Moses did everything just as the Lord had commanded him. In the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was set up. Moses set up the tabernacle; he laid its bases, and set up its frames, and put in its poles, and raised up its pillars; and he spread the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent over it; as the Lord had commanded Moses. He took the covenant and put it into the ark, and put the poles on the ark, and set the mercy seat above the ark;and he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the curtain for screening, and screened the ark of the covenant; as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on each stage of their journey; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel at each stage of their journey.
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.
It feels strange to say I envy the lives of the Israelites in the first reading. Though they were rooted in the Lord, they didn’t have roots in a home or any of the modern day conveniences that I experience. Yet, I wish that all I had to do was look for a cloud to know where God was pulling me. If the cloud moved or stayed, I would know whether to move on or buckle down in a challenging situation. Instead, my life is filled with technology, social media, and a constantly busy schedule. Juggling text messages, emails, and meetings in and outside of work prevents me from paying attention to the one constant that grounds me. Maybe God IS sending me a cloud, but I’m missing it!
Moses’ behavior remains relevant to us today. He took the time to erect a Dwelling, following each intentional detail to provide a sacred space. This sacred space allowed the Israelites to pay attention. Gratefully, Ignatius calls us to find God in all things. We can build a Dwelling that suits our style and relationship with the one who loved us into being. In that space, we can pay attention to how God moves and calls us, perhaps without a cloud, in our everyday experiences. Today, the invitation is to find an intentional way of creating space for God to enter and show us how we are invited to move.
—Lauren Schwer is the Associate Director of Campus Ministry at Loyola University Chicago.
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