Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Daily word, 28 Jun 16

St. Irenaeus (28 Jun 2016) Am 3. 1-8; 4. 11-12; Ps 5; Mt 8. 23-27
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J., 8-day retreat
An apt grace at this point in retreats may be named staying. The person who directed one of my early retreats recommended I beg for it.You may have heard your director in one way or another urge you to stay in your retreat and not dwell on what may await you. Our typically faster paced ways in the world recommend that urging; we need it when the enemy of our human nature distracts us with our usual ways we are in the world. Savoring helps us cooperate with the staying-grace. Keep savoring, relishing, luxuriating in, keep appreciating God’s life offered you today. Even spiritual “desolation is a new life waiting to break through” in us.1

Savoring lets us be more aware or newly aware God in Jesus by Holy Spirit creates us each moment. Our felt knowledge that God creates us now is worth savoring. It is each one’s personal relationship with our triune God. Moments ago we heard that graced-self knowledge expressed in prophetic language: You alone have I known. Lending God his voice, Amos reminded God’s people then—and us now—they were not trivia before God but God’s intimates. Our relationship with God and God with us shapes our way to live in the world with responsibilities as well as freedom.

Clearer vision of our responsibilities and our loyalties lets us notice they are not all equal; some are more significant. That clarity helps us notice our freedom as Jesus’ dear ones. Our freedom is his, the freedom he enjoyed as God’s Beloved. Jesus entrusts his freedom to us. Savoring it helps it be our second nature. Prophet Amos invites us to relish our freedom in Jesus—despite his harsh message to Israel.

Amos began his message with questions; his hearers knew the answers. I got lost in two of them: lions roar when they sight prey; and they growl contentedly over their nourishment.2 Lost in his image let me notice: praying seeks divine nourishment. Our seeking opens on to relishing nourishment received. Amos and Ignatius together suggest each of us ask: Have I purred contentedly over my graces? Do we stay in the contentment Gods consolation offers us? Contentment may not have come readily for some us; we may have had to hike a trail away from the house so we could thunder at God in dismay or whoop over noticing God sustaining us, freeing us—again or for the first time.

Staying with and relishing our nourishing graces engages our true selves. When he prayed Ignatius would seek God’s nourishing life for him this way: ‘Ignatius would tell God what worried him, what he desired, or what he wanted to find out.’3 Ignatian praying frees us to do the same and more: esp. to feel awe and express “surging emotion” for the ways the Trinity creates and sustains us.4

Asking for this graced felt-knowledge, savouring it when we receive it and revisiting it free us. We are free to feel Jesus creating us, to feel Jesus saving us from the storms of our making and ones beyond our control. Being saved allows us to hear the endearing name by which Jesus calls each of us, “You of little faith, I am here for you; rely on me.”


  1. William Broderick, S.J. “First Week: Rules of Discernment,” Way Suppl. 48 (1983), p. 35.
  2. For the common wisdom that allowed hearers to understand Amos, see, for example, Is 5.29; 31.4; Ps 104.21.
  3. Annmiek van Campen used present tense verbs (tells, desires, wants) to describe Ignatius praying in “The Mystical Way of Images and Choice,” Way Suppl. 103 (2002), p.10.
  4. Spiritual Exercises [SpEx] 60.1; also see 50.6.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Wondering at BREXIT?

The vote to leave the EU came from a polarized electorate in the U.K.’s Its division will not quickly disappear. The Editor of Thinking Faith suggests that the road ahead must be paved with generosity if it is to lead to the common good.”
Wiki-image of Exit sign PD-Release

Thursday, June 23, 2016

“Take the Long View”

Pope Francis has critics who paint him as awful for the church—and worse. Fr. Dwight Longenecker has described them as “wild-mannered.” In a post yesterday he reminds readers that Francis is not one of the few “stinkers” that has occupied the Chair of Peter (they were about 4% of the total number). Francis-watchers do better to notice “the gifts he brings to” today’s church. 
Wiki-image by Jebulon of Dusk at Saint-Peter Basilica, Vittorio-Emmanuele II bridge, and Tiber river CC BY-SA 3.0

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday word, 19 Jun 16

Twelfth Sunday of the Year B (19 Jun 2016)
2Sm 12. 7-10, 13; Ps 32; Gal 2. 16-19-21; Lk 7. 36-8. 3
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
The final verse of our response to the reading from Zechariah invites us to renew our confidence in God; it may invite some of us to trust God in a new way. The verse sang: You are my help, and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy. My soul clings fast to you; your right hand upholds me. It invited a member of Israel to trust God through public worship; it instilled joyous confidence.

Worship’s environment is significant: we know that without thinking; so for Israel. The ark of the covenant contained the tablets of the ten words Moses received from God on Mt. Sinai. Its cover bore two cherubim. The angels at the ends of the cover faced one another with wings outstretched and touched at its center.1 

Long after the people settled from their wanderings Solomon had built the temple. Greatly enlarged cherubim stood in its holy of holies. Each stood upright about 15 feet with wings of 7.5 feet; as the wings of each touched they spanned nearly 30 feet.2 

The point isn’t the measurements. The point is the size of the cherubim: they towered over people and surrounded them. Hardly anyone saw those cherubim; scripture described them for everyone. Knowledge of them caused the psalmist to feel embraced. All Israel worshipped with the psalmist’s songs. So people sang in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy. Joy suggests a feeling of intimate embrace, feeling protected, upheld by God’s right hand.

Jesus, too, felt this intimate embrace; he savored it and responded freely to it. St. Paul described his response with the phrase obedience of faith.3 Jesus confidently felt protected and upheld by God’s right hand as he told his disciples he must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. This way of the Messiah is the way of his disciples in each age—why we don’t limit this gospel to Lent. To shoulder crosses, that is, to endure life’s trials, is how we imitate our Messiah Jesus; he minced no words about suffer[ing] greatly before he would enter his glory.

St. Paul reminded us that baptism causes the faith of Jesus in us. By becoming human for us and with us Jesus gives us access to his faith: by his Spirit Jesus empowers us to respond to God as he did. Jesus’ human response to God modelled each human’s response to God. Jesus’ human response to God gives us access to confidence. More than self-assurance Christian confidence is joyous trust and conviction that we stand al-ays in God’s loving embrace; God upholds us.

Baptism began our joyous trust and conviction. The Eucharist, as well as other sacraments, sustains it and helps it grow more alive. The sacraments allow Jesus’ joyous, trusting conviction to become ours. While we can say that Jesus’ joyous, trusting conviction is ours, it is never private. Baptism and all the sacraments are not private; they belong to all who profess our Catholic faith. Baptism produces Christian unity, or to use St. Paul’s phrase, baptism causes us to belong to Christ.

We foster what baptism begins and the eucharist sustains as we notice daily the ways our triune God intimately embraces us and protects us. Our God works not only in moments of public worship. God works through human longings, desires, feelings. When our longings, desires and feelings have a texture of surprise—such as, “Now I see!” or “Why do I keep gravitating toward this?”—surprise often indicates we are in God’s right hand. The more we savor our longings, desires and feelings our responses to God will resemble more Jesus’ human response to God.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Rest yourself in the bright shadow of our triune God.
  • Ask St. Peter to present you to Jesus with a strong confidence.
  • Chat with him: praise Jesus for dying and rising for you; thank him for purifying your confidence to more like his.
  • Ask him for the grace to respond more freely to God as you walk with Jesus.
  • Close, saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. The words of Jesus, thy will be done, on our lips joyfully praise God for being ever-mindful of us. His words give us Jesus’ confidence to live more faithfully in the face of trials as well as joys.
Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise
  1. Exodus 25.20.
  2. 2 Chronicles 3.10-13.
  3. Romans 1.5 and 16.26: obedience of faith as modeled by Jesus, who gives access (5.2) to God to all who practice his faith, bookends St. Paul’s letter.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

“Modern Warfare Destroys Your Brain”

The effects of explosive blasts has long been considered more psychological than physical. Keen minds have challenged that. Many scoffed at their insights even as late as the last decade of last century. Now a growing number of health professionals take seriously the physical effects—because of this evidence. 
Wiki-image of Exploding ordnance PD-USGov

Monday, June 13, 2016

Standing With Orlando

Orlando Bishop Noonan:
Throughout the day 12 June, church personnel were helping victims and families “on the front lines of this tragedy.…” “They are offering Gods love and mercy to those who are facing unimaginable sorrow. They will remain vigilant and responsive to the needs of our hurting brothers and sisters.”
 More from FloridaCatholic
Wiki-image by The Floridian Boric of Orlando Skyline  CC BY-SA 2.0

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday word, 12 Jun 16

Getting Out
Eleventh Sunday of the Year B (12 Jun 2016)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Credit cards can be devastating. For some they pave the way into debt-ruining lives. Debt scares for it can spell the end: of ownership; of connection with one’s homestead; of trust in the world of commerce.

Debt has dogged humans from our beginning. For Jesus and ancient Mediterraneans debt often was disastrous. Those with slender means were ever near debt. Many who fell into debt worked for others who controlled land once theirs. Ancestral land meant nearly everything. If their indebtedness deepened they could be driven from their ancestral land.
Being in debt allowed people to appreciate not being right with God—sinfulness. Forgiveness of debt allow-ed people to appreciate God’s forgiveness of sin so people could again be in right relation with God.  Jesus peopled his parables with people in debt. No doubt Jesus observed the misfortune; he may have experienced it first hand in his family.

Jesus interpreted the experience of the woman who bathed, dried and kissed Jesus’ feet as forgiven debt. The larger [the] debt…forgiven the greater love wells up in a person. The woman who bathed, dried and kissed Jesus’ feet intuited that the one who cancelled her debt of sinfulness was the most Exalted One. She recognized that interior truth before she learned  Jesus was in her city.1 Her felt knowledge that God graciously had set her in right relation with God spilled over into intimate action—bathing, touching, kissing the feet of him who preach[ed] and proclaim[ed that matchless] good news. Indeed, her reaction to God renewing her life  defied the conventions of her society: she touched a man in public in ways reserved only for spouses in private! The prominent aroma of the costly perfume imparted to everyone in Simon’s house God at work in her singular experience which no one could recognize but Jesus: Your faith has saved you.

Perhaps we do well to inhale the sweet perfume of God’s labour in us that has made us right with God. Recalling our experience of forgiveness reminds us again of our triune God’s intimate concern for us. The measure of anyone’s sin is the measure of divine forgiveness. Divine forgiveness is a sweet debt: a debt that does not frighten but assures; a debt giving life and well-being; one giving us a new home; the one giving us new courage to live Jesus’ good news of the kingdom of God untrammelled by personal or social expectations that blind us to being sinners loved by God and prevent us from living as Jesus’ disciples today.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Let yourself grow more aware of our triune God desiring you to enjoy a share in divine life now. Bask in their freeing gift.
  • Ask the woman who loved much to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise Jesus for dying and rising for you; thank him for forgiving you and restoring your life’s meaning even though you felt it was extinguished forever.
  • Ask Jesus to strengthen your commitment to imitate his faith, his human response to God.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. It models the way Jesus practiced his saving faith. He gave it to us to help move through the hours of our day with deeper faith and be witnesses of his forgiving peace.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. The same word may be translated learned and recognized. The word means a felt-knowledge more than mere fact.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Now Her Day a Feast

St. Mary Magdalene, the first to announce the resurrection of Jesus, has been celebrated with a Memorial on 22 July in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis decreed today that the church will now celebrate her day as a Feast. It is the same rank the Apostles enjoy on their celebrations. Inés San Martín included some comments by Archbishop Arthur Roche—Secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments—in her column at Crux.
Wiki-image of St. Mary Magdalene PD-US

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Second Reading Series

he Second Reading in the Roman Catholic Lectionary for Sunday worship is a portion of the Letter to the Galatians. The 5-week series began last week. Jesuit Peter Edmonds introduces St. Paul’s vigorous letter and moves through each portion that will be proclaimed on successive Sundays. His guidance to hearing it fruitfully may be found here at Thinking Faith.

Wiki-image of St. Paul PD-US

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Sunday word, 05 Jun 16

Restoring Life to the Living
Tenth Sunday of the Year B (05 Jun 2016)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Summer beckons. It frees us for many activities and lengthens daylight to enjoy them. More light, warmth, cleansing rains, refreshing swims, cookouts and road-trip vacations boost our zest.

A summer cold changes that. Sunlight brings tears to our eyes; aromas—indoor and out—vanish; warmth doesn’t ease aches; the thought of activity exhausts us. Neither work nor play satisfies us. Everything feels off. That plodding drudgery feels endless.

Rehearsing the felt symptoms of a summer cold may seem an odd way into God’s word. Yet it offers access to some common feelings: being unable to breathe in open air; unable to hear music in birdsong and human laughter; unable to be intoxicated by aromas wafting around us; unable to taste fresh food or relish deep, interior delicacies; unable to see clearly because our eyes tear; unable to think because our heads pound and our ears ring.

Recalling the feelings summer colds inflict on us begins—just begins—to let us suffer with those for whom loss and tragedy extinguish their zest and dull physical senses and spiritual ones. Recalling those feelings helps us begin to feel compassion for the bible widows scripture has put before us.

The world into which Jesus was born was a man’s world. Woman did not lack power; they exercised it in their realms—realms defined by the male-centred culture. Cultures everywhere are the structures, systems and symbols of societies. The culture into which Jesus was born, lived and died long before established values by which everyone was expected to live.

Jesus’ culture valued what was old and venerable; it suspected novel things and ways. It valued large families, and people worried about what and who might bring shame to them. Single women did not help unite families. When single daughters were taken advantage of not only was a family shamed, the future prospect of the daughter’s marriage was bleak at best.

Jesus’ culture placed married and single women in the care of the men who headed their families. When women were widowed sons cared for them and were their link to the world. Widows were bereft of the men that linked them to world. They could look forward to their sons growing up and securing life for them. Widows who buried their only sons had also died. Their lost dear ones as well as their lost futures left them unable to breathe in open air; unable to hear music in birdsong and human laughter; unable to be intoxicated by aromas wafting around them; unable to taste food or meaning they once had; unable to see clearly because their eyes teared, their souls wept; and their thoughts were desolate.

Elijah knew the calamity of a dead son included more than his mother’s loss of him. His death sapped her life of protection and meaning. Through Elijah God demonstrated power over death and more: God’s compassion for her. She, too, was restored to life. Not only did Jesus fulfill an earlier prophet’s vocation; Jesus embodied God’s compassion: his inmost self was wrenched at the widow’s plight and he acted on it! Jesus modelled for us to feel deeply for each person and let ourselves be moved to act mercifully—with his mercy.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Become aware of the Divine Persons creating you in love.
  • Ask the widows of scripture to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise Jesus for dying and rising for you; thank him for restoring your life’s meaning even though you felt it was extinguished forever.
  • Ask Jesus for grace to act on your emerging new meaning for others.
  • Close by saying slowly the prayer Jesus taught us. It summarizes Jesus’ compassion and guides us to practice his compassion today.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

Wiki-image: Jesus raising the widow’s son PD-US Hibiscus by PDP