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October 23, 2019

Lk 12: 39-48

‘But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.’

Peter said, ‘Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?’ And the Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and prudent manager whom his master will put in charge of his slaves, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. But if that slave says to himself, “My master is delayed in coming”, and if he begins to beat the other slaves, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the unfaithful. 

That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. But one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded

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.

Paying attention to the magis

Have you ever missed your exit or bus stop on a daily commute because you zoned out? The combination of the routine’s familiarity and the busy day clouding your head can make it easy to do.

So too can habit, busyness, stress, or boredom affect our collaboration with Jesus in our daily life.

We enter the routine: start the day in prayer, be kind to strangers we encounter, have patience with our coworkers and family, attend Mass on Sundays, donate to a charity we support, and so on.

But are we really awake?  Are we attentive to the new and creative ways Jesus might be asking us to collaborate with him?  Are we using our time, gifts, energy, talents and voice to care for our master’s possessions, that is to say God’s world and God’s people?

Are we paying attention to the magis Jesus calls us to today?

—Amy Ketner is the Coordinator of Hispanic/Latino Ministry at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.

Prayer

Dear Lord, help me keep my eyes on you…To you I want to give all that I am.  Let me be generous, not stingy or hesitant. Let me give you all – all that I have, think, do, and feel.  It is yours, O Lord. Please accept it and make it fully your own.

—Henri Nouwen


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October 22, 2019

Rom 5:12, 15B, 17-19, 20B-21

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned—

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. 

If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 

But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification* leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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.

Christ, the New Adam, and Mary, the New Eve

In my room hangs the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. As in most depictions of Mary, she is holding the child Jesus. In this particular image, two angels are depicted above her shoulders. The angel above her left is holding the cross and nails, and the one above her right is holding the spear with which Jesus was pierced and the wine-soaked sponge. Mary’s countenance is sorrowful, giving the impression that it is she who will one day give her son over to the cross. But the life that came from this cross, and that continues to come from it through the life of the Church, especially through the sacramental life, is that very life that Paul speaks of to the Romans. 

As Adam and Eve brought death and sin into the world through their disobedience, Jesus, who takes flesh in the womb of Mary, reverses this by going to the cross. The “yes” of Mary, the new “mother of all the living,” brought about the abundance of grace that gives us life. May she always help us say “yes” to the will of her Son.

Alex Coffey, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the U.S. Central and Southern Province studying philosophy at Saint Louis University.

Prayer

Holy Mary, my Queen, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son.

Amen.

—Adaptation of the Prayer of St. Aloysius to the Blessed Mother


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October 21, 2019

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.

Are we truly ready to offer everything to God?

Every time I say the Suscipe prayer I feel like a fraud.  Do I really mean what I am saying?  “Take Lord and receive…all I have and call my own.”  Am I willing to give everything to God; to see everything I have as gifts to be used to spread God’s love? More often, I view my possessions as things I’ve earned through my own work to do with what I want. I want to mean what I pray. “You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it.” I want to be Ignatianly indifferent, but I fall short.   

Like the rich fool in today’s Gospel, I make plans, stock-up, calculate, and prepare for the future.  I know that these are not categorically bad actions as long as my perspective is right. All of my possessions and actions are only good in so far as I use them to perform God’s will.  Too often I do only what is easy and comfortable. I think that because I am the one holding the steering wheel that I am the one driving. I forget that Jesus is under the hood doing the real work.  

How can I make sure to place God at my center today? How can I make sure my plans, projects, purchases, transactions, conversations, and interactions all lead me to achieve that for which I was created?

Jerry Kinney teachers Spanish, directs Operation Others, and is the Retreats Director at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

—Suscipe of St. Ignatius of Loyola


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October 20, 2019

Lk 18:1-8 

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 

For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” 

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

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.

Patterns and persistence in prayer

Like the persistent widow in today’s parable, St. Ignatius teaches us to identify and petition God for the graces we desire. Through a repeated cycle of asking, reflecting on what we are asking for, and our asking once again, we come to discover themes and patterns embedded in our all of our askings.

Many days I fail to express my hearts desires. Why? Perhaps because I sense that God already knows, so why bother, or that my penchant for self-deception makes me question their appropriateness, or that God is only interested in my pieties not my petitions. Other times it’s out of fear: God is too uninvolved to care, or that my deepest heart-longings won’t be satisfied, or conversely, that they will be, resulting in a radical life change. 

What might the patterns in your prayer be telling you about God, others, and yourself? What prevents you from asking the Giver of all good gifts to satisfy your deepest desires?

—Christopher Alt, SJ, is a member of the Midwest Jesuits. He writes for The Jesuit Post and is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

Giver of all good gifts, shine your light in my prayer. Help me to see my deepest desires and, by your Spirit, give me persistence to overcome obstacles that prevent me from seeking your Reign. If I feel stuck, give me the grace to trust in grace. Amen.  

—Christopher Alt, SJ


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October 19, 2019

Sts. John de Brebeuf, SJ, Isaac Jogues, SJ, and companions, Jesuit martyrs of North America

Rom 4:13, 16-18

For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us).

As it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations” —in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.”

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.

 On Faith

What is it to say that we have faith? That we are faithful?  That faith will lead us home? The first reading today reminds us that faith not only guides us but invites us to consider that our journey with Christ is guided by more than a rule, a policy, or a law.  Through faith, and our belief in the presence and loving guidance of God in our lives, we continue our journey as his humble followers here on earth. He is always with us, and our faith confirms that blessing!

Bernadette Gillick is a Marquette University alumna, and a former Clinical Instructor for Creighton University’s Institute for Latin American Concern.  Her ministry continues as a clinical researcher discovering treatments for stroke during infancy.

Prayer

Lord, please guide me on my journey in faith. Be there rocks and roots along the trail, allow me to recognize your love and compassion which leads me throughout each day. 

—Bernadette Gillick


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October 18, 2019

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.

Who do we follow on mission?

In today’s Gospel, St. Luke reflects on the challenges of sharing a message.  Jesus meets with outright resistance from some, and even friends who are distracted by the needs of the present world.  We can all appreciate this struggle as we likely know from our own experience how hard it is to convince even close friends of a new idea.  We also know how much easier it is to give in to immediate desires than to attend to long term goals. We may want the ideal, the “glorious splendor of the kingdom”, but we mere mortals are forever distracted by the latest bright, shiny object.  

St. John recognizes what an honor it is to be chosen to serve a great mission.  St. Luke tells of Jesus sending his disciples out to be like lambs among wolves – and we know many stories of this being literally true.  What great courage it takes to face such a challenge. Lambs need a reliable sheepdog.

Fred O’Connor is an alumnus of Loyola Academy and College of the Holy Cross and is a member of the JFAN Advisory Board in Chicago.  He works as a financial advisor living in Evanston, IL.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, we ask you now
to help us to remain with you always,
to be close to you with all the ardor of our hearts,
to take up joyfully the mission you entrust us,
and that is to continue your presence
and spread the good news of your resurrection.

—Carlo Maria Martini, SJ


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October 17, 2019

St. Ignatius of Antioch

Lk 11: 47-54

Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. So you are witnesses and approve of the deeds of your ancestors; for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ so that this generation may be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. 

Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against this generation. Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.” When he went outside, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile toward him and to cross-examine him about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might 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.

A model for interacting with enemies

In today’s Gospel, Jesus chides the scholars of the law, and their response can only be described as mean-spirited; the text says “hostile … lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.” How often do we see this in the public sphere today? Someone speaks out about an issue, and news anchors or anonymous internet users overanalyze every aspect of the speaker’s life, questioning intentions, and seek to invalidate and dismiss the person. But at the start of the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius enjoins the director of the retreatant to take on a “presupposition” of goodwill — namely that the director should be “more ready to put a good interpretation on another’s statement than to condemn it as false.” This can be a model for our interaction with others, especially those we don’t like being around. How can you love your enemies today?

Beau Guedry is a former Alum Service Corps volunteer who now teaches science and coordinates liturgy at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory School in Houston. 

Prayer

Prayer for Generosity

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve You as You deserve;
To give, and not to count the cost;
To fight, and not to heed the wounds;
To toil, and not to seek for rest;
To labor, and not to ask for reward,
Save that of knowing that I do Your will.
Amen.

—St. Ignatius of Loyola


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October 16, 2019

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.

Overcoming undue burdens

Whenever Jesus gets stern, I find myself paying close attention, as is true today when he scolds the prideful Pharisees and overbearing lawyers. 

While we may not be tithing mint, rue and herbs, it’s still easy to get caught up in rules, and online giving or weekly envelopes. When we obsess over prerequisites to the Sacraments, or concentrate on our (or others’) unworthiness to be in relationship with God, we lose focus. 

Jesus says his burden is light and easy, and promises rest for the weary (Mt 11:28-30).  Our faith is not about how much we tithe, how many committees we lead, or how well we fit the ideal Christian mold.  Rather, it’s about humbly learning to love and be loved. It’s about finding rest in Jesus, and helping others to do the same.

What are the unnecessary burdens I place on myself or others, hindering relationship with God?   

—Amy Ketner is the Coordinator of Hispanic/Latino Ministry at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.

Prayer

Thank you, God, for grounding us in love.  Help us to discern the areas in our life where we are motivated by pride, rather than by justice and compassion.  Give us the courage to speak up, as Jesus did, when we witness others placing too heavy a load on our neighbors. 

—Amy Ketner


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October 15, 2019

St. Teresa of Avila

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.

Making our hearts match our actions

Jesus’ address to the Pharisee teaches us that exterior actions are crucial for interior transformation. He tells the Pharisee, “inside you are full of extortion and wickedness… But give for alms those things that are within; and, behold, everything is clean for you.” To counteract his sin of extortion, Jesus tells him to give alms. The root of the sin, greed for money, is counteracted by the very giving away of that attachment. In doing so, the Pharisee not only does justice to his neighbor but also works to remove his heart’s attachment.

As bodily creatures, interior transformation requires our whole person, both body and soul. If we are angry with someone, we can counteract it by considering the good in that person. If we are experiencing spiritual lethargy, we can add an extra Mass a week. Jesus carries out the work of transformation, but he does so in a way that calls us to put forth an effort.

Alex Coffey, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the U.S. Central and Southern Province studying philosophy at Saint Louis University.

Prayer

I beg of you, my Lord,
to remove anything which separates
me from you, and you from me.

Remove anything that makes me unworthy
of your sight, your control, your reprehension;
of your speech and conversation,
of your benevolence and love.

Cast from me every evil
that stands in the way of my seeing you,
hearing, tasting, savoring, and touching you;
fearing and being mindful of you;
knowing, trusting, loving, and possessing you;
being conscious of your presence
and, as far as may be, enjoying you.

This is what I ask for myself
and earnestly desire from you. Amen.

—St. Peter Faber, SJ


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October 14, 2019

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.

My failure to recognize the One who is among us.

Jesus’ words are harsh; is he talking to me? I am tempted to exclude myself, but I tend to seek signs, while ignoring the ones in plain sight. I condemn myself in my failure to recognize the One among us, the One who is greater than Jonah, or Solomon, the One who is in the destitute, the disenfranchised, who exists on the margins; the One I walk by every day, without truly seeing. 

St. Ignatius asks “What more can I do for Christ?” It might start with me actually noticing him. I so often compartmentalize my commitment to seeing the One. I make my solidarity with the One a mental exercise, free of Incarnation. I ask for signs, but the signs are all around me.

I want to believe Jesus is talking about those people, but I cannot assume this; he is talking to me, and it is Wisdom. May I be attentive.

Tom Murray teaches Theology at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

Lord, as I work out my salvation in fear and trembling, allow me to feel discomfort, to never rest in my desire to serve you, to see you in the faces of all who suffer, and to heed your words, especially the ones that are difficult to hear. Help me to never rest until the race has been run, and to heed the Wisdom you give to all who will listen.

—Tom Murray


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Welcome to Pray.ignatius.org

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, 2019

Lk 12: 39-48

‘But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.’

Peter said, ‘Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?’ And the Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and prudent manager whom his master will put in charge of his slaves, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. But if that slave says to himself, “My master is delayed in coming”, and if he begins to beat the other slaves, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the unfaithful. 

That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. But one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded

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.

Paying attention to the magis

Have you ever missed your exit or bus stop on a daily commute because you zoned out? The combination of the routine’s familiarity and the busy day clouding your head can make it easy to do.

So too can habit, busyness, stress, or boredom affect our collaboration with Jesus in our daily life.

We enter the routine: start the day in prayer, be kind to strangers we encounter, have patience with our coworkers and family, attend Mass on Sundays, donate to a charity we support, and so on.

But are we really awake?  Are we attentive to the new and creative ways Jesus might be asking us to collaborate with him?  Are we using our time, gifts, energy, talents and voice to care for our master’s possessions, that is to say God’s world and God’s people?

Are we paying attention to the magis Jesus calls us to today?

—Amy Ketner is the Coordinator of Hispanic/Latino Ministry at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.

Prayer

Dear Lord, help me keep my eyes on you…To you I want to give all that I am.  Let me be generous, not stingy or hesitant. Let me give you all – all that I have, think, do, and feel.  It is yours, O Lord. Please accept it and make it fully your own.

—Henri Nouwen


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October 22, 2019

Rom 5:12, 15B, 17-19, 20B-21

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned—

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. 

If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 

But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification* leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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.

Christ, the New Adam, and Mary, the New Eve

In my room hangs the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. As in most depictions of Mary, she is holding the child Jesus. In this particular image, two angels are depicted above her shoulders. The angel above her left is holding the cross and nails, and the one above her right is holding the spear with which Jesus was pierced and the wine-soaked sponge. Mary’s countenance is sorrowful, giving the impression that it is she who will one day give her son over to the cross. But the life that came from this cross, and that continues to come from it through the life of the Church, especially through the sacramental life, is that very life that Paul speaks of to the Romans. 

As Adam and Eve brought death and sin into the world through their disobedience, Jesus, who takes flesh in the womb of Mary, reverses this by going to the cross. The “yes” of Mary, the new “mother of all the living,” brought about the abundance of grace that gives us life. May she always help us say “yes” to the will of her Son.

Alex Coffey, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the U.S. Central and Southern Province studying philosophy at Saint Louis University.

Prayer

Holy Mary, my Queen, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son.

Amen.

—Adaptation of the Prayer of St. Aloysius to the Blessed Mother


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October 21, 2019

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.

Are we truly ready to offer everything to God?

Every time I say the Suscipe prayer I feel like a fraud.  Do I really mean what I am saying?  “Take Lord and receive…all I have and call my own.”  Am I willing to give everything to God; to see everything I have as gifts to be used to spread God’s love? More often, I view my possessions as things I’ve earned through my own work to do with what I want. I want to mean what I pray. “You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it.” I want to be Ignatianly indifferent, but I fall short.   

Like the rich fool in today’s Gospel, I make plans, stock-up, calculate, and prepare for the future.  I know that these are not categorically bad actions as long as my perspective is right. All of my possessions and actions are only good in so far as I use them to perform God’s will.  Too often I do only what is easy and comfortable. I think that because I am the one holding the steering wheel that I am the one driving. I forget that Jesus is under the hood doing the real work.  

How can I make sure to place God at my center today? How can I make sure my plans, projects, purchases, transactions, conversations, and interactions all lead me to achieve that for which I was created?

Jerry Kinney teachers Spanish, directs Operation Others, and is the Retreats Director at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

—Suscipe of St. Ignatius of Loyola


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October 20, 2019

Lk 18:1-8 

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 

For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” 

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

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.

Patterns and persistence in prayer

Like the persistent widow in today’s parable, St. Ignatius teaches us to identify and petition God for the graces we desire. Through a repeated cycle of asking, reflecting on what we are asking for, and our asking once again, we come to discover themes and patterns embedded in our all of our askings.

Many days I fail to express my hearts desires. Why? Perhaps because I sense that God already knows, so why bother, or that my penchant for self-deception makes me question their appropriateness, or that God is only interested in my pieties not my petitions. Other times it’s out of fear: God is too uninvolved to care, or that my deepest heart-longings won’t be satisfied, or conversely, that they will be, resulting in a radical life change. 

What might the patterns in your prayer be telling you about God, others, and yourself? What prevents you from asking the Giver of all good gifts to satisfy your deepest desires?

—Christopher Alt, SJ, is a member of the Midwest Jesuits. He writes for The Jesuit Post and is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

Giver of all good gifts, shine your light in my prayer. Help me to see my deepest desires and, by your Spirit, give me persistence to overcome obstacles that prevent me from seeking your Reign. If I feel stuck, give me the grace to trust in grace. Amen.  

—Christopher Alt, SJ


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October 19, 2019

Sts. John de Brebeuf, SJ, Isaac Jogues, SJ, and companions, Jesuit martyrs of North America

Rom 4:13, 16-18

For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us).

As it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations” —in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.”

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.

 On Faith

What is it to say that we have faith? That we are faithful?  That faith will lead us home? The first reading today reminds us that faith not only guides us but invites us to consider that our journey with Christ is guided by more than a rule, a policy, or a law.  Through faith, and our belief in the presence and loving guidance of God in our lives, we continue our journey as his humble followers here on earth. He is always with us, and our faith confirms that blessing!

Bernadette Gillick is a Marquette University alumna, and a former Clinical Instructor for Creighton University’s Institute for Latin American Concern.  Her ministry continues as a clinical researcher discovering treatments for stroke during infancy.

Prayer

Lord, please guide me on my journey in faith. Be there rocks and roots along the trail, allow me to recognize your love and compassion which leads me throughout each day. 

—Bernadette Gillick


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October 18, 2019

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.

Who do we follow on mission?

In today’s Gospel, St. Luke reflects on the challenges of sharing a message.  Jesus meets with outright resistance from some, and even friends who are distracted by the needs of the present world.  We can all appreciate this struggle as we likely know from our own experience how hard it is to convince even close friends of a new idea.  We also know how much easier it is to give in to immediate desires than to attend to long term goals. We may want the ideal, the “glorious splendor of the kingdom”, but we mere mortals are forever distracted by the latest bright, shiny object.  

St. John recognizes what an honor it is to be chosen to serve a great mission.  St. Luke tells of Jesus sending his disciples out to be like lambs among wolves – and we know many stories of this being literally true.  What great courage it takes to face such a challenge. Lambs need a reliable sheepdog.

Fred O’Connor is an alumnus of Loyola Academy and College of the Holy Cross and is a member of the JFAN Advisory Board in Chicago.  He works as a financial advisor living in Evanston, IL.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, we ask you now
to help us to remain with you always,
to be close to you with all the ardor of our hearts,
to take up joyfully the mission you entrust us,
and that is to continue your presence
and spread the good news of your resurrection.

—Carlo Maria Martini, SJ


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October 17, 2019

St. Ignatius of Antioch

Lk 11: 47-54

Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. So you are witnesses and approve of the deeds of your ancestors; for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ so that this generation may be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. 

Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against this generation. Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.” When he went outside, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile toward him and to cross-examine him about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might 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.

A model for interacting with enemies

In today’s Gospel, Jesus chides the scholars of the law, and their response can only be described as mean-spirited; the text says “hostile … lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.” How often do we see this in the public sphere today? Someone speaks out about an issue, and news anchors or anonymous internet users overanalyze every aspect of the speaker’s life, questioning intentions, and seek to invalidate and dismiss the person. But at the start of the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius enjoins the director of the retreatant to take on a “presupposition” of goodwill — namely that the director should be “more ready to put a good interpretation on another’s statement than to condemn it as false.” This can be a model for our interaction with others, especially those we don’t like being around. How can you love your enemies today?

Beau Guedry is a former Alum Service Corps volunteer who now teaches science and coordinates liturgy at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory School in Houston. 

Prayer

Prayer for Generosity

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve You as You deserve;
To give, and not to count the cost;
To fight, and not to heed the wounds;
To toil, and not to seek for rest;
To labor, and not to ask for reward,
Save that of knowing that I do Your will.
Amen.

—St. Ignatius of Loyola


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October 16, 2019

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.

Overcoming undue burdens

Whenever Jesus gets stern, I find myself paying close attention, as is true today when he scolds the prideful Pharisees and overbearing lawyers. 

While we may not be tithing mint, rue and herbs, it’s still easy to get caught up in rules, and online giving or weekly envelopes. When we obsess over prerequisites to the Sacraments, or concentrate on our (or others’) unworthiness to be in relationship with God, we lose focus. 

Jesus says his burden is light and easy, and promises rest for the weary (Mt 11:28-30).  Our faith is not about how much we tithe, how many committees we lead, or how well we fit the ideal Christian mold.  Rather, it’s about humbly learning to love and be loved. It’s about finding rest in Jesus, and helping others to do the same.

What are the unnecessary burdens I place on myself or others, hindering relationship with God?   

—Amy Ketner is the Coordinator of Hispanic/Latino Ministry at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.

Prayer

Thank you, God, for grounding us in love.  Help us to discern the areas in our life where we are motivated by pride, rather than by justice and compassion.  Give us the courage to speak up, as Jesus did, when we witness others placing too heavy a load on our neighbors. 

—Amy Ketner


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October 15, 2019

St. Teresa of Avila

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.

Making our hearts match our actions

Jesus’ address to the Pharisee teaches us that exterior actions are crucial for interior transformation. He tells the Pharisee, “inside you are full of extortion and wickedness… But give for alms those things that are within; and, behold, everything is clean for you.” To counteract his sin of extortion, Jesus tells him to give alms. The root of the sin, greed for money, is counteracted by the very giving away of that attachment. In doing so, the Pharisee not only does justice to his neighbor but also works to remove his heart’s attachment.

As bodily creatures, interior transformation requires our whole person, both body and soul. If we are angry with someone, we can counteract it by considering the good in that person. If we are experiencing spiritual lethargy, we can add an extra Mass a week. Jesus carries out the work of transformation, but he does so in a way that calls us to put forth an effort.

Alex Coffey, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the U.S. Central and Southern Province studying philosophy at Saint Louis University.

Prayer

I beg of you, my Lord,
to remove anything which separates
me from you, and you from me.

Remove anything that makes me unworthy
of your sight, your control, your reprehension;
of your speech and conversation,
of your benevolence and love.

Cast from me every evil
that stands in the way of my seeing you,
hearing, tasting, savoring, and touching you;
fearing and being mindful of you;
knowing, trusting, loving, and possessing you;
being conscious of your presence
and, as far as may be, enjoying you.

This is what I ask for myself
and earnestly desire from you. Amen.

—St. Peter Faber, SJ


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October 14, 2019

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.

My failure to recognize the One who is among us.

Jesus’ words are harsh; is he talking to me? I am tempted to exclude myself, but I tend to seek signs, while ignoring the ones in plain sight. I condemn myself in my failure to recognize the One among us, the One who is greater than Jonah, or Solomon, the One who is in the destitute, the disenfranchised, who exists on the margins; the One I walk by every day, without truly seeing. 

St. Ignatius asks “What more can I do for Christ?” It might start with me actually noticing him. I so often compartmentalize my commitment to seeing the One. I make my solidarity with the One a mental exercise, free of Incarnation. I ask for signs, but the signs are all around me.

I want to believe Jesus is talking about those people, but I cannot assume this; he is talking to me, and it is Wisdom. May I be attentive.

Tom Murray teaches Theology at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

Lord, as I work out my salvation in fear and trembling, allow me to feel discomfort, to never rest in my desire to serve you, to see you in the faces of all who suffer, and to heed your words, especially the ones that are difficult to hear. Help me to never rest until the race has been run, and to heed the Wisdom you give to all who will listen.

—Tom Murray


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