Friday, January 08, 2021

Jesuit Perspective

The global Society of Jesus tweeted the statement, Jesuit College & University Presidents Call for End to Violence, regarding the tragic events that marred the Electoral College certification on 06 January in Washington, D.C. Several links to the individual colleges and universities are available at the statement. Related statements are at some of those sites.

Sunday, January 03, 2021

To Navigate What 2021 Brings

"We’re entering another year, one that I hope is marked by less volatility, uncertainty and chaos. But if it’s not, we can navigate it soberly if we learn the way of St. Ignatius: Cultivate a bonded attachment with the Giver instead of the gifts.” The words close Seth Haines’ 01 January 21 article in America Magazine. That “bonded attachment” is not limited to a few. 

Friday, December 25, 2020

Two Mists

Christmas Day (25 Dec 2020) Is 52. 7-10; Ps 98; Hb 1: 1-6; Jn 1. 1-18
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Two Mists

A venerable Jesuit observed that “gospel words, are in their effect upon us, like window panes that have become misted over.”1 Words in John’s Gospel expressing the Incarnation  can leave a heavy mist. Permit me to spray 3 spritzes of homiletic Windex to remove the mist: 
    • why we are here;
    • we are a new creation; and
    • the daily gift we offer.

Poll each of us, and we would hear various responses to why we are here. One thing that Christmas conjures fuels its celebrations: emotion. Aromas, sights, sounds, rituals, the very thought of Christmas stir us. I used to discount emotions in years gone by because I mistrusted them. Many helped me trust and accept emotions. Through emotions God communicates to us that we are alive, that God creates us each moment. 

Like Christmas worship of God is emotion-rich. Christmas memories stir people to reach beyond themselves—in memory and in acton. St. Augustine was eloquent about memory, emotion and reaching beyond with love. About revering martyrs at their shrines and graves, he preached, “the memories that cling to those…altars [and places] where these holy bodies rest will stir our emotions and encourage us to greater love both for the martyrs whom we can imitate and for God whose grace enables us to do so.”2

By graciously empowering us to reach beyond ourselves God makes us a new creation. That phrase opened mass in mid-Advent: God…through your Only-Begotten Son [you] have made us a new creation.3 How? By being born in time and our human nature. “This wonderful blending”4 of divine and human John’s gospel assured us empowers [us] to become children of God. “Jesus Christ was born for this!”5 we sing. On the birthday of Christ Jesus in time and our human nature we recall God’s daily gift to us: God’s gift of becoming children of God.

God’s transforming gift is for every day. God gives it to us to share with others. No share in God’s healing life is given to keep. What can we offer? With his finger on the pulse of human living Pope Francis suggests kindness is the best daily gift we offer. In his recent encyclical Francis urges us to recover kindness. “Those who [cultivate kindness] become stars shining in the midst of darkness.” Christian kindness outshines good manners. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit for us. Practicing kindness “involves ‘speaking words of comfort, strength, consolation and encouragement’ and not ‘words that demean, sadden, anger or show scorn.’” Indeed, acting kindly “opens new paths where hostility and conflict would burn all bridges.”6

This year has been painfully dark:: dark for all. Others feel it more intensely: survivors of Covid19; exhausted health-care workers the world over; the heroic people who allow us to carry on living day to day; those who survive loved ones, friends and colleagues who have died. They prove that the darkness of pain and exhaustion are unable to overwhelm kindness.

By offering kindness as our daily practice we help kindness become a culture. Francis reminds us a culture is a network of a people’s “desires, their interests and ultimately the way they live their lives.”7 In addition to easing others’ burdens giving kindness daily “transforms lifestyles, relationships and the ways ideas are discussed and compared.”8 The eyes of those who receive kindness may mist with tears; that mist does not obscure vision; it helps individuals see themselves more clearly: possessing dignity; enjoying respect; and living as a new creation. Resolving to offer kindness more readily imitates God’s kindness to us; it is the timely gift our world sorely needs; and each of us is empowered to offer it everyday. Merry Christmas! 


  1. Karl Rahner, “Christmas, the Festival of Eternal Youth,” Theological Investigations, vol. VII, (NY: Herder and Herder), p. 121.
  2. From his Treatise Against Faustus used in the Office of Readings of the Liturgy of the Hours.
  3. Third Week, Tuesday, Collect, Roman Missal.
  4. Leo the Great, Letter 31.2, also in the Office of Readings.
  5. 2nd verse of “Good Christians All Rejoice,” Lyrics, John Mason Neale (1818-1866).
  6. Fratelli Tutti, ##222-224.
  7. Fratelli Tutti, ##216.
  8. Fratelli Tutti, ##222.


Wiki-images by Asurnipal Simple Christmas crib in a hollow tree in Frastanz, Vorarlberg, Austria & Detail of same CC BY-SA 4.0.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Colourful Review

The final days before Christmas the Church prays with various scriptural titles for the Messiah. Sister of St. Joseph Ansgar Holmberg colourfully reimagined them. “I decided to paint them for myself, for me to understand them better.”

Monday, December 21, 2020

Vaccination and the Common Good

"Getting a vaccine, the note [from the Vatican Congregation of the Faith] added, is also a question of promoting the common good.” The note clarifies conflicting reports from some quarters that getting the Covid-19 vaccines may be immoral.

Bright Event

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Advent Opens Door


dvent closes this week. Praying in Advent opens Christians to be more alert and sensitive. The global Jesuit site offers an aid to pray with the Universal Apostolic Preferences during Advent. The UAPs animate all Ignatian ministries. Colleagues of Jesuits and practitioners of Ignatian spirituality benefit from the reflection as much as Jesuits as do.


Wiki-image AdventCandles.jpg by “Jonathunder | CC BY-SA 3.0"

Friday, December 11, 2020

“Healing of the Earth”

On the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe the Catholic Church in Canada observes a National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples. This year's focus is “Healing of the Earth.  

A message for the occasion highlights: humans form a single family dwelling on Earth; ecological conversion frees people to care more for Earth; and indigenous citizens teach attitudes and ways of Earth care. The Vatican News post links to the message.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Year of St. Joseph

St. Joseph was proclaimed Patron of the Catholic Church on 8 December 1870. To mark its 150th anniversary Pope Francis proclaimed a Year of St. Joseph to extend until 8 December 2021. Vatican News posted about the Year; the post includes a link to the letter of Francis.

Letting Go

The pandemic has removed things and activities from daily life. Clinging to them prevents choosing wisely to remain healthy. Clinging also denies opportunities to grow, even to notice God’s invitations to more life.

Jesuit Brother Joe Hoover suggested that “when we are asked to do a simple thing that makes sense, like letting things go during a ferocious pandemic, it might be God is preparing us to receive something profound in return.”