Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tuesday word, 31 July 2007

St. Ignatius Loyola, Solemnity (31 Jul 2007) Dt 30. 11-14; Resp 1Tim 12-17; Jn 1. 35-39
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

Feeling Glory

Join me in making two connections to help us appreciate better a well known phrase of St. Ignatius, “to the greater glory of God.” Some of us may have written its Latin initials on schoolwork when we were young: A.M.D.G. The connections begin with Moses.

The first connection is that the covenant experience of Moses and the first Israel was one that was already...in your hearts. Ignatius grew convinced that God enters into a covenant with each human in a personal and direct way at the core of one’s being, which the word heart symbolizes. Our lifelong vocation is learning how to carry...out the covenant in deed and word. To carry out the covenant day to day glorifies God.

The second connection asks, What is glory? I don’t know what first comes to your minds. I know I was surprised to learn that for Moses and for the first Israel the Hebrew word for glory connoted weight not something ethereal, which the word glory later came to suggest. Its connotation renders glory something abstract.

Scripture reminds us that God’s glory filled the temple/1/. God wore it as a garment. Even contemporary author Rod Gragg entitled his book about the 26th North Carolina Infantry Division, which engaged union troops at Gettysburg, Covered With Glory./2/ Glory suggests majesty, and majesty suggests power, authority or dignity which others can feel./3/

That is one great contribution of St. Ignatius: humans can feel God’s glory not merely see it or have an idea of it. We, who feel God’s glory in a sustained way and keep alert to it, are able to speak, think, worship and behave in ways which extend God’s glory. As St. Paul put it, whatever you do, do everything to the glory of God. St. Ignatius focused us even more concretely: everything we do is glorify God more solidly.

Our lifelong vocation of giving “greater glory to God” according to each one’s way of life makes God’s loving presence felt more concretely and covers us and others with divine glory and make us better witnesses of God’s glory. Ask God for a more concrete feeling of God’s glory already alive in you.
/1/ 2Chronicles 7.1 and elsewhere

/2/ http://www.amazon.com/Covered-Glory-Carolina-Infantry-Gettysburg/dp/0060934778

/3/ Hebrew words for honor and majesty share the wearing in the lovely opening verses of Psalm 104: O Lord my God...you are clothed with honor and majesty, you have covered yourself with light as with a garment.
Wiki-image of St. Ignatius of Loyola is in the public domain.

The scriptures for the Jesuit Solemnity of St. Ignatius are from the Jesuit Lectionary for Celebrations Proper to the Society of Jesus.

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