22d Sunday of the Year C (29 Aug 2010)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
The parish theme for the next 12 months is “Ignatius, the Pilgrim.” You will have opportunities to align your hearts and minds with Ignatius and dispose yourselves to receive gifts of God—graces—to live in transformed ways. To align your hearts and minds with Ignatius and dispose yourselves to receive God’s graces to live in transformed ways is a taut description of making the Spiritual Exercises,-which came from the experience of St. Ignatius, who welcomed God’s life into his and lived life anew.
The content of the Spiritual Exercises is accompanying Jesus through his life as Scripture unfolds it. The method is a focus on his cross. Jesus is not a past personality or a dead person from the past. Not at all! Jesus is the Living One, who moved through human life by dying on the cross, whom God raised to unending life as Messiah and Lord. Jesus’ cross is a mystery: in our Christian sense known only by the Trinity; yet the effects of Jesus’ cross are available to people in every age. The cross and its effects are available when we open ourselves to them and the life the cross offers.
Opening ourselves describes an interior journey or personal pilgrimage with life-transforming fruits. Pope Paul VI offered a list of some, and his list shows that they allow us both to conduct our affairs with humility and to approach the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem...and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant with both feet on solid ground. See if you find your desires in Pope Paul’s list:
[a treasury of] values...a thirst for God which only the simple and poor can know. ...capable of generosity and sacrifice even to the point of heroism, when it is a question of manifesting belief. ...an acute awareness of profound attributes of God: fatherhood, providence, loving and constant presence. ...interior attitudes rarely observed to the same degree elsewhere: patience, the sense of the cross in daily life, detachment, openness to others, devotion.1
This list contains goals many hope to reach, goals not completely out of reach as we make our pilgrim way through life. A word about the process of the Spiritual Exercises to remind us that it isn’t scripture study but a different kind of knowing: it’s a personal relationship with Jesus, accompanying Jesus through the mysteries of his life as Scripture unfolds them. My example is the Crusades, precisely those who could not go crusading.
The Crusades had a spirituality. To appreciate it you and I have to work hard to see beyond the military and moral disasters they often were. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection made the land he walked holy. To regain entry to the holy places was the purpose, and the crusades were under the banner of the cross. The Franciscans, the custodians of the Holy Land, had remembered and maintained the Way of the Cross, enshrining within that holy way, 14 stations or stopping points to praise Jesus and his cross and to recall a specific moment associated with his movement toward his death.
Those who did not go crusading to the Holy Land were really there in spirit by making the Way of the Cross. That 13th Century devotion, around the time of the Sixth Crusade (of seven), is how the holy way, the Stations of the Cross, became part of every church and chapel. In its way the Spiritual Exercises allow us to accompany Jesus through his incarnation, boyhood, baptism, temptations, public ministry, passion, death and resurrection. We really accompany Jesus by the power of his grace, which overcomes time, distance and culture.
If you have a thirst for God, a desire to be more aware of your gifts and more generous with them, seek to know and feel God creating you at each moment or desire interior attitudes rarely observed to the same degree elsewhere: patience, the sense of the cross in daily life, detachment, openness to others and devotion, then consider making your personal pilgrimage through the Spiritual Exercises. Visit McAuley Hall after mass to learn more.
In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week, compose yourself in the Trinity and become more alert to the Divine Persons continually creating you. Ask St. Ignatius to present you to Jesus. Praise your Creator and Redeemer for dying on the cross and rising to indestructible life for you. Ask Jesus for the grace to accompany him in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus’ words, thy kingdom come, on our lips remind us that although not fully present, God’s kingdom continues to dawn in us, our homes, in University Heights and the world.
1. His Evangelization in the Modern World, #48.
Wiki-image of statue of St. Ignatius by ECastro is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license. Wiki-image by David Blaikie of detail of a door of Sagrada Familia is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.