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May 23, 2019

Jn 15: 9-11

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

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.

Remain in My Love

Think of a time, or a place, in which you longed to remain – when you wanted to freeze time so you could stay in that place or savor that moment, just a little bit longer. Take a minute, to sit with that feeling. Now, bring that feeling with you as you move yourself into today’s Gospel.  Jesus invites us to abide, or remain, in his love, and he is very deliberate in helping us understand the “how” and the “why” of remaining in his love. While the words how and why can be used to ask the same question, the answers you’ll get will be very different. For example: “How do you make a cake?” versus “Why did you make a cake?” How asks, “by what means?” And why asks, “for what reason?” When we understand both how and why, we are more likely to “do” – to demonstrate our understanding in concrete and actionable ways.

So, how are we to remain in God’s love? By keeping God’s commandments. Why? So that our “joy may be complete.” Remember that the foundation of this joy is God’s unconditional, eternal, enduring, abiding love for you. Take time today to remain in it.

Jackie Schulte is the Dean of Faculty Formation and a history teacher at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

O holy Heart of Jesus, dwell hidden in my heart, so that I may live only in you and only for you, so that, in the end, I may live with you eternally in heaven.

—St. Claude La Colombière, SJ

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 22, 2019

Jn 15: 1-8

”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

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.

Remain in him

The Holy Trinity is present in our lives and alive in this passage. Whether it is the creator of the vine, the vine itself, or the spirit from the vine that allows us to grow as branches. All of us are linked and in relationship with God and one another. God remains in me, but do I always choose to remain in him? The honest answer, I pray, is most of the time. This is why I do the Jesuit daily examen prayer at the end of every day. Through the examen, I reflect on the moments during my day when I remained in God and what moments I did not so that everything I am and do in this life is for the greater glory of God (A.M.D.G).

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, CO.

Prayer

Dear Lord, during this Easter Season we prayer for the desire and ability to search for your presence in our everyday lives within our relationships and in all that we do. For it is only through you and with you, can we live a life of unconditional love and hope glorifying your name.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 21, 2019

Jn 14: 27-31a

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.

I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me;but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.

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.

The gift of peace

My morning ritual involves a quick perusal of the headlines of the New York Times. I scroll until I find a story with some semblance of hope. Sometimes it takes until the Arts & Leisure section. Other times it doesn’t happen at all.

The “world” doesn’t come off too hot in today’s Gospel, and I can see why. Our planet seems to be on the verge of catastrophe. Millions of refugees are displaced from their homelands. War continues be waged in Afghanistan, Yemen, and South Sudan. I don’t know the “ruler of this world” to whom Jesus is referring, but whoever it is not doing a very good job.

And yet, amid all this strife, God offers us the gift of peace. It is not a false peace that denies our problems. Instead, it is a reminder that we are created for something more than this world. May we find in this promise renewed vigor to bring as much love and hope that we can to a world that desperately needs it.

—Dan Dixon, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the Midwest Province currently working at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland to create the Welsh Academy, a grades 6-8 middle school for families of modest economic means.

Prayer

What I would like to leave behind is a simple prayer that each of you may find what I have found – God’s special gift to us all: the gift of peace. When we are at peace, we find the freedom to be most fully who we are, even in the worst of times. We let go of what is nonessential and embrace what is essential. We empty ourselves so that God may more fully work within us. And we become instruments in the hands of the Lord.

—From Joseph Cardinal Bernadin’s A Gift of Peace

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 20, 2019

Jn 14: 21-26

They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

”I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said 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.

Tending the flame of God’s love

Relationships are fires that need tending.  How do we kindle new flames in the cold dark night?   

Like all our relationships, a relationship with Jesus burns hot and cool.  There are times when we feel connected, illuminated in his love, and other when we feel distant, even separated from his light and heat.   

In today’s Gospel, Jesus prepares his disciple for when he will leave them and return to the Father.  He tells his friends that by keeping his commandments – “to love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34) – they will always abide in the Father’s love.  Should they forget, Jesus assures that the Holy Spirit will remind and teach them all they need to know.

Of course, the same is true for us.  Loving one another, tending those fires, and confiding in the Spirit, enkindles new flames when the fire cools.

Nick Rennpage is a Theology teacher and the director of Adult Formation and Mission Integration at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy  

Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And you will renew the face of the earth.

Lord,
by the light of the Holy Spirit
you have taught the hearts of your faithful.
In the same Spirit
help us to relish what is right
and always rejoice in your consolation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

—Traditional Prayer to the Holy Spirit

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Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 19, 2019

Jn 13: 31-33A, 34-35

When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’

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.

Pray for those who hurt us

Today’s readings from Acts (Acts 14:21-27) and the Gospel of John address the “time of many hardships.” All of us have experienced or perhaps are currently experiencing “many hardships” at home, at work, or even within ourselves. In many ways, we are not sure how to react to those hardships, especially if they are caused by friends or family.

Jesus’ reaction to Judas’ betrayal is commanding his disciples – us – to love. Jesus also commanded us in the Sermon on the Mount to pray for those who persecute us. Actually, those who persecute us sanctify us. They teach us to be humble. They break our hearts of stone.

Therefore, as a sign of gratitude for that grace of humility, we ought to pray for them. Don’t allow them to fall, for they have participated in our salvation. For, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22)

—-Peter Gadalla, SJ, is a member of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province. He will be ordained to the priesthood on June 8, 2019, and humbly asks for your prayers for his ministry.

Prayer

Act of Love

O my God, I love you above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because you are all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of you. I forgive all who have injured me, and I ask pardon of all whom I have injured.

—Traditional prayer

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Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 18, 2019

Jn 14: 7-14

If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me?

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

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.

Called from darkness into light

Five weeks ago, the world watched helplessly as Notre Dame Cathedral burned.  This beautiful, sacred structure is beloved by the French, Catholics, and the world.  Art historian Kenneth Clark produced the landmark television series Civilization.  In the first installment, standing before Notre Dame Cathedral, he said he could not put into words what “civilization” means; he then pointed to Notre Dame Cathedral and said, “But I think I can recognize it when I see it.”   

Yet it is not the structure itself that is sacred; sacredness comes from people’s hearts.  Notre Dame represents the faith in people’s hearts of a loving God. We don’t know what will happen to this marvelous Cathedral over time, but we do know God’s light will continue to shine from faith-filled hearts.  Out of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus came eternal joy. Out of darkness and hopelessness comes new life.

The first line of a famous prayer by Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, is, “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.” This is the Easter promise of Jesus’s life: “eternal joy.”  Lord, help us to see all with new eyes, with Your eyes.

—Greg Richard has served at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, OH for thirty-three years.  He has been the director of Campus Ministry, Theology teacher, Theology department chair, coach, and Adult Chaplain.  He is now the Vice President for Ignatian Identity.

Prayer

“You are a people God claims as his own, to praise him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, alleluia.” (1 Peter 2:9, from the Entrance Antiphon of today’s Mass)

“By the suffering, death, and resurrection of your Son may we come to eternal joy.” (from the Opening Prayer at today’s Mass)

—Prayers from today’s Mass

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Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 17, 2019

Jn 14: 1-6

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.

And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

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.

Faith in the Dark

This passage unsettles me. I read it several times over, feeling my understanding grow murkier with each rereading. I struggle to find solace in the words, which often ring with incendiary tones: but how am I not supposed to let my heart be troubled? I do not know. I only know that in accepting the shadows, I am stronger. When I do not know the way, yet I move forward, I am safe. To my surprise, I find company even there.

—Claire Peterson works in the advancement and communications office of the USA Central and Southern Province and is the local organizer for Jesuit Connections – St. Louis.

Prayer

God Speaks to Each of Us

God speaks to each of us before we are,
Before he’s formed us — then, in cloudy speech,
But only then, he speaks these words to each
And silently walks with us from the dark:

Driven by your senses, dare
To the edge of longing. Grow
Like a fire’s shadowcasting glare
Behind assembled things, so you can spread
Their shapes on me as clothes.
Don’t leave me bare.

Let it all happen to you: beauty and dread.
Simply go — no feeling is too much —
And only this way can we stay in touch.

Near here is the land
That they call Life.
You’ll know when you arrive
By how real it is.
Give me your hand.

—Rainer Maria Rilke

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Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 16, 2019

Jn 13: 16-20

Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfil the scripture, “The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.”

I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.’

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.

Knowing and Doing

Today we revisit the “prologue” to Jesus’ Passion. We return to that room, to that table, and we enter the scene as Jesus is finishing washing the disciples’ feet.  After performing this act of service, this act of love, Jesus reminds us that, “servants are not greater than their master,” and He tells us, “if you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” Jesus is calling us to know and do. It’s not an either/or. It’s a both/and. Knowing the benefits of sunscreen does not reduce the incidence of melanoma. You actually have to apply sunscreen if you want to protect your skin.  Knowing empowers us, it cultivates the desire within us, to do. Knowing God’s love for me empowers me to love – love that manifests itself in deeds, in service. What is Jesus calling you to know and do today?

Jackie Schulte is the Dean of Faculty Formation and a history teacher at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

May it please the supreme and divine Goodness

to give us all abundant grace

ever to know his most holy will

and perfectly to fulfill it.

—St. Ignatius of Loyola

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Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 15, 2019

Jn 12: 44-50

Then Jesus cried aloud: “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness.

I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak.

And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.”

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 light in the darkness

Light (hope) and darkness (despair) are both realities in our lives, but Jesus is always the light in the darkness. He also sends people to be a light of hope, love, and joy in our lives. Are we open enough to notice and to believe in this light? Who brings us light in our lives today? Do we savor and appreciate these people of light?

Jesus also sends us forth to be light in people’s lives. Who needs hope, love, and joy right now? Who needs our light?

Let us thank Jesus for being the ultimate light of the world showing us that light (hope) will always prevail over darkness (despair) and we pray that we can listen to his call to be light to others.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, CO.

Prayer

God is there all the time, waiting. But, like God’s forgiveness, God’s will to share the divine aliveness with us can’t activate until we invite it. It is the heart-stopping understanding that despite our shortcomings, despite our seeming insignificance to most of those around us, the God who dwells in unapproachable light dwells within us. As he did in a Bethlehem stable.

—William J. O’Malley, SJ

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 14, 2019

St. Matthias

Acts 1: 15-17, 20-26

In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”

“For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his homestead become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it’; and ‘Let another take his position of overseer.’ So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.”

So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”

And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

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.

Surrendering our decisions

Choosing Judas’ successor was a critical appointment for the Apostles. To make this decision, they “gave lots,” the 1st century equivalent of drawing straws.

I teach motivated seniors some of the basic principles of Ignatian discernment. We use the college application process as an opportunity to put these principles into practice. Students question whether God is calling them to go in-state or far away, urban or rural, Marquette or Notre Dame.

At our March meeting, some students still hadn’t settled on a school, and yet spoke beautifully of their sense that God was leading them into the unknown. Very Ignatian! The Apostles in this reading? Not so much.

Discernment quibbles aside, the Apostles’ confidence in God is inspiring. They knew this selection was not theirs to make, but God’s. At this moment, many of us may be agonizing over a critical decision in our work or family life. As we celebrate this feast of St. Matthias, may we take heart in knowing that God can find a way to do great things through very ordinary people.

—Dan Dixon, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the Midwest Province currently working at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland to create the Welsh Academy, a grades 6-8 middle school for families of modest economic means.

Prayer

Take, Lord, receive
All my liberty, my memory, my understanding,
And my entire will.

As I contemplate this decision, Lord,
Remind me that You go with me everywhere.
Give me only your companionship,
No matter what path I choose.
That is enough for me.

—Adapted from the Suscipe of St. Ignatius of Loyola

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Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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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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May 23, 2019

Jn 15: 9-11

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

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.

Remain in My Love

Think of a time, or a place, in which you longed to remain – when you wanted to freeze time so you could stay in that place or savor that moment, just a little bit longer. Take a minute, to sit with that feeling. Now, bring that feeling with you as you move yourself into today’s Gospel.  Jesus invites us to abide, or remain, in his love, and he is very deliberate in helping us understand the “how” and the “why” of remaining in his love. While the words how and why can be used to ask the same question, the answers you’ll get will be very different. For example: “How do you make a cake?” versus “Why did you make a cake?” How asks, “by what means?” And why asks, “for what reason?” When we understand both how and why, we are more likely to “do” – to demonstrate our understanding in concrete and actionable ways.

So, how are we to remain in God’s love? By keeping God’s commandments. Why? So that our “joy may be complete.” Remember that the foundation of this joy is God’s unconditional, eternal, enduring, abiding love for you. Take time today to remain in it.

Jackie Schulte is the Dean of Faculty Formation and a history teacher at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

O holy Heart of Jesus, dwell hidden in my heart, so that I may live only in you and only for you, so that, in the end, I may live with you eternally in heaven.

—St. Claude La Colombière, SJ

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 22, 2019

Jn 15: 1-8

”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

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.

Remain in him

The Holy Trinity is present in our lives and alive in this passage. Whether it is the creator of the vine, the vine itself, or the spirit from the vine that allows us to grow as branches. All of us are linked and in relationship with God and one another. God remains in me, but do I always choose to remain in him? The honest answer, I pray, is most of the time. This is why I do the Jesuit daily examen prayer at the end of every day. Through the examen, I reflect on the moments during my day when I remained in God and what moments I did not so that everything I am and do in this life is for the greater glory of God (A.M.D.G).

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, CO.

Prayer

Dear Lord, during this Easter Season we prayer for the desire and ability to search for your presence in our everyday lives within our relationships and in all that we do. For it is only through you and with you, can we live a life of unconditional love and hope glorifying your name.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 21, 2019

Jn 14: 27-31a

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.

I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me;but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.

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.

The gift of peace

My morning ritual involves a quick perusal of the headlines of the New York Times. I scroll until I find a story with some semblance of hope. Sometimes it takes until the Arts & Leisure section. Other times it doesn’t happen at all.

The “world” doesn’t come off too hot in today’s Gospel, and I can see why. Our planet seems to be on the verge of catastrophe. Millions of refugees are displaced from their homelands. War continues be waged in Afghanistan, Yemen, and South Sudan. I don’t know the “ruler of this world” to whom Jesus is referring, but whoever it is not doing a very good job.

And yet, amid all this strife, God offers us the gift of peace. It is not a false peace that denies our problems. Instead, it is a reminder that we are created for something more than this world. May we find in this promise renewed vigor to bring as much love and hope that we can to a world that desperately needs it.

—Dan Dixon, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the Midwest Province currently working at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland to create the Welsh Academy, a grades 6-8 middle school for families of modest economic means.

Prayer

What I would like to leave behind is a simple prayer that each of you may find what I have found – God’s special gift to us all: the gift of peace. When we are at peace, we find the freedom to be most fully who we are, even in the worst of times. We let go of what is nonessential and embrace what is essential. We empty ourselves so that God may more fully work within us. And we become instruments in the hands of the Lord.

—From Joseph Cardinal Bernadin’s A Gift of Peace

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 20, 2019

Jn 14: 21-26

They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

”I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said 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.

Tending the flame of God’s love

Relationships are fires that need tending.  How do we kindle new flames in the cold dark night?   

Like all our relationships, a relationship with Jesus burns hot and cool.  There are times when we feel connected, illuminated in his love, and other when we feel distant, even separated from his light and heat.   

In today’s Gospel, Jesus prepares his disciple for when he will leave them and return to the Father.  He tells his friends that by keeping his commandments – “to love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34) – they will always abide in the Father’s love.  Should they forget, Jesus assures that the Holy Spirit will remind and teach them all they need to know.

Of course, the same is true for us.  Loving one another, tending those fires, and confiding in the Spirit, enkindles new flames when the fire cools.

Nick Rennpage is a Theology teacher and the director of Adult Formation and Mission Integration at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy  

Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And you will renew the face of the earth.

Lord,
by the light of the Holy Spirit
you have taught the hearts of your faithful.
In the same Spirit
help us to relish what is right
and always rejoice in your consolation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

—Traditional Prayer to the Holy Spirit

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Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 19, 2019

Jn 13: 31-33A, 34-35

When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’

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.

Pray for those who hurt us

Today’s readings from Acts (Acts 14:21-27) and the Gospel of John address the “time of many hardships.” All of us have experienced or perhaps are currently experiencing “many hardships” at home, at work, or even within ourselves. In many ways, we are not sure how to react to those hardships, especially if they are caused by friends or family.

Jesus’ reaction to Judas’ betrayal is commanding his disciples – us – to love. Jesus also commanded us in the Sermon on the Mount to pray for those who persecute us. Actually, those who persecute us sanctify us. They teach us to be humble. They break our hearts of stone.

Therefore, as a sign of gratitude for that grace of humility, we ought to pray for them. Don’t allow them to fall, for they have participated in our salvation. For, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22)

—-Peter Gadalla, SJ, is a member of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province. He will be ordained to the priesthood on June 8, 2019, and humbly asks for your prayers for his ministry.

Prayer

Act of Love

O my God, I love you above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because you are all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of you. I forgive all who have injured me, and I ask pardon of all whom I have injured.

—Traditional prayer

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Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 18, 2019

Jn 14: 7-14

If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me?

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

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.

Called from darkness into light

Five weeks ago, the world watched helplessly as Notre Dame Cathedral burned.  This beautiful, sacred structure is beloved by the French, Catholics, and the world.  Art historian Kenneth Clark produced the landmark television series Civilization.  In the first installment, standing before Notre Dame Cathedral, he said he could not put into words what “civilization” means; he then pointed to Notre Dame Cathedral and said, “But I think I can recognize it when I see it.”   

Yet it is not the structure itself that is sacred; sacredness comes from people’s hearts.  Notre Dame represents the faith in people’s hearts of a loving God. We don’t know what will happen to this marvelous Cathedral over time, but we do know God’s light will continue to shine from faith-filled hearts.  Out of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus came eternal joy. Out of darkness and hopelessness comes new life.

The first line of a famous prayer by Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, is, “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.” This is the Easter promise of Jesus’s life: “eternal joy.”  Lord, help us to see all with new eyes, with Your eyes.

—Greg Richard has served at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, OH for thirty-three years.  He has been the director of Campus Ministry, Theology teacher, Theology department chair, coach, and Adult Chaplain.  He is now the Vice President for Ignatian Identity.

Prayer

“You are a people God claims as his own, to praise him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, alleluia.” (1 Peter 2:9, from the Entrance Antiphon of today’s Mass)

“By the suffering, death, and resurrection of your Son may we come to eternal joy.” (from the Opening Prayer at today’s Mass)

—Prayers from today’s Mass

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Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 17, 2019

Jn 14: 1-6

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.

And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

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.

Faith in the Dark

This passage unsettles me. I read it several times over, feeling my understanding grow murkier with each rereading. I struggle to find solace in the words, which often ring with incendiary tones: but how am I not supposed to let my heart be troubled? I do not know. I only know that in accepting the shadows, I am stronger. When I do not know the way, yet I move forward, I am safe. To my surprise, I find company even there.

—Claire Peterson works in the advancement and communications office of the USA Central and Southern Province and is the local organizer for Jesuit Connections – St. Louis.

Prayer

God Speaks to Each of Us

God speaks to each of us before we are,
Before he’s formed us — then, in cloudy speech,
But only then, he speaks these words to each
And silently walks with us from the dark:

Driven by your senses, dare
To the edge of longing. Grow
Like a fire’s shadowcasting glare
Behind assembled things, so you can spread
Their shapes on me as clothes.
Don’t leave me bare.

Let it all happen to you: beauty and dread.
Simply go — no feeling is too much —
And only this way can we stay in touch.

Near here is the land
That they call Life.
You’ll know when you arrive
By how real it is.
Give me your hand.

—Rainer Maria Rilke

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Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 16, 2019

Jn 13: 16-20

Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfil the scripture, “The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.”

I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.’

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.

Knowing and Doing

Today we revisit the “prologue” to Jesus’ Passion. We return to that room, to that table, and we enter the scene as Jesus is finishing washing the disciples’ feet.  After performing this act of service, this act of love, Jesus reminds us that, “servants are not greater than their master,” and He tells us, “if you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” Jesus is calling us to know and do. It’s not an either/or. It’s a both/and. Knowing the benefits of sunscreen does not reduce the incidence of melanoma. You actually have to apply sunscreen if you want to protect your skin.  Knowing empowers us, it cultivates the desire within us, to do. Knowing God’s love for me empowers me to love – love that manifests itself in deeds, in service. What is Jesus calling you to know and do today?

Jackie Schulte is the Dean of Faculty Formation and a history teacher at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.

Prayer

May it please the supreme and divine Goodness

to give us all abundant grace

ever to know his most holy will

and perfectly to fulfill it.

—St. Ignatius of Loyola

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Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 15, 2019

Jn 12: 44-50

Then Jesus cried aloud: “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness.

I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak.

And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.”

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 light in the darkness

Light (hope) and darkness (despair) are both realities in our lives, but Jesus is always the light in the darkness. He also sends people to be a light of hope, love, and joy in our lives. Are we open enough to notice and to believe in this light? Who brings us light in our lives today? Do we savor and appreciate these people of light?

Jesus also sends us forth to be light in people’s lives. Who needs hope, love, and joy right now? Who needs our light?

Let us thank Jesus for being the ultimate light of the world showing us that light (hope) will always prevail over darkness (despair) and we pray that we can listen to his call to be light to others.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, CO.

Prayer

God is there all the time, waiting. But, like God’s forgiveness, God’s will to share the divine aliveness with us can’t activate until we invite it. It is the heart-stopping understanding that despite our shortcomings, despite our seeming insignificance to most of those around us, the God who dwells in unapproachable light dwells within us. As he did in a Bethlehem stable.

—William J. O’Malley, SJ

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Please share the Good Word with your friends!

May 14, 2019

St. Matthias

Acts 1: 15-17, 20-26

In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”

“For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his homestead become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it’; and ‘Let another take his position of overseer.’ So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.”

So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”

And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

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.

Surrendering our decisions

Choosing Judas’ successor was a critical appointment for the Apostles. To make this decision, they “gave lots,” the 1st century equivalent of drawing straws.

I teach motivated seniors some of the basic principles of Ignatian discernment. We use the college application process as an opportunity to put these principles into practice. Students question whether God is calling them to go in-state or far away, urban or rural, Marquette or Notre Dame.

At our March meeting, some students still hadn’t settled on a school, and yet spoke beautifully of their sense that God was leading them into the unknown. Very Ignatian! The Apostles in this reading? Not so much.

Discernment quibbles aside, the Apostles’ confidence in God is inspiring. They knew this selection was not theirs to make, but God’s. At this moment, many of us may be agonizing over a critical decision in our work or family life. As we celebrate this feast of St. Matthias, may we take heart in knowing that God can find a way to do great things through very ordinary people.

—Dan Dixon, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the Midwest Province currently working at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland to create the Welsh Academy, a grades 6-8 middle school for families of modest economic means.

Prayer

Take, Lord, receive
All my liberty, my memory, my understanding,
And my entire will.

As I contemplate this decision, Lord,
Remind me that You go with me everywhere.
Give me only your companionship,
No matter what path I choose.
That is enough for me.

—Adapted from the Suscipe of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Please share the Good Word with your friends!