanks. Send someone else.”

I wonder why am I afraid to be sent out into the harvest. Am I afraid I will be judged harshly by others? Am I afraid I will make fool of myself? Am I afraid that I will not be effective?

These fears reveal that I am overly concerned about my reputation, and this concern is more burdensome than any purse, bag, or sandals. I want people to think well of me, and I’m afraid that somehow, people will decide that I’m not educated, holy, or talented enough to work in the fields of the Lord. Better to let other, more talented people do the important stuff.

Despite these fears, the Lord still calls me. May I receive the grace to respond wholeheartedly.

—Bob Burnham is a Secular Franciscan, spiritual director, and author of Little Lessons from the Saints: 52 Simple and Surprising Ways to See the Saint in You published by Loyola Press.

Prayer

Take Lord, and receive all my concerns, worries, and hesitancy.
You have called me into your harvest.
That is enough for me. Amen.

—Bob Burnham

 


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October 17, 2018

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr

Lk 11:42-46

“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practiced, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love to have the seat of honor in the synagogues and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces. Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing it.”

One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us too.” And he said, “Woe also to you lawyers! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not lift a finger to ease them.

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.

Going deeper for the magis

One of my favorite Ignatian ideals is magis, Latin for “more” or “greater.”

At first glance, aren’t the Pharisees and lawyers in today’s Gospel committed to doing more: tithing crops, attaining honor in the synagogue, holding others accountable?

“What does all that matter,” the impassioned Jesus argues, “without an authentic commitment to self-reflection, love, and justice?”

Jesus’ anger at this hypocrisy highlights that perceived “excellence” often becomes an idol, displacing the real depth to which magis calls us. Perhaps it is easier, less vulnerable, more instantly gratifying for us to achieve more than it is to go deeper. The “more” we seek requires us always to keep our eyes on God, the direction of our dedicated service.

In my life, how and when am I tempted to understand magis as “doing more things” instead of as “going deeper”? How can I commit more deeply to love and justice this day?

—Katie Davis (MDiv, Loyola University Chicago) is a former Jesuit Volunteer/JVC Magis currently working as a Chaplain and Religious Studies teacher at St. Ignatius College Prep. She has served on the Advisory Board for Jesuit Connections and is a member of the Chicago Women’s Team for the Ignatian Spirituality Project. Katie preaches with the project Catholic Women Preach.

Prayer

God of Peace,
Our comforting Calm in the stress of hectic days,
Our relieving Balance in the heaviness of competing responsibilities,
Our abiding Light in the darkness of painful struggles,
Strengthen our Church so we can create a community of caring support and loving challenge.
Humble us so that each day, we will rely on You, on trusted others, and on our truest selves.
Grant us the freedom that comes from truly focusing on You – that is, on Love – above all else.
Help us trust that this Love will lead us to true success
As we strive for the Magis
more depth, more truth, more generosity –
in our everyday lives.
In the name of Jesus our Brother,
Who reminds us that we are never alone.
Amen.

—Katie Davis

 

 

 

 


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October 16, 2018

Lk 11:37-41

While he was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to dine with him; so he went in and took his place at the table. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not first wash before dinner. Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for 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 fullest extent of the law

Jesus is not inviting the Pharisee to abandon the observance of the law. He is inviting the Pharisee to observe the law of God to the fullest extent by going beyond the letter of the law. But going beyond the letter of the law does not suggest disregarding the law; it points to observing the law fully. In his response to the Pharisee, Jesus seems to imply that observing the fullness of the law is all about harmonizing what the law says with what God intends the law to be.

How do we observe the law to the fullest extent? How do we invite Christ into our discernment of what it means to observe the law to the fullest extent?

—Orlando Portalatin, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Central and Southern Province studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

Grant me, O Lord, to see everything now with new eyes,
to discern and test the spirits
that help me read the signs of the times,
to relish the things that are yours, and to communicate them to others.
Give me the clarity of understanding that you gave Ignatius.

—Pedro Arrupe, SJ

 


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October 15, 2018

St. Teresa of Avila

Lk 11:29-32

When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here!

The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!

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.

Little signs from God

It can be scary to think about the culmination of our time on Earth when we must face our choices of this life.  We know neither the day nor the hour but, as we hear throughout Scripture, Jesus came the first time to let us know that we can always come back to him.  As we go about our days, it can be difficult to see Jesus reaching out to us. He tells the crowd in the Gospel that he is the sign they seek. Each day in the small moments of our lives, Jesus gives us signs that he is with us, guiding us, and won’t let us walk alone.

How can we notice the Lord watching over us today? Let us take each little sign from him and use it as a stepping stone toward love and righteousness to be repentant disciples.

—Erin Emeric is a music teacher at Christ, Light of the Nations school and a member of the Billiken Teaching Corps at Saint Louis University.

Prayer

Lord, help us to recognize you in the little signs you show us throughout each day.  May we turn our hearts to you and trust that you remain with us on our journey.

—The Jesuit Prayer team


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October 14, 2018

Mk 10:17-27

As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’”

He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

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.

Concealing and revealing the truth

Today we encounter one of my favorite motifs in the Gospels: Jesus conceals his divine identity while simultaneously revealing it. He shows the young man who he is, but Jesus does not do it by saying “I am God!” So how does Jesus do this? He takes the young man’s statement that Jesus is good and places it side-by-side with the statement that God alone is truly good. But then Jesus does something that only God can do, which is to essentially add to the Ten Commandments. Jesus adds a commandment to follow him and places it on par with the Commandments. It’s this concealing while also revealing way of saying, “Only God is good and I have done something that only God can do. So who do you say that I am?”

This motif is not limited to written Scriptures, but is at work in our days and lives as well. Where is God quietly revealing himself to be God to you?

—Fr. Brad Held, SJ, is a member of the Midwest Province and is a campus minister and theology teacher at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, WI.

Prayer

Good and gracious God, you invite us to follow you, even though that path may not be an easy one.  Help us to recognize you and your invitation to respond in a variety of situations and relationships in our lives.  May we always place our trust in you, knowing that all things are possible through you. Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 


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