Good to be together as Jesuit family. Thank you for gathering today to glorify the Lord for the marvels he did and continues to do through Ignatius and to each one of us. God of Ignatius is a laboring God in this world, in history, in each of us and in all of us - leading us to our flourishing and guiding the creation to its fullness. God and we have the same enterprise, originating from God and moving towards God in an ever becoming process.
God our Father and Mother, we appreciate you as our creator and rejoice in being your ‘children’ created in your image and likeness; recreate us today and every moment of our lives to discover your beauty and goodness and realize you - the ‘principle and foundation’ of our lives. Lord Have Mercy.
Lord Jesus, you’re the beloved of your Father and you rejoiced in being just that, doing your Father’s will. Make us sons and daughters after you recognizing that our true flourishing is in doing your will. Give us your grace to seek and accomplish your will with joy and magnanimity. Christ have mercy.
Spirit of the Risen Lord, come to us today, mould and shape us that we may find God in all and in all God, Lord have mercy.
The time of Ignatius has some parallel with our times. At that time, the colonial powers compelled by reasons within and propelled by the industrial revolution spanned across the world to colonize and to expand. The missionaries followed them to spread the gospel and the church. Even as Europe was colonizing the globe, and church was expanding, internally church was immersed in scandals of pomp and luxury, political intrigues and clerical power. Martin Luther responded to this and caused the second division in the church, and at the same time initiated major reforms within the church and across the ecclesial map of the time. The Catholic church owe much to Martin Luther for initiating much needed reforms, even though it cost a division; Ignatius walked a different and narrow path.
Today we are witnessing unprecedented ‘globalizing trends’ through technology and neo-liberal market economy, introducing a new kind of colonization of peoples and cultures. Church is undergoing a scandalous phase of pedophilia/sexual abuse and financial mismanagement, across the world and in our own country.
Can Ignatian perspective throw some light into this situation? Pope Francis seems to think so and his Ignatian ways seem to confirm that.
Ignatius, a court official turned soldier, shattered by a bullet received during a petty war between two local kingdoms of Navarra and the French army at Pamplona (Spain), was taught by God. In and through these exterior ‘events’ Ignatius was led to perceive interior movements within him. That led Ignatius through a period of soul-searching, through extreme forms penance and fasting. He came through it a transformed person, with a tool in hand, that was deeply personal and yet truly universal; this tool of the Spiritual Exercises contained a pedagogy, a method capable of initiating reformation, within and without, slow and steady, and within the church.
How did Ignatius make a differene? He had a double tangential approach, or a process approach, with definite goals in view. The first was a process of inner transformation through interior freedom, saying no to all inordinate attachments to health, riches, honour, long life etc,having God as the only absolute. The second was a process of building up a horizon of the kingdom of God as thepoint of reference, having the two standards, as the measuring yard. Not a gospel of prosperity, promising riches and wealth, power and pleasure, but a true flourishing of the human person and human family through dying to self-will, self-love self-interest.
This double tangential process approach is profoundly based on the two biblical/theological principles: I God is dealing with each individual in and through the interior movements of the persons, in unique manner in each one’s lives; ii)God is laboring in this world for his kingdom in and through all realities, inviting us to join his enterprise. The first insight earned him scrutiny and prison a few times.
Today as we celebrate his feast, we are invited to embrace this double processes: join the enterprise of God laboring in this world in and through all circumstances, persons, events and movements. Even in the darkest of moments and situations, God is laboring and we are invited to decipher him and join his enterprise. Secondly we are invited to a contemplative way of reviewing daily what is happening to us and how the Spirit is leading us through our interior movements. In both processes, we need to adopt a discerning attitude to check on our growth interior freedom and to discover a God laboring in and through all things/persons and events.
God of Ignatius is struggling with us and laboring in this world, tobirth a new world. Hatred, divisive ideologies, mob lynching, lies, majoritarian hegemonies and falsified narratives shall not discourage us to join the enterprise of a laboring God. As D.2. No.6 of GC 35 says: “starting from the contemplation of the incarnation, it is clear that Ignatius does not sweeten or falsify painful realities. Rather he begins with them, exactly as they are – poverty, forced displacement, violence between people, abandonment, structural injustice, sin – but then points to how God’s Son was born into these realities; and it is here that sweetness is found. Tasting and seeing God in reality is a process. Ignatius had to learn this himself through many painful experiences.”…..No.7. “Similarly today the Society, in carrying out its mission, experiences the companionship ofthe Lord and the challenge of the cross. Commitment to ‘the service of faith and the promotion of justice, to dialogue with culture and religions, takes Jesuits to limit-situations where they encounter energy and new life, but also anguish and death – where the divinity is hidden. The experience of a hidden God cannot always be avoided, but even in the depths of darkness when God seems concealed, the transforming light of God is able to shine. God labours intensely in this hiddenness. Rising from the tombs of personal life and history, the Lord appears when we least expect, with his personal consolation as a friend and as the centre of a fraternal and servant community. From this experience of God laboring in the heart of life, our identity as ’servants of Xt’s mission rises up ever anew.” We shall never stop our mission of reconciliation and justice.
Happy Feat Feast of Ignatius, the pilgrim.
George Pattery SJ