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Living by a child’s framework

Children are such special gifts to each of us and to the world. The way they come to a space is so honest, innocent and caring. “Cura Personalis” (care for the whole person) is embedded into the core of their being. Accepting others without judgment is the framework they use in life. How beautiful our world would be if we lived by children’s framework.

Jesus tells us to come like children. If we did that, what a different world this would be. Then, the kingdom of heaven would belong to us. The question I pose today for you is: How do we transition to this? How do we prevent our children from assimilating to the adult way of living which is not always encompassing “Cura Personalis.”

Dr. Phyllis Graham-Dickerson is a professor and assistant dean at Regis University, Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions, Loretto Heights School of Nursing for seven years, with a tenure of 17 years on the nursing faculty.

 


Jesus offers what we deeply desire

It is too  easy to get distracted by the end of this passage about giving up everything.  I believe an essential detail here is that this passage begins with the young man seeking out Jesus.  Jesus is not going around, unprompted, demanding people give away everything. This young man asks.  He wants more.  And to get what he deeply desires, will demand something major of him.  Something he may not be quite ready for. But I like to imagine him going home, staying up all night thinking, and then just showing up quietly a week or so later having done what Jesus said, because he realizes he is right.   Jesus knows what we deeply desire and how we can actually get it. Jesus does not want us to be half satisfied, and therefore half measures will not help us. So what do we deeply desire, and how might Jesus be telling us we can have it?   

Megan Agliano teaches in religious studies at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, AZ.  

 


Choosing the good of the other

In her book The Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris quotes a monk who lived in a small monastery in Colorado: “Our biggest problem is that each man here had a mother who fried potatoes in a different way.” I have never been a monk, but I am married, and the quote rings true to me as a husband. As Jesus says in today’s Gospel, a married couple becomes one flesh, which happens in a myriad of ways. We bring all our experiences to a marriage and quickly realize the ways we grew up doing things like decorating the Christmas tree, watching TV every night or rarely watching it, or cooking potatoes can be sources of tension and conflict.

“One-flesh” marriage means choosing the good of the other over my own biases and my commitment to being right all the time. It means big and small sacrifices, over and over, every single day.

—Mike Jordan Laskey is the Senior Communications Director of the Jesuit Conference in Washington DC and an alum of Contemplative Leaders in Action in Philadelphia.

 


Mary’s message of hope

Anyone who has been, or has accompanied, someone who hoped and prayed for a child, facing loss and discouragement, can imagine the joy that Mary and Elizabeth shared. After many years of hoping by Elizabeth, a baby was on the way! And Mary came with news about her own baby that must have filled them both with joy and wonder.

Few of Mary’s words are recorded in the Gospels, but what amazing words these are. God is making everything new! God is reaching out and favoring those at the bottom of society’s ladder. God has remembered all the things promised in the covenant with Abraham. The people’s hopes for generations are coming true! Let us celebrate today with Mary and her message of hope in God. 

Beth Franzosa teaches in the Religious Studies department at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School

 


Following Jesus, the new Moses

The death of Moses led to the choice of Joshua as his immediate successor.  In truth, Jesus is the new Moses. The signs and wonders performed by Moses are all fulfilled in the Word of God, the Christ.  It’s important to remember that the Church Jesus promised to build was not only the universal (“catholic”) sacrament of salvation for all peoples, but also the fulfillment of the Mosaic law. None of God’s commands were abandoned, but Jesus reaffirmed the Ten Commandments with the two great commands to love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

We too fulfill God’s call to spread the Good News. The same power that drew the people of Israel to follow Moses now draws us to follow Jesus.  Perhaps as we review these movements of salvation history, we too express our gratitude for the might and terrifying power of the Word of God given in Christ. 

—Kathy England is a Pastoral Associate at St. Francis Xavier Church in Cincinnati, OH.

 


Risk going after the lost

As a young Jesuit, I spent several months on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation. It was the heart of winter, and we would occasionally see cattle who had gotten lost and frozen to death. A parishioner who was a rancher explained that this was more or less normal. “You never like it,” he said, “but you try to take care of as many as you can. You can’t always stop the odd stray.” 

Jesus makes a different calculation. Unwilling to accept that even a single ‘little one’ be lost, he proposes the image of a shepherd willing to risk whatever might happen to the other ninety-nine in the hills in order to find the lost little one. 

Who are the little ones who I know are lost, the ones I’m tempted to shrug off as “just one of those things?” What am I willing to leave behind or risk to go find the lost one?

Fr. Matt Spotts, SJ, is a recently ordained priest of the Midwest Jesuits serving as an associate pastor at Ss. Joseph-St. Francis Xavier parish in Wilmette, IL as well as doing pastoral ministry at Loyola Academy in Wilmette.

 


Law given out of love

In the Ethics class I teach to juniors, I try to emphasize the idea that good rules and just laws are rooted in love, and not simply control or obedience.  I tell my young daughter not to run into the middle of the street, not because I wish to control her, but because I cherish her and this “command” keeps her alive so I can be with her. 

Today’s first reading reminds us it is the same with God’s commands.  God does not demand obedience for the sake of control, but desires relationship with us.  God desires us to be happy and healthy and loved. Following God’s law helps create the space for God to do amazing things.  God’s law is about our hearts. Remembering God’s generosity helps us to stay close, honor God’s commands and extend generosity to others.  

Megan Agliano teaches in religious studies at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, AZ.  

 


Faith outside of ourselves

Abraham and Sarah set out on a long journey without knowing where they were going. They move about from place to place like displaced people, even though they are on their own land. And they are convinced that from bodies which are “as good as dead” new life is about to come. Their lives are thus marked by a not-knowing, not-having, not-being-able that seems to belie what they do know, have, and are able to do. This tells us something vital about faith. 

Because “faith is the assurance of things hoped for,” Christians can sometimes have the impression that faith is above all something we have in ourselves, just like knowledge or possessions or abilities. Strangely though, faith—like hope and love—is something we have outside ourselves, since its foundation lies outside of us in God. Faith consists in believing in God’s faithfulness, just as Sarah “considered him faithful who had promised.” This not-having on our own means that we come to share all that God has and wishes to give to us.

—Fr. Matthew Baugh, SJ, is a member of the USA Central and Southern Province and serves as the associate pastor of St. Francis Xavier (College) Church in St. Louis.

 


Sharing abundantly

When reading this text, what comes to mind are the Jesuit terms magis and cura personalis. The magis addresses the need to sow “more” or “greater.” In essence, doing more, living more for Christ, which leads to doing more for others. We want to focus more on living and sharing abundantly and move away from scarcity.

Care for the entire person (cura personalis), which includes sharing, planting seeds of truth, will lead to an abundant harvest of our righteousness.

How do we form the ideal society that is centered on Christ through the philosophy of magis and cura personalis?  

Dr. Phyllis Graham-Dickerson is a professor and assistant dean at Regis University, Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions, Loretto Heights School of Nursing for seven years, with a tenure of 17 years on the nursing faculty.

 


Accepting Jesus’ offer

I’m a big fan of NBA basketball. Each summer, teams around the league jostle with each other to recruit the best free agents, luring players with promises of stardom, a winning culture and, most importantly, boatloads of money. Not very similar to Jesus’s recruiting pitch in today’s Gospel, to say the least! “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

The life Jesus offers us is not easy or comfortable. Discipleship doesn’t come with huge salaries and flattering photos of ourselves on billboards. What are we promised instead? Accompaniment during our trials, joy-filled community of faith, immense beauty, love beyond comprehension. You can’t put a price tag on any of those things, and they’re not worth much in a market economy. But in following Jesus together as sisters and brothers, we can glimpse the eternal and find life’s true meaning.

—Mike Jordan Laskey is the Senior Communications Director of the Jesuit Conference in Washington DC and an alum of Contemplative Leaders in Action in Philadelphia.

 


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Living by a child’s framework

Children are such special gifts to each of us and to the world. The way they come to a space is so honest, innocent and caring. “Cura Personalis” (care for the whole person) is embedded into the core of their being. Accepting others without judgment is the framework they use in life. How beautiful our world would be if we lived by children’s framework.

Jesus tells us to come like children. If we did that, what a different world this would be. Then, the kingdom of heaven would belong to us. The question I pose today for you is: How do we transition to this? How do we prevent our children from assimilating to the adult way of living which is not always encompassing “Cura Personalis.”

Dr. Phyllis Graham-Dickerson is a professor and assistant dean at Regis University, Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions, Loretto Heights School of Nursing for seven years, with a tenure of 17 years on the nursing faculty.

 


Jesus offers what we deeply desire

It is too  easy to get distracted by the end of this passage about giving up everything.  I believe an essential detail here is that this passage begins with the young man seeking out Jesus.  Jesus is not going around, unprompted, demanding people give away everything. This young man asks.  He wants more.  And to get what he deeply desires, will demand something major of him.  Something he may not be quite ready for. But I like to imagine him going home, staying up all night thinking, and then just showing up quietly a week or so later having done what Jesus said, because he realizes he is right.   Jesus knows what we deeply desire and how we can actually get it. Jesus does not want us to be half satisfied, and therefore half measures will not help us. So what do we deeply desire, and how might Jesus be telling us we can have it?   

Megan Agliano teaches in religious studies at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, AZ.  

 


Choosing the good of the other

In her book The Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris quotes a monk who lived in a small monastery in Colorado: “Our biggest problem is that each man here had a mother who fried potatoes in a different way.” I have never been a monk, but I am married, and the quote rings true to me as a husband. As Jesus says in today’s Gospel, a married couple becomes one flesh, which happens in a myriad of ways. We bring all our experiences to a marriage and quickly realize the ways we grew up doing things like decorating the Christmas tree, watching TV every night or rarely watching it, or cooking potatoes can be sources of tension and conflict.

“One-flesh” marriage means choosing the good of the other over my own biases and my commitment to being right all the time. It means big and small sacrifices, over and over, every single day.

—Mike Jordan Laskey is the Senior Communications Director of the Jesuit Conference in Washington DC and an alum of Contemplative Leaders in Action in Philadelphia.

 


Mary’s message of hope

Anyone who has been, or has accompanied, someone who hoped and prayed for a child, facing loss and discouragement, can imagine the joy that Mary and Elizabeth shared. After many years of hoping by Elizabeth, a baby was on the way! And Mary came with news about her own baby that must have filled them both with joy and wonder.

Few of Mary’s words are recorded in the Gospels, but what amazing words these are. God is making everything new! God is reaching out and favoring those at the bottom of society’s ladder. God has remembered all the things promised in the covenant with Abraham. The people’s hopes for generations are coming true! Let us celebrate today with Mary and her message of hope in God. 

Beth Franzosa teaches in the Religious Studies department at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School

 


Following Jesus, the new Moses

The death of Moses led to the choice of Joshua as his immediate successor.  In truth, Jesus is the new Moses. The signs and wonders performed by Moses are all fulfilled in the Word of God, the Christ.  It’s important to remember that the Church Jesus promised to build was not only the universal (“catholic”) sacrament of salvation for all peoples, but also the fulfillment of the Mosaic law. None of God’s commands were abandoned, but Jesus reaffirmed the Ten Commandments with the two great commands to love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

We too fulfill God’s call to spread the Good News. The same power that drew the people of Israel to follow Moses now draws us to follow Jesus.  Perhaps as we review these movements of salvation history, we too express our gratitude for the might and terrifying power of the Word of God given in Christ. 

—Kathy England is a Pastoral Associate at St. Francis Xavier Church in Cincinnati, OH.

 


Risk going after the lost

As a young Jesuit, I spent several months on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation. It was the heart of winter, and we would occasionally see cattle who had gotten lost and frozen to death. A parishioner who was a rancher explained that this was more or less normal. “You never like it,” he said, “but you try to take care of as many as you can. You can’t always stop the odd stray.” 

Jesus makes a different calculation. Unwilling to accept that even a single ‘little one’ be lost, he proposes the image of a shepherd willing to risk whatever might happen to the other ninety-nine in the hills in order to find the lost little one. 

Who are the little ones who I know are lost, the ones I’m tempted to shrug off as “just one of those things?” What am I willing to leave behind or risk to go find the lost one?

Fr. Matt Spotts, SJ, is a recently ordained priest of the Midwest Jesuits serving as an associate pastor at Ss. Joseph-St. Francis Xavier parish in Wilmette, IL as well as doing pastoral ministry at Loyola Academy in Wilmette.

 


Law given out of love

In the Ethics class I teach to juniors, I try to emphasize the idea that good rules and just laws are rooted in love, and not simply control or obedience.  I tell my young daughter not to run into the middle of the street, not because I wish to control her, but because I cherish her and this “command” keeps her alive so I can be with her. 

Today’s first reading reminds us it is the same with God’s commands.  God does not demand obedience for the sake of control, but desires relationship with us.  God desires us to be happy and healthy and loved. Following God’s law helps create the space for God to do amazing things.  God’s law is about our hearts. Remembering God’s generosity helps us to stay close, honor God’s commands and extend generosity to others.  

Megan Agliano teaches in religious studies at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, AZ.  

 


Faith outside of ourselves

Abraham and Sarah set out on a long journey without knowing where they were going. They move about from place to place like displaced people, even though they are on their own land. And they are convinced that from bodies which are “as good as dead” new life is about to come. Their lives are thus marked by a not-knowing, not-having, not-being-able that seems to belie what they do know, have, and are able to do. This tells us something vital about faith. 

Because “faith is the assurance of things hoped for,” Christians can sometimes have the impression that faith is above all something we have in ourselves, just like knowledge or possessions or abilities. Strangely though, faith—like hope and love—is something we have outside ourselves, since its foundation lies outside of us in God. Faith consists in believing in God’s faithfulness, just as Sarah “considered him faithful who had promised.” This not-having on our own means that we come to share all that God has and wishes to give to us.

—Fr. Matthew Baugh, SJ, is a member of the USA Central and Southern Province and serves as the associate pastor of St. Francis Xavier (College) Church in St. Louis.

 


Sharing abundantly

When reading this text, what comes to mind are the Jesuit terms magis and cura personalis. The magis addresses the need to sow “more” or “greater.” In essence, doing more, living more for Christ, which leads to doing more for others. We want to focus more on living and sharing abundantly and move away from scarcity.

Care for the entire person (cura personalis), which includes sharing, planting seeds of truth, will lead to an abundant harvest of our righteousness.

How do we form the ideal society that is centered on Christ through the philosophy of magis and cura personalis?  

Dr. Phyllis Graham-Dickerson is a professor and assistant dean at Regis University, Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions, Loretto Heights School of Nursing for seven years, with a tenure of 17 years on the nursing faculty.

 


Accepting Jesus’ offer

I’m a big fan of NBA basketball. Each summer, teams around the league jostle with each other to recruit the best free agents, luring players with promises of stardom, a winning culture and, most importantly, boatloads of money. Not very similar to Jesus’s recruiting pitch in today’s Gospel, to say the least! “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

The life Jesus offers us is not easy or comfortable. Discipleship doesn’t come with huge salaries and flattering photos of ourselves on billboards. What are we promised instead? Accompaniment during our trials, joy-filled community of faith, immense beauty, love beyond comprehension. You can’t put a price tag on any of those things, and they’re not worth much in a market economy. But in following Jesus together as sisters and brothers, we can glimpse the eternal and find life’s true meaning.

—Mike Jordan Laskey is the Senior Communications Director of the Jesuit Conference in Washington DC and an alum of Contemplative Leaders in Action in Philadelphia.