Moved to Greater Love
Moved to Greater Love

Wednesday, March 26

Today's Grace

I pray for the grace to recognize how and where my disordered attachments have kept me from following God more fully and freely.

Scripture/Reading

Reading via the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website:

Mk 10:17-22
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.

You know the commandments: ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.’”

He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to [the] poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

From the De statu Societatis, the 2012 summary of the state of the Society of Jesus in the world by Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás:

A fourth area of concern is perhaps the one alluded to most frequently in the reports, namely a disordered relationship to work. As I mentioned earlier, many reports from all over the world speak of Jesuits being overworked and over-extended. Connected with this is an excessive attachment both to work and to works.

  • To work: that is, some Jesuits tend to find their value in what they do, in achievement, or they tend to focus on work primarily as a professional matter, so to speak, more than with a spiritual vision of serving Christ’s mission.
  • To works: which means being overly attached to existing apostolic ministries to the point that it becomes impossible to discern, and if needed, to let go or hand over what we can no longer take responsibility for.

I understand that it is very difficult to end a service, to reach an end-point in a good initiative. And yet there is no other way to remain free for apostolic discernment. The real risk is for us to become so over-extended that we become unable to offer depth of spiritual insight and of creative response, and perhaps even undermine what we have done well in the past. We cannot afford to lose the credibility that the Society earned in its past apostolic history. The Church expects from us depth and spirit. Overwork and over-extension do not help us offer this service to the Church and to people.

Reflection Questions

  1. What do I find most fulfilling in my work/works?
  2. To what extent do I find my value — my identity — in my work/works?
  3. Does achievement and success with respect to my work/works free me “to offer depth of spiritual insight and of creative response” or trap me within the cycle of “success”? I speak to God honestly about my attitude toward achievement and success.
  4. What is ordered and disordered about my attitude to work/works?
  5. How do I keep holy the Sabbath?

Reflection


“Sisyphus”
by Titian, 1549


“Prisoners” by Michelangelo

Photo: www.flickr.com/photos/48431000@N03/11088456883/in/explore-2013-11-27/

Other Resources

View the daily readings at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website.

Jesuit Hermes Poen, a young scholastic writing to his superior, Jesuit St. Peter Faber in 1546:

To put your mind at rest I want to assure you that in God’s Goodness I have my old health back again, except that my feet are not yet quite what they should be. They are still too weak to use. On the feast of St. Paul I left the house for the first time to do some walking and to get some recreation. When I left the house I was in fine shape, but on my return I had reached the point where I was unable to stand any longer … In your letter you told me that after my recovery I could stay here if I so wished or I could go to Madrid. You know what is best for me and I leave the matter to your judgment and decision. If you want me to stay here, that I shall do. If you want me at Alcala, I shall go there. If you choose Gandia, Gandia is agreeable to me. I am ready, it making no difference to me, to set out for Flanders, Brabant, Portugal, Italy, France, India, Arabia, should you so wish. And if I cannot walk, I shall crawl.

Music: "Durch dein Gefängnis" from “St. John Passion” by Johann Sebastian Bach
www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaYFGlokI8I

Durch dein Gefängnis, Gottes Sohn,
Muß uns die Freiheit kommen;
Dein Kerker ist der Gnadenthron,
Die Freistatt aller Frommen;
Denn gingst du nicht die Knechtschaft ein,
Müßt unsre Knechtschaft ewig sein.

Through Your prison, Son of God,
must freedom come to us;
Your cell is the throne of grace,
the sanctuary of all the righteous;
for if you had not undergone servitude,
our slavery would have been eternal.

Song: “Shackles” by Mandisa

Song: “Suitcases” by Dara Maclean

Song: “Can’t Get There From Here” by R.E.M.
www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/rem/cantgettherefromhere.html (lyrics)





Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America - 9/15/14

America - 9/1/14

America - 8/18/14





Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House
Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House, located in Grand Coteau, La., has provided a beautiful setting for retreats since 1938.