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September 24, 2020

Our Lady of Walsingham

Eccl 1: 2-11

Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun?

A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hurries to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south, and goes around to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. 

All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they continue to flow. All things are wearisome; more than one can express; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, or the ear filled with hearing.

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has already been, in the ages before us. The people of long ago are not remembered, nor will there be any remembrance of people yet to come by those who come after them.

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 Grace of Indifference

Life is hard right now. People are being asked to do a lot and it seems no one is running on a full tank. We might even feel like we’re running on fumes.

Today’s reading from Ecclesiastes reminds us that this season of our life—even while it may be painful and daunting—is just that: a season. It will not last forever. And God holds us as we try to hold on until the next season begins.  

Our feelings—perhaps sadness, regret, loneliness, mourning what we’ve lost or what will not be, or anger at what has been taken from us—matter. But it is not healthy to fixate on these feelings. Perhaps this is a time to practice what St. Ignatius called the “grace of indifference,” the detachment from expecting a specific outcome or wanting our life to look a particular way. If we cling too tightly to our vision of “how it should be,” we won’t make enough room for what the Holy Spirit can make possible.  

How can you loosen your grasp on your expectations for yourself and others in order to be more attentive and responsive to what God might be cultivating, whether for this season or the season coming next?  

Marcus Mescher is associate professor of Christian ethics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, a graduate of Marquette University High School, Marquette University, and Boston College; he is also the author of The Ethics of Encounter: Christian Neighbor Love as a Practice of Solidarity (Orbis, 2020).  

 

Prayer

Loving God,
I bring my thoughts and feelings to you today,
to share my life with you. 
I know you speak to me through my deepest desires
but today I seek freedom 
from my limited perspective and narrow priorities. 
I ask you to open my eyes to what more is possible
so I don’t settle for something less. 
Even while I might want to cling 
to what gives me comfort or security,
help me open myself in trust that 
your love and grace are enough for me. 
Amen.  

—Marcus Mescher


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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September 24, 2020

Our Lady of Walsingham

Eccl 1: 2-11

Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun?

A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hurries to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south, and goes around to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. 

All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they continue to flow. All things are wearisome; more than one can express; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, or the ear filled with hearing.

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has already been, in the ages before us. The people of long ago are not remembered, nor will there be any remembrance of people yet to come by those who come after them.

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 Grace of Indifference

Life is hard right now. People are being asked to do a lot and it seems no one is running on a full tank. We might even feel like we’re running on fumes.

Today’s reading from Ecclesiastes reminds us that this season of our life—even while it may be painful and daunting—is just that: a season. It will not last forever. And God holds us as we try to hold on until the next season begins.  

Our feelings—perhaps sadness, regret, loneliness, mourning what we’ve lost or what will not be, or anger at what has been taken from us—matter. But it is not healthy to fixate on these feelings. Perhaps this is a time to practice what St. Ignatius called the “grace of indifference,” the detachment from expecting a specific outcome or wanting our life to look a particular way. If we cling too tightly to our vision of “how it should be,” we won’t make enough room for what the Holy Spirit can make possible.  

How can you loosen your grasp on your expectations for yourself and others in order to be more attentive and responsive to what God might be cultivating, whether for this season or the season coming next?  

Marcus Mescher is associate professor of Christian ethics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, a graduate of Marquette University High School, Marquette University, and Boston College; he is also the author of The Ethics of Encounter: Christian Neighbor Love as a Practice of Solidarity (Orbis, 2020).  

 

Prayer

Loving God,
I bring my thoughts and feelings to you today,
to share my life with you. 
I know you speak to me through my deepest desires
but today I seek freedom 
from my limited perspective and narrow priorities. 
I ask you to open my eyes to what more is possible
so I don’t settle for something less. 
Even while I might want to cling 
to what gives me comfort or security,
help me open myself in trust that 
your love and grace are enough for me. 
Amen.  

—Marcus Mescher


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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