Loving and ever-present God,
help us be attentive to you today,
so that we may live in your love
in all we are and do.
Lord, grant that I may see you more clearly,
love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly,
day by day.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola (Spiritual Exercises #104)
Eye has not seen,ear has not heard
what God has ready for those who love him;
Spirit of love, come give us the mind of Jesus,
teach us the wisdom of God.
—Refrain of Eye Has Not Seen by Marty Haugen, © 1982, GIA Publications, Inc.
Love consists in sharing
what one has
and what one is
with those one loves.
Love is showing itself in deeds
more than in words.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola
Sometimes, the old-fashioned language and complex theological concepts of Scripture can make the Bible difficult to understand. Not so with the Letter of St. James, which has been appearing in the lectionary this week. I love the plain way James lays down the law, challenging his readers to treat those on the margins of society with honor and dignity. My initial response to today’s first reading was, “Right on, James. You tell those hypocrites who judge others based on wealth or appearance.” But I must hold up the passage as a mirror: How am I doing at loving the poor? Would James see my daily life choices and think I was living the Gospel? Am I really what Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, called a “man for others”? Perhaps sometimes, but not as consistently as I’d like. I still waste food and money, I turn away from a beggar at the subway station. The challenge of St. James is a stark one for all of us.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ
If you are able—All things can be done for the one who believes.
The Gifts Examen, based on Galatians 5:22
This is a way to pray the Examen in order to foster growth and enactment in virtue. We begin with the fruits of the Holy Spirit:
Thursday- Kindness and Goodness
Saturday- Gentleness and Self-Control
In the evening, when you are making your usual Examen prayer, thank God for the gifts of the day, and ask God to help you honestly bring an appreciative awareness to the day. Notice where you found God and where you may have turned from God.
Then explore, with God’s grace. how you lived out the day’s virtue. Pay attention to opportunities you were given to enact today’s virtue and how you responded to those opportunities… Accept and respond or reject and react?
Ask God’s forgiveness and healing as you need and look to tomorrow in anticipation of opportunities to enact the next day’s virtue.
Close with an Our Father or a Glory Be.
—Fr. Joe Tetlow, SJ
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 to us,
and that is to continue your presence
and spread the good news of your resurrection.
—Carlo Maria Martini, SJ
Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ, says “There are spaces of sorrow only God can touch.”
Lord, touch these places in our hearts.
—The Jesuit Prayer team