Sunday, July 31, 2022

Ignatius and the Stars


From May 2021 until July 2022, the Society of Jesus celebrates an Ignatian Year.  May 20, 2021 marks the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius’ conversion — that fateful day when Ignatius the soldier, struck by a cannonball, began his transformation into Ignatius the pilgrim. Today let us pray a prayer for the close of the Ignatian year.


Ignatius and the Stars: A Prayer for the Close of the Ignatian Year


Before the vigil at Montserrat,

Before the pilgrimage to Jerusalem,

Before the foundation of the Society,

There was a man, on a castle balcony,

Gazing up in wonder at the stars.

St. Ignatius, awed by mystery,

Draw our eyes ever upward to the heavens,

Our hearts to the holy adventures that await us,

And our spirits to the grandeur that surrounds us.

May we, too, see all things within us and beyond us

As sacred galaxies, formed and held,

This year and always, by loving hands.


by Cameron Bellm

Sunday, July 24, 2022

World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly

This Sunday we celebrate World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.  Established by Pope Francis in 2021 to be celebrated on the fourth Sunday in July (the Sunday closest to the feasts of Saints Joachim & Anne), the theme for this year’s celebration is “In old age they will still bear fruit.” (Psalm 92: 15). Pope Francis’ message emphasizes how grandparents, and the elderly are a value and a gift both for society and for ecclesial communities.

In his message for the second World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, Pope Francis writes:

“Old age is no time to give up and lower the sails, but a season of enduring fruitfulness: a new mission awaits us and bids us look to the future. ‘The special sensibility that those of us who are elderly have for the concerns, thoughts and the affections that make us human should once again become the vocation of many. It would be a sign of our love for the younger generations’.  This would be our own contribution to the revolution of tenderness, a spiritual and non-violent revolution in which I encourage you, dear grandparents and elderly persons, to take an active role.”

He tells us that “Many people are afraid of old age.  They consider it a disease with which any contact is best avoided… The Scriptures see things differently.  A long life – so the Bible teaches -- is a blessing, and the elderly are not outcasts to be shunned, but living signs of the goodness of God who bestows life in abundance.  Blessed is the house where an older person lives!  Blessed is the family that honors the elderly!

Let us take time today to celebrate the elders among us.  May we remember them with affection and love not only today but every day!

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Martha and Mary


Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.  She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.  Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?  Tell her to help me."  The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."  Luke 10: 38 – 42

Today’s Gospel is one of my favorites.  I find the story of these two sisters to be a wonderful display of the relationship between two siblings.  Martha who feels so comfortable with Jesus that she tells Him, “Tell her to help me.”  I have had the experience of telling my mother to tell my sister to help me.  It seems like a simple statement, but is it?  Imagine telling Jesus what to do.  Sometimes I wonder if I do this when I pray.  I feel like I am telling Jesus how to answer my prayers.  Bargaining, desire, fear, and anxiety are all happening at the same time.  I worry over how things are going, how family and friends are behaving, what is the best solution to a situation, etc.

It is in this moment that as I tell Jesus what to do that I finally listen to His response.  “You are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing.”   Over the years I have heard this response many times.  I know in my heart that Jesus Himself is the only thing I need.  He is God and with Him all things are possible.  He will take care of everything.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Who is my neighbor?


Sometime the Gospel is so familiar that we can almost recite it word for word.  Today’s Gospel begs the question, “Who is my neighbor?”  This morning at Mass the celebrant told the story of a many rushing through the airport who was late for his flight.  Inadvertently he knocked down a stand of apples.  Feeling guilty he stopped to help pick up the scattered apples.  He reached into his wallet and gave the owner $10 saying he hoped he hadn’t ruined her day.  Noticing the woman was blind he was surprised when she called after him and said, “Are you Jesus?”  The man was shocked as he continued to his gate.

Today’s Gospel causes us to ask the same question, “Who is my neighbor?”  As I prayed about this Gospel today, I was reminded of an ad for a local soup kitchen that is beginning to collect school supplies for children in the area.  Perhaps this is what today’s Gospel is calling us to.  We are called to help our brothers and sisters in any way we can.  As soon as July 4th is over the “Back to School” signs appear.  For many students it may feel like they just began summer vacation for others August brings the return to the new school year.

As we reflect on this call let us remember who our neighbors are and reach out to help them in any way we can.  It may be a simple smile, or it may be a generous donation.  Whatever it is remember someone may just recognize you as Jesus.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

July 4th

Tomorrow we celebrate the 4th of July.  For many this means barbecues, getting together, and being with family and friends.  Let us pray for our nation this day and every day.

God, source of all freedom,

this day is bright with the memory

of those who declared that life and liberty

are your gift to every human being.

Help us to continue a good work begun long ago.

Make our vision clear and our will strong:

that only in human solidarity will we find liberty,

and justice only in the honor that belongs

to every life on earth.

Turn our hearts toward the family of nations:

to understand the ways of others,

to offer friendship,

and to find safety only in the common good of all.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Prayer taken from the Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, Revised Edition, copyright © 2007, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.