March 22, Sunday



March 22, Sunday
Week 5 - March 22-28
IGNITING OUR VALUES is an online program of
prayers, Scripture and reflections that explores our
shared religious identity as disciples of Jesus and
sons and daughters of Ignatius Loyola. With Jesus
as our focus, guide and source of inspiration, we
will prayerfully consider the meaning of discipleship
and the significance of six specific Ignatian values.
March 22, Sunday
Spiritual Discernment
During this fifth week of Lent, let’s focus on Ignatian Spiritual Discernment, which, for many of us, is a hallmark of our
spiritual practice.
Spiritual Discernment is a matter of the heart, whether we’re talking about the “reasoning heart” of David Fleming, the
“prayerful and daydreaming heart” of Mark Thibodeaux or the “true sentiments of the heart” of Saint Ignatius himself.
Jesuit scholastic Brendan Busse also hinges his understanding of spiritual discernment on the human heart — by way of
a rare and resonant metaphor.
Sunday Readings - Week 5
JER 31:31-34
HEB 5:7-9
JN 12:20-33
A procedural note: our reflections and prayers will refer
to the Sunday readings for the week, not the daily
Brendan Busse, SJ, is a Jesuit
scholastic studying theology in
Madrid, Spain. He spent the
previous two years as a faculty
member at the Matteo Ricci
College of Seattle University
where he taught courses on
Ignatian spirituality and poverty in
America. He is also a regular
writer and associate editor of
blogs at, a social media project of
young Jesuits in the United States.
A Problem of Penmanship
by Brendan Busse, SJ
Un problema de caligrafía
Por: Brendan Busse, SJ
Discernment is more recognition than decision. We think
everything is about choice but choice means nothing if we can’t
discern between good and bad, between choices that suit us and
choices that betray us. A common hurdle in discernment is our
inability to trust our own desires. If we could trust our desires,
choice would be an afterthought; but we regularly fail to trust the
things written on our own hearts. Perhaps spiritual discernment is
a problem of penmanship.
El discernimiento es más reconocimiento que decisión.
Pensamos que todo es acerca de elegir, pero elegir carece de
sentido si no somos capaces de discernir entre el bien y el mal,
entre opciones favorables y opciones que nos traicionan. Un
obstáculo muy común en el discernimiento es la incapacidad de
confiar en nuestros propios deseos. Si pudiésemos confiar en
ellos, la opción sería una reconsideración; pero, invariablemente
desconfiamos de las cosas escritas en nuestros propios
corazones. Tal vez, el discernimiento espiritual es un problema de
When we contemplate our hearts, and the many desires written
there, do we recognize the shape of the characters, the curve of
the vowels, the tilt of the letters? Do we know whose script
we’re reading? Can we trust the words we find? Do we know
who wrote them there? Can we recognize the hand of God?
I have several friends with tattoos scripted in the penmanship of
someone they love. Just as the sound of our name means
something more on the lips of our beloved, a simple word means
something more when scripted by their hand. We savor the sight
of their penmanship. We revel in the record of their gestures.
In discernment I seek to recognize God’s penmanship the way I
recognize the hand my mother used to scratch my back as a
child, the hand she used to write grocery lists and love notes. In
this hand something was written on my heart, something I hope
never to forget, never to lose.
If discernment is about recognizing penmanship, then it’s also
about authorship. I seek to put my own hands to the task of
writing, to make a gesture of love in my own script, to spill my
share of ink into the pages of this life. In this way, perhaps what
has been written on my heart will not perish but be poured out.
Cuando contemplamos nuestros corazones, y los muchos deseos
escritos en ellos, ¿reconocemos la forma de los caracteres, la
curva de las vocales, la inclinación de las letras? ¿Sabemos a
quién pertenece la obra que estamos leyendo? ¿Somos capaces
de confiar en las palabras que encontramos? ¿Tenemos
conocimiento de quién escribió esas palabras allí? ¿Podemos
reconocer la mano de Dios?
Tengo varios amigos con tatuajes, escritos con la caligrafía de
alguien que ellos aman. Así como el sonido de nuestros nombres
significa mucho más en los labios de quién amamos, una simple
palabra vale más cuando está escrita por su mano. Nos
deleitamos observando su caligrafía. Gozamos recordando cada
uno de sus gestos.
Al discernir, busco reconocer la caligrafía de Dios, de la misma
manera que reconozco la mano de mi madre rascándome la
espalda cuando era niño, la misma mano con la que escribía la
lista de las compras y las notas de amor. Esta mano escribió algo
en mi corazón. Algo que anhelo nunca olvidar, nunca perder.
Si el discernimiento es acerca de reconocer la caligrafía, entonces
es también reconocer a su autor. Yo busco poner mis propias
manos a la tarea de escribir, hacer un gesto de amor en mi propio
manuscrito, escribir mi parte en las páginas de esta vida. Y de
esta manera, quizá, aquello que ha sido escrito en mi corazón no
perezca sino que sea anunciado.
F. de Goya
Almighty God,
author of my life,
help me learn to read what you have written on my heart.
Give me discerning eyes
and an untiring spirit
to look within me
in order to understand how to reach outside of me.
And once I have begun to read you aright,
give me the generosity to help others to read you,
to sound you out one letter,
one word of radical giving at a time.
Let me tell you about my marvelous god, how he hides in the hexagons
of the bees, how the drought that wrings its leather hands
above the world is of his making, as well as the rain in the quiet minutes
that leave only thoughts of rain.
An atom is working and working, an atom is working in deepest
night, then bursting like the farthest star; it is far
smaller than a pinprick, far smaller than a zero and it has no
will, no will toward us.
This is why the heart has paced and paced,
will pace and pace across the field where yarrow
was and now is dust. A leaf catches
in a bone.The burrow’s shut by a tumbled clod
and the roots, upturned, are hot to the touch.
How my god is a feathered and whirling thing; you will singe your arm
when you pluck him from the air,
when you pluck him from that sky
where grieving swirls, and you will burn again
throwing him back.
Let me tell you about my marvelous god.
: Susan Stewart
O caught like pennies beneath soot and steam,
Kiss of our agony thou gatherest;
Condensed, thou takest all — shrill ganglia
Impassioned with some song we fail to keep.
And yet, like Lazarus, to feel the slope,
The sod and billow breaking, — lifting ground,
— A sound of waters bending astride the sky
Unceasing with some Word that will not die . . .
: Hart Crane
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
:T.S. Eliot
Scene from THE NEW WORLD (2008)
Nothing Has to Happen (Hungry Ghosts)
Learn more about
Spiritual Discernment
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Week 5 - March 22-28
IGNITING OUR VALUES is an online program of
prayers, Scripture and reflections that explores our
shared religious identity as disciples of Jesus and
sons and daughters of Ignatius Loyola. With Jesus
as our focus, guide and source of inspiration, we
will prayerfully consider the meaning of discipleship
and the significance of six specific Ignatian values.
March 23, Monday
Spiritual Discernment
Contributor Wendell Laurent is a spiritual director and a
singer. Perhaps this felicitous combination of skills is what
leads him to recognize and value the grace-filled moments
he describes as “attentive listening.”
Cultivating Presence
by Wendell Laurent
Cultivar la presencia
Por: Wendell Laurent
I once heard in a homily that grace should not be viewed as
some sort of bank account whereby a person attempts to
earn credit to keep in safe deposit. Rather, grace is more
about “cultivating presence,” that is, cultivating an awareness of God’s presence and action in our lives. It is an
image that resonates deeply with my experience of Ignatian prayer and discernment.
Una vez escuché en una homilía que la gracia no debe ser
vista como una especie de cuenta de banco, donde las personas intentan ganar un crédito para guardarlo en una caja
de seguridad. Más bien, la gracia es acerca de “cultivar la
presencia,” o sea, cultivar el ser conscientes de la presencia y acción de Dios en nuestras vidas. Esta es una imagen
que resuena profundamente en mi experiencia de oración y
discernimiento Ignaciano.
At the heart of Ignatian spirituality is the idea that we are all
called to be co-creators with God, that God works with us
and through us to bring the fullness of the kingdom into
the world. This relationship with our creator requires us to
be people of deep prayer and self-reflection, to become
skilled at discerning how God is acting in our lives and how
we are to respond to that action.
Spiritual discernment involves a type of attentive listening
that seems to come easily in the silence of retreat, but is
more challenging amidst the noise and distractions of
everyday life. To meet this challenge, Ignatius gives us the
Examen, a daily examination of events and feelings, which
when done regularly can expose patterns of joy and sadness, consolation, desolation and longings of the heart.
With this “data” in hand, we can order our lives according
to the promptings of our loving creator.
While I find the busyness of everyday life often prevents
me from being as faithful to the Examen as I would like, it
is that same busyness that provides much fodder for
prayer. So, as we continue our Lenten journey towards
Holy Week, I pray for the grace to more intentionally cultivate an awareness of God’s presence and action in my life,
and to be able to respond more fully and generously in
gratitude to God’s salvific actions through Christ.
En el corazón de la espiritualidad Ignaciana reside la idea de
que todos estamos llamados a ser creadores con Dios, que
Dios trabaja con nosotros y a través de nosotros para llevar
la plenitud del Reino al mundo. Esta relación con nuestro
creador requiere que seamos personas de oración profunda y de auto reflexión, para convertirnos en expertos en
discernir de qué forma Dios está actuando en nuestras
vidas y cómo debemos responder a esta acción.
El discernimiento espiritual requiere un tipo de escuchar
atento que se obtiene fácilmente en el silencio de un retiro,
pero es más desafiante en medio del ruido y de las distracciones de la vida diaria. Para llevar a cabo este desafío,
Ignacio nos da el Exámen, una examinación diaria de los
eventos y sentimientos del día, el cual puede exponer patrones de alegría y tristeza, consuelo, soledad y anhelos del
corazón, cuando lo hacemos regularmente. Con esta información en la mano, podemos ordenar nuestras vidas de
acuerdo a las sugerencias de nuestro amado creador.
A pesar del trajín de la vida diaria, el cual evita que yo sea
fiel al Exámen de la manera que me gustaría, es éste
mismo estar ocupado el que provee gran alimento para la
oración. Entonces, mientras continuamos nuestro camino
de Cuaresma hacia la Semana Santa, rezo por la gracia de
cultivar más intencionalmente el ser consciente de la presencia de Dios y de sus acciones en mi vida, y de ser capaz
de responder generosamente y sin reservas en gratitud por
las acciones salvíficas de Dios a través de Cristo.
Wendell Laurent is the vocation team coordinator for the USA Northeast Province of the Society
of Jesus. A long-time member of Xavier Parish in Manhattan, he is a spiritual director and
member of The Ignatian Schola, a New-York based vocal ensemble composed of Jesuits and lay
colleagues committed to exploring ways of praying through music. Wendell is also the associate
producer of The Sunday Mass on the ABC Family Network produced by Passionist
you have given us your Son as our friend and redeemer.
Give us the openness to see Him as both
and to accept your gracious invitation
to participate in the ongoing creation of your world.
Help us to cultivate presence:
to be still enough in our activity to encounter you,
the source of all stillness,
of all presence.
V. Kratochvil
Presence 3.1
Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor; 1. Allegro ben
moderato (Bridge/Rostropovich)
Playlist (Spotify users login, then click)
O Lord, my God,
I cried out to you for help and you healed me.
Lord, you brought my soul up from Sheol;
you let me live, from going down to the pit.
Sing praise to the Lord, you faithful;
give thanks to his holy memory.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
his favor a lifetime.
At dusk weeping comes for the night;
but at dawn there is rejoicing.
Complacent, I once said,
“I shall never be shaken.”
Lord, you showed me favor,
established for me mountains of virtue.
But when you hid your face
I was struck with terror.
To you, Lord, I cried out;
with the Lord I pleaded for mercy:
“What gain is there from my lifeblood,
from my going down to the grave?
Does dust give you thanks
or declare your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, have mercy on me;
Lord, be my helper.”
You changed my mourning into dancing;
you took off my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
so that my glory may praise you
and not be silent.
O Lord, my God,
forever will I give you thanks.
Psalm 30: 3 – 14
Batter my heart, three-personed God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurped town to another due,
Labor to admit to you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lovéd fain
But am betrothed unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again;
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
: John Donne
Week 5 - March 22-28
IGNITING OUR VALUES is an online program of
prayers, Scripture and reflections that explores our
shared religious identity as disciples of Jesus and
sons and daughters of Ignatius Loyola. With Jesus
as our focus, guide and source of inspiration, we
will prayerfully consider the meaning of discipleship
and the significance of six specific Ignatian values.
March 24, Tuesday
Spiritual Discernment
At the heart of retreat director Mary McKeon’s reflection
about openness and receptivity is a marvelous story about
finding inspiration when (and where) you don’t expect it.
Your Heart Today
by Mary McKeon
Tu corazón hoy
Por: Mary McKeon
One of the joys and challenges of serving as spiritual director at a
Jesuit retreat house is guiding others through spiritual discernment, a process that leads to God-centered decision-making
using the mind and, especially, the heart. In the almost ten years
that I have had the honor of walking this journey with directees,
the constant need to seek purification of my own heart has become glaringly clear to me. A few years ago, I spent the entire six
weeks of Lent praying daily with these poignant words from
Psalm 51, “Create a clean heart in me, O God, and put a new and
right spirit within me.”
Una de las alegrías y desafíos de servir como directora espiritual
de una casa de retiro Jesuita, es guiar a otros a través del discernimiento espiritual, el proceso que conduce a tomar decisiones
centradas en Dios, usando la mente, y especialmente el corazón.
En los casi diez años que he tenido el honor de caminar con mis
dirigidos, la necesidad constante de buscar la purificación de mi
propio corazón, se ha convertido en una manifestación muy clara
para mí. Hace algunos años dediqué las seis semanas completas
de Cuaresma, a rezar diariamente con estas conmovedoras palabras del Salmo 51, “Oh Dios, ¡pon en mí un corazón limpio!
¡Dame un espíritu nuevo y fiel!”
St. Ignatius encouraged repetition in prayer and I heeded his advice; I allowed myself to go deeper into this humble and sincere
plea. I pondered my own choices, praying that my heart be open
and receptive to the movement of God’s spirit within me. I prayed
that my own discernment, and that of those I was entrusted to
guide, would lead us closer to the very heart of Jesus.
One evening that Lent, as I was working late at my desk in the retreat house, I came across a file labeled “Prayers of Jesuits,”
tucked away in the very back of a drawer. I found there a poem
entitled “Your Heart Today” by Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ, which
spoke volumes to me then and continues to challenge and inspire
my approach to discernment.
My prayer today echoes a line from that poem: “that I may be
your heart today.” May I be the clean heart, the pure heart of
Christ for those who come to tell their sacred stories. Only with a
share in the heart of Christ am I able to assist in discerning the
prompting of the spirit in their lives.
Your Heart Today
by Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ
Where there is fear I can allay,
Where there is pain I can heal,
Where there are wounds I can bind,
And hunger I can fill:
Lord, grant me courage,
Lord, grant me strength,
Grant me compassion
That I may be your heart today.
Where there is hate I can confront,
Where there are yokes I can release,
Where there are captives I can free
And anger I can appease:
Lord, grant me courage,
Lord, grant me strength,
Grant me compassion
That I may be your heart today.
When comes the day I dread
To see our broken world,
Protect me from myself grown cold
That your people I may behold.
And when I’ve done all that I could,
Yet, there are hearts I cannot move,
Lord, give me hope,
That I may be your heart today.
San Ignacio alentó la repetición en la oración y yo seguí su consejo; me permití llegar más profundamente a esta humilde y sincera súplica. Medité sobre mis propias elecciones, rezando para
que mi corazón se abriese y fuese receptivo a los movimientos
del espíritu de Dios dentro de mi persona. Recé para que mi propio discernimiento, y el de aquellas personas que me fueron confiadas para guiar, nos llevara más cerca del corazón de Jesús.
Una noche durante esa Cuaresma, mientras trabajaba tarde en mi
escritorio, en la casa de retiro, descubrí una carpeta escondida al
final del cajón, con un rótulo que decía “Oraciones de los Jesuitas” escrito por P. Manoling Francisco, SJ, el cual me habló extensamente entonces y continúa desafiando e inspirando mi
enfoque al discernir.
Mi oración, hoy, es un eco de las palabras de ese poema: “Que
pueda ser tu corazón hoy.” Que pueda ser el corazón limpio y puro
de Cristo para aquellos que vienen a decir sus historias sagradas.
Sólo con una participación en el corazón de Cristo soy capaz de
asistir en el discernimiento del estímulo del espíritu en sus vidas.
Tu corazón, hoy
Por: P. Manoling Francisco, SJ
Donde haya miedo, que yo pueda mitigarlo,
Donde haya dolor, que yo pueda sanarlo,
Donde haya heridas, que yo pueda curarlas,
Y al hambre pueda calmar:
Señor, concédeme el coraje,
Señor, concédeme la fuerza,
oncédeme la compasión
Para que hoy, yo pueda ser tu corazón.
Donde haya odio, que yo pueda confrontarlo,
Donde haya yugos, que yo pueda eliminarlos,
Donde haya cautivos, que yo pueda liberarlos,
Y a la ira pueda aplacar:
Señor, concédeme el coraje,
Señor, concédeme la fuerza,
Concédeme la compasión
Para que hoy, yo pueda ser tu corazón.
Cuando llegue el día que temo
Ver nuestro mundo quebrantado,
Protégeme de volverme indiferente
Que a tu gente yo pueda advertir.
Y cuando haya hecho todo lo que pude,
Y todavía haya corazones que no he logrado tocar,
Señor, dame la esperanza,
Para que hoy, yo pueda ser tu corazón.
A graduate of Marquette
University, Mary McKeon worked
as a teacher and in the US Senate
before serving as the director of
women’s ministry at the Manresa
Jesuit Retreat House in
Bloomington Hills, Michigan. In
2012, she was invited to begin a
program of ministry for women at
Belllarmine Jesuit Retreat House
near Chicago, Illinois. She is a widow, mother and
grandmother to two precious little boys.
Today, O God of all days,
give me an experience of your heart.
Draw me deep into your very being,
into the core of your love for me, others and the world.
Give me a glimpse of others the way you see others:
loving them, forgiving them,
and delighting in the way they give glory to God
through their very existence.
Help me to discern out of that open place of deep affection
so that I too might be a useful vessel of your love in the world.
P. Picasso
I don’t know when it slipped into my speech
that soft word meaning, “if God wills it.”
Insha’Allah I will see you next summer.
The baby will come in spring, insha’Allah.
Insha’Allah this year we will have enough rain.
So many plans I’ve laid have unraveled
easily as braids beneath my mother’s quick fingers.
Every language must have a word for this. A word
our grandmothers uttered under their breath
as they pinned the whites, soaked in lemon,
hung them to dry in the sun, or peeled potatoes,
dropping the discarded skins into a bowl.
Our sons will return next month, insha’Allah.
Insha’Allah this war will end, soon. Insha’Allah
the rice will be enough to last through winter.
How lightly we learn to hold hope,
as if it were an animal that could turn around
and bite your hand. And still we carry it
the way a mother would, carefully,
from one day to the next.
: Danusha Lameris
Scene from THE MISSION (1986)
Your Heart Today (M. Francisco SJ)
Playlist (Spotify users login, then click)
Week 5 - March 22-28
IGNITING OUR VALUES is an online program of
prayers, Scripture and reflections that explores our
shared religious identity as disciples of Jesus and
sons and daughters of Ignatius Loyola. With Jesus
as our focus, guide and source of inspiration, we
will prayerfully consider the meaning of discipleship
and the significance of six specific Ignatian values.
March 25, Wednesday
Spiritual Discernment
As a professional sound editor, Jim Schaefer listens for a
living. So much of spiritual discernment involves listening
for the still, small voice of God; so it makes sense that Jim
sent us a beautifully conceived and skillfully composed
sound collage. You may want to plug in your earphones
before you click “play.”
L. Bertron
Close Your Eyes and Listen
by Jim Schaefer
Jim Schaefer serves as in-house
sound editor & mixer for Loyola
Productions, a Jesuit-led media
company in Los Angeles. This is
his fourth year with the company
and twelfth year of “Jesuit
brainwashing,” as he fondly calls
his ongoing Ignatian education,
which began at St. Louis
University High School and
continued at Loyola Marymount University. In addition
to sound editorial, he is a producer for the Ignatian
Network (IN Network) and assists with Christus
God of silence and God of all sound,
help me to listen.
Help me to do the deep listening to the sounds of my soul,
waiting to hear your soft voice calling me deeper into you.
Give me attentive ears
that begin to separate the noise from the sounds that are you;
you who have been speaking to me
and through me my whole life,
for so long that you can seem like background noise.
Today help me hear you anew.
In my heart I hear a music that has no words, a harmony
that has no sound: yet so gladsome is what I hear that
nothing in the world can be compared thereto.
: Ignatius Loyola
Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement, to get
up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes
nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything
is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be
: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
Did you hear the call? Now give thanks to God, that he has
called you to hear it!
: Richard Wagner
Discernment is always done in the presence of the Lord,
looking at the signs, listening to the things that happen,
the feeling of the people, especially the poor. My choices,
including those related to the day-to-day aspects of life, like
the use of a modest car, are related to a spiritual discernment that responds to a need that arises from looking at
things, at people and from reading the signs of the times.
: Pope Francis
Tabula Rasa 1. Ludus (Arvo Part)
Playlist (Spotify users login, then click)
Week 5 - March 22-28
IGNITING OUR VALUES is an online program of
prayers, Scripture and reflections that explores our
shared religious identity as disciples of Jesus and
sons and daughters of Ignatius Loyola. With Jesus
as our focus, guide and source of inspiration, we
will prayerfully consider the meaning of discipleship
and the significance of six specific Ignatian values.
March 26, Thursday
Spiritual Discernment
Maureen McCann Waldron, co-founder of Creighton
University’s online ministries, reminds us that we must let
go of what the world calls important if we are to discern
where God is leading our hearts.
Shaping our Lives to Look More like Jesus’
by Maureen McCann Waldron
Moldeando nuestras vidas para parecernos más a Jesús
Por: Maureen McCann Waldron
When our son was younger he had a terrible time making decisions because he feared making the “wrong” choice. As
we grow older, we come to understand that many times the
most difficult decisions are not between a right and a wrong,
but between two good options. Which one of these is the
better choice?
Cuando nuestro hijo tenía menos edad tenía dificultad para
tomar decisiones porque temía tomar la decisión “equivocada.” Cuando nos hacemos mayores, comenzamos a entender que muchas veces las decisiones más difíciles no son
entre una opción buena y otra mala, sino entre dos opciones
buenas. ¿Cuál de estas es la mejor opción?
In Ignatian spirituality, discernment is the process in which we
discover where God is leading our hearts. For those of us in a
Jesuit university, discernment includes reflecting on how the
mission will impact a decision and how a decision will affect
the mission of our school.
En la espiritualidad Ignaciana, discernimiento es el proceso
por el cual descubrimos hacia dónde dirige Dios nuestros
corazones. Para los que estamos en una universidad Jesuita,
el discernimiento incluye reflexionar acerca de cómo la misión
influirá en la decisión, y en cómo la decisión influirá en la misión de nuestra universidad.
Jesus says, “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and
dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces
much fruit.”
We fear the pain and suffering of that self-dying. How do we
change lifelong patterns of focusing on our own success?
Our insecurities drive us to fill our lives with honors and
things; yet we will never feel full – we will always want more.
Jesus wants us to let go of what the world tells us is important. He asks us to give our lives away and reminds us,
“Whoever serves me must follow me.”
We follow Him by leaving behind the things our world prizes
and focusing instead on the poor, the mentally ill, the marginalized or simply those in our lives who we would prefer to ignore: the difficult colleague, the family member who drives us
nuts. In praying to love that person we begin to shape our
lives to look more like Jesus’.
Let us pray for discerning hearts in service of our mission for
and with others.
Jesús dice “a menos que el grano de trigo caiga en la tierra y
muera, éste permanece sólo un grano de trigo; pero si muere,
éste produce muchos frutos.”
Tememos al dolor y al sufrimiento que representa morir a
nosotros mismos. ¿Cómo hacemos para cambiar la costumbre de toda la vida de enfocarnos en nuestro propio éxito?
Nuestras inseguridades nos llevan a tratar de llenar nuestras
vidas con honores y cosas, a pesar de que nunca nos sentiremos satisfechos – siempre querremos más.
Jesús quiere que dejemos de lado lo que el mundo nos dice
que es importante. Él nos pide que le demos nuestras vidas y
nos recuerda, “Si alguno quiere servirme, que me siga.”
Seguimos a Jesús cuando dejamos de lado las cosas que el
mundo aprecia y nos enfocamos en los pobres, el enfermo
mental, el marginado o simplemente en aquellos en nuestras
vidas que preferiríamos ignorar: el colega complicado, algún
miembro de nuestra familia que nos vuelve locos. Rezar para
lograr amar a esa persona, es comenzar a moldear nuestras
vidas para parecernos más a Jesús.
Recemos por los corazones que disciernen en el servicio de
nuestra misión, para y con los otros.
In 1997, after a career in corporate public relations, Maureen McCann Waldron moved to her
alma mater, Creighton University, to work in the collaborative ministry office with Andy
Alexander, SJ. They began the online ministries the following year. Maureen has been married to
Jim Waldron for almost 40 years. They have two adult children and two practically perfect
God who continues to choose to love us,
give us discerning hearts to serve our mission to your people.
Keep us open, nimble in our response to you,
always willing to give more than we think we have
and to learn that our discernment is not about us
but about being Christ in the world.
We know from neuroscience that compassion has some
very extraordinary qualities. For example, when people
who are cultivating compassion are in the presence of suffering, they feel that suffering a lot more than other people
do. However, they return to baseline a lot sooner. This is
called resilience. Many of us think that compassion drains
us, but I promise you, it is something that truly enlivens us.
You know, if compassion is so good for us, I have a question. Why don’t we train our children in compassion? If
compassion is so good for us, why don’t we train our
health care providers in compassion so that they can do
what they’re supposed to do, which is to really transform
suffering? And if compassion is so good for us, why don’t
we vote on compassion? Why don’t we vote for people in
our government based on compassion, so that we can
have a more caring world?
: Joan Halifax
Jesus calls us to a strategy of downward mobility in a society that promotes unbridled upward mobility.
Upward mobility is, at best, ambiguous, especially since
the drive for success is a drive to leave others behind, to
escape not only poverty, but the poor. Upward mobility has
turned cancerous, resulting in a state that cannot provide
for the common good.
I invite you to discover your vocation in downward mobility.
It’s a scary request. The world is obsessed with wealth and
security and upward mobility and prestige. But let us teach
solidarity, walking with the victims, serving and loving. In
this enterprise there is a great deal of hope.
Have the courage to lose control. Have the courage to listen. Have the courage to receive. Have the courage to let
your heart be broken. Have the courage to feel. Have the
courage to fall in love. Have the courage to get ruined for
: Dean Brackley, SJ
Of all that God has shown me
I can speak just the smallest word,
Nor more than a honey bee
Takes on his foot
From an overspilling jar.
: Mechtild of Magdeburg
S. Wyspianski
Scene from BAND OF BROTHERS (2001)
Skylark (H. Carmichael/P. Desmond)
Playlist (Spotify users login, then click)
Week 5 - March 22-28
IGNITING OUR VALUES is an online program of
prayers, Scripture and reflections that explores our
shared religious identity as disciples of Jesus and
sons and daughters of Ignatius Loyola. With Jesus
as our focus, guide and source of inspiration, we
will prayerfully consider the meaning of discipleship
and the significance of six specific Ignatian values.
March 27, Friday
Spiritual Discernment
Maria Cressler, executive director of Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center in Atlanta, stresses the value of an
“uninterrupted conversation with the Beloved” and encourages us to remember that God is creating us moment-bymoment.
Moment by Moment
by Maria Cressler
Momento a Momento
Por: Maria Cressler
“What should I do?!” How often have I voiced this plea for
clarity to my husband, my parents and my friends, knowing
full well that they cannot answer this question for me? I’m not
sure why I bother asking, since what they would do in my situation has absolutely no bearing on what I should do. We are
unique creatures, after all, with different calls for service in
God’s kingdom.
“¿Qué debería hacer?” ¿Cuántas veces he suplicado de esta
manera, en busca de claridad, a mi marido, a mis padres y a
mis amigos, sabiendo positivamente que ellos no pueden responder a esta pregunta por mí? No estoy segura de porqué
siquiera pregunto, ya que lo que ellos harían en mi situación
no influye en absoluto en mi decisión de lo que yo debería
hacer. Después de todo, somos criaturas únicas, llamadas a
servir en el reino de Dios de diversas maneras.
We ache for clarity when it comes to knowing God’s will, especially when we are faced with choices, whether they involve career changes, programs we might join, schools we
should attend, to marry or not… the list is endless. St. Ignatius tells us that to attain clarity we must first understand
the movements of the different spirits working within us. We
do this by carefully examining our feelings and desires, in the
silence of our hearts, where God speaks and we listen.
For most of us, this process takes time. It takes time in prayer
and time in silence. To have a truly uninterrupted conversation
with the Beloved, I find it helpful to take time apart from my
everyday life, to “retreat” from the world: without iPhones,
iPads and computers, and simply “feel” the presence of God.
We need to remember that God is creating us moment by
moment. God is not finished with us yet! God creates us with
a new heart and spirit so that we can be the best we can be
for God’s greater glory!
Necesitamos claridad para conocer la voluntad de Dios, especialmente cuando tenemos que elegir entre muchas opciones, ya sea que envuelva cambios de carrera, programas
de los que formaremos parte, escuelas a las que deberíamos
ir, casarnos o no…la lista es interminable. San Ignacio nos
dice que para obtener claridad, primero debemos entender
los movimientos de los distintos espíritus trabajando dentro
de nosotros. Y lo hacemos examinando muy cuidadosamente
nuestros sentimientos y deseos, en el silencio de nuestros
corazones, donde Dios nos habla y nosotros escuchamos.
Para la mayoría de nosotros, este proceso toma tiempo. Toma
tiempo en la oración y tiempo en el silencio. Para tener una
conversación verdaderamente ininterrumpida con el Amado,
yo encuentro que es de mucha ayuda, tomarme un tiempo
aparte de mi vida diaria, para “retirarme” del mundo: sin
iPhone, iPad y computadoras, y simplemente “sentir” la presencia de Dios.
Es necesario recordar que Dios nos está creando minuto a
minuto. ¡Dios no ha terminado con nosotros todavía! ¡Dios
nos crea con un corazón y un espíritu nuevo para que seamos
lo mejor que podamos ser, para su mayor gloria!
Maria G. Cressler has served as the executive director of Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center in
Atlanta, Georgia, since 2009. Maria received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Georgia
State University, Atlanta, GA, in 1982; her master’s degree in theological studies from Spring Hill
College, Mobile, AL in 2007; and a certification in spiritual direction, also from Spring Hill
College, in 2008. She is active in the ministries of Ignatius House, including: leading retreats,
directing individual retreats and offering spiritual direction.
we are your beloved.
Even in our unfinished state,
you take delight in what we are
and what we will become.
Help us to claim for our own your gentle leading in our lives,
help us to know you are always hoping for more for us
and from us.
Give us the strength and peace of heart
to be filled with your power.
Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air -An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees
– like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?
: Mary Oliver
Jesus (L. Reed/Blind Boys of Alabama featuring Lou Reed)
Playlist (Spotify users login, then click)
Week 5 - March 22-28
IGNITING OUR VALUES is an online program of
prayers, Scripture and reflections that explores our
shared religious identity as disciples of Jesus and
sons and daughters of Ignatius Loyola. With Jesus
as our focus, guide and source of inspiration, we
will prayerfully consider the meaning of discipleship
and the significance of six specific Ignatian values.
March 28, Saturday
Mary, Queen of the Society of Jesus
We considered the Jesuit/Ignatian practice of Spiritual
Discernment from a variety of vantage points this past
week. A wordsmith directed our attention to the
penmanship of the heart. A singer recommended we open
ourselves by listening attentively. A spiritual director
shared an unexpected musical treasure. A sound editor
used an aural collage to illustrate the delicacy and precision
of a dialogue with God. From a university campus came a
plea to make our lives more like Christ’s and from a retreat
center came a reminder that God’s creation is ever fresh
and ongoing.
Salve Regina!
From earliest days, Jesuits have claimed Our Lady as
patroness, mother and queen of the Society of Jesus
(feast April 22.) In a tradition dating to the time of Ignatius,
hundreds of thousands of lay Ignatians have honored Our
Lady with works of charity as members of Jesuit sodalities
dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Even today, amongst
Jesuits, no important occasion seems complete without a
trip to the chapel for a passionate rendition of the great
Marian hymn, the “Salve Regina.”
In a warmly personal reflection, Jesuit Post cofounder
Paddy Gilger recalls the first time he heard -- and sang -the “Salve Regina” and gives voice to the hymn’s profound
and lasting impact.
Spiritual Discernment & the “Salve Regina”
by Paddy Gilger, SJ
Discernimiento espiritual y el “Salve Regina”
Por: Paddy Gilger, SJ
It’s not always necessary to know what a prayer means to
have it mean something. Or at least that’s what my first experience of praying the “Salve Regina” tells me.
No siempre es necesario saber que significa una oración, para
que ésta signifique algo. O al menos esto es lo que mi
primera experiencia de rezar el “Salve Regina” me dice.
I was in college at the time, visiting a group of young Jesuits
who were studying philosophy in Chicago. We were standing
in their house chapel, I think – we must have been. Although
all I really remember is the warm wood of the pews, and this
statue of St. Ignatius kneeling before the Black Madonna, and
that it was hot and crowded. And then there must have been
some signal that others knew (but I didn’t) because everyone
rose together. Just as I’d gotten to my feet, the room pivoted
and the statue of Mary became the single focus. And then
they began to sing in a language I didn’t know, deep voices
rolling off the warm wood:
Yo estaba en el colegio en ese momento, visitando a un grupo
de Jesuitas jóvenes que estaban estudiando filosofía en
Chicago. Estábamos parados en la capilla de la casa, creo –
debe haber sido. Aunque lo único que realmente recuerdo es
la cálida madera de los bancos, y una estatua de San Ignacio
arrodillado frente a la Virgen Negra, y que hacía mucho calor y
el lugar estaba lleno de gente. Y debe haber habido alguna
otra señal que los demás supieron pero (que yo no) porque
todos se levantaron a la vez. Y justo cuando me puse de pie,
la sala pivotó y la estatua de María se convirtió en el foco de
atención. Y entonces comenzaron a cantar en un idioma que
yo no conocía, voces profundas rodando sobre la cálida
Oh clemens…
Oh pia…
Oh dulcis…
Virgo Maria
Years later, after I’d been a Jesuit for some time, I lived on an
Indian reservation for a while. While I was there I’d go with
some of my Lakota friends to the sweat lodge where we’d sit
in the dark before the glowing rocks and sweat and pray and
sing. In the blackness the songs – all sung in Lakota – would
cover us, stick to us, and, like our sweat, protect us from the
heat. In the circle there was no light to distract us, only
voices, and the drum, and the hiss of water against the rocks.
There was no light to pull our attention away from the crashing heat, the pounding sound. There was no light by which to
understand. Only wave after wave of song offered up in
praise. It was a relief just to worship without being worried to
understand first, to succumb to the invitation to be empty of
mind and open of heart. It was the same when I heard the
“Salve Regina” for the first time.
I learned Latin over a tortuous summer a couple years after
moving away from the reservation. And though I’d learned
what the words meant long before, I decided, one warm
evening late in that summer, to try to transform the Latin
words of the “Salve Regina” into English myself. It was while
sitting at my desk doing declensions that the meaning of the
words struck with force:
To thee do we cry…
To thee do we send up our sighs…
Show to us the fruit of thy womb…
Oh Clemens…
Oh pia…
Oh dulcis…
Virgo Maria
Años más tarde, después de haber sido Jesuita desde hacía
tiempo, viví en una reserva Indígena. Mientras estuve allí
solíamos ir con algunos de mis amigos Lakota a la cabaña de
sudar, donde nos sentábamos en la oscuridad frente a las brillantes rocas, a sudar, a rezar y a cantar. En la negrura, las canciones – todas cantadas en Lakota – nos cubrían, se nos
pegaban y, como nuestro sudor, nos protegían del calor. En el
círculo no había luces que nos distrajeran, sólo voces, el tambor y el murmullo del agua corriendo entre las rocas. No había
luces que desviaran nuestra atención del calor aplastante, del
sonido de golpeteo. No había luz por medio de la cual entender. Sólo ola tras ola de canciones ofrecidas en alabanza. Fue
un alivio el hecho de adorar, sin estar preocupado por entender primero, de sucumbir a la invitación a vaciar la mente y a
abrir el corazón. Fue igual cuando escuché el “Salve Regina”
por primera vez.
Aprendí Latin durante un tortuoso verano, un par de años después de irme de la reserva. Y aunque aprendí el significado
de las palabras, hacía ya mucho tiempo, decidí, una calurosa
noche de ese verano, tratar de transformar las palabras en
Latín del “Salve Regina”, en inglés, yo mismo. Fue cuando
sentado, haciendo declinaciones en mi escritorio, el significado de las palabras me golpeó con fuerza:
A ti clamamos…
A ti suspiramos…
Muéstranos el fruto de tu vientre…
Fr. Paddy Gilger, SJ, is an
amateur sociologist and
philosopher but a
professional Milwaukee Brewers
fan. He lived and worked at Red
Cloud Indian School on the Pine
Ridge reservation and is
currently associate pastor of St.
John's Parish at Creighton
University. Paddy is the founding
editor-in-chief of The Jesuit Post.
Holy God,
creator of universe,
you chose Mary to not only bear Jesus your Son
but to be a mother to him and a mother to us.
Help us to see her as a path to closer union with you,
with your Son,
and with the Holy Spirit that rushed upon her.
Help us to know the goodness of a spirit
by the fruits we bear after a spiritual encounter.
Show to us the fruit of our wombs
as we hope to bear you in the world.
Let in the nameless formless power
That beats upon my door,
Let in the ice, let in the snow,
The banshee howling on the moor.
Must I take pity on
The raging of the storm
That rose up from the great abyss
Before the earth was made,
That pours the stars in cataracts
And shakes this violent world?
Have pity on the raven’s cry,
The torrent and the eagle’s wing,
The icy water of the tarn
And on the biting blast.
Let in the wound,
Let in the pain,
Let in your child tonight.
: Kathleen Raine
Deep End Dance: RTE (Conor Horgan/David Bolger)
Salve Regina (piazza S. Pietro, Roma)
Learn more about
Mary, Queen of the Society of Jesus
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