WHITE HOUSE JESUIT RETREAT

Jesuit retreat center high on the bluffs of the Mississippi River in St. Louis, MO.  Since 1922, thousands of people from around the world make annual three-day silent, guided retreats here to relax, reconnect with God and strengthen their spirituality.  A true gem in the Midwest!  Call 314-416-6400 or 1-800-643-1003.  Email reservations@whretreat.org  7400 Christopher Rd.  St. Louis, MO 63129

Both men's and women's retreats are offered as well as recovery retreats.

Take Spirituality to the Next Level!

Weekend Reflections for 8/10/18

Food for the Journey

In Sunday’s first reading from the first Book of Kings we hear about the prophet Elijah. He has been banned from the kingdom by Queen Jezebel and is running for his life to escape her power. He’s exhausted and starving and God provides food and drink to strengthen him to continue on. His goal is Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God, his protector.

Our lives, too, can be understood and experienced as a journey to meet our God. We move through time and space one day and one place at a time, each day one more stepping stone toward our goal to see God face-to-face. In the second reading St. Paul encourages us “to be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us.” It takes time, one lifetime, and trial and error to learn how to be loving women and men. In the Gospel Jesus states that he himself is our food and drink, our nourishment and strength to keep moving forward toward our goal.

When we receive the Lord in the Eucharistic food and drink, we pray to recognize

‘the living bread that comes down from heaven for the life of the world.”

Fr. Ralph Huse, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 7/27/18

"There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?" 

These words of the Gospel this Sunday reflect our own position within the world today. We are very much like the young person with so little to offer. How can one feed a multitude with five barley loaves, the size of pancakes, and two small pickled fish? Not going to happen. Unless you have God Almighty working with you. Which we do. 

The hostilities and untruths of our world, veering towards various forms of secular hedonism, can seem overwhelming. They are, without Christ. 

But Jesus reminds us that in him all things are possible. When we offer our little, he breaks it (which typically is not a pleasant experience for us) gives thanks, and asks us to distribute that little we have. And wonder of wonders, our divided culture begins to heal through that act of distribution. 

Healing indeed begins with each individual. Are you and I willing to be that person? If so, gather together your barley loaves (your talents) and turn them over to Jesus. Then be bold and prodigal in spreading them around. You and I are no doubt the keys to healing in this culture. Without us (while counting on Jesus for the multiplier effect) it will never happen.

Then stand back and be amazed, with the young lad in the Gospel, at how much God has drawn from so little.

-Fr. Anthony Wieck, SJ

Weekend Reflections for 7/20/18

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”

These words of Jesus in the Gospel this Sunday could be a good motto for White House Retreat. We do need to get away and be by ourselves with Jesus every so often. In this particular case, the disciples are excitedly sharing with Jesus stories of their deliverance and healing experiences, which we reflected on last week. 

Indeed, it is good to go away and be with our Lord on occasion, just to share the many joys of our lives: being alive, seeing fruit grow in our loved ones, allowing ourselves to be a vehicle of grace for others, allowing others to be a vehicle of grace for us. There is much to share and celebrate. Jesus loves it when we do so! 

He invites us to get away occasionally and to savor those beautiful realities and share how grateful we are with him, and also with fellow disciples along the way. This can be not only an annual occurrence, as during our annual retreat, but a daily one, taking time out to praise the Lord. Let's find some time to do that today.

-Fr. Anthony Wieck, SJ

Weekend Reflections for 7/13/18

  It is common parlance today to speak of the 12 apostles as simple bumbling fools. They didn't seem to know which end was up.  And yet this Sunday's Gospel speaks of a deeper truth: "The Twelve drove out many demons,, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them."

That's a far cry from the work of 12 bumbling fools.  What gives?  

     The key is given in the rest of the Gospel. They are to have absolute reliance on Jesus. When they travel from town to town, preaching the word, they're not to have food with them, or even money. They are to depend upon the gracious designs of Divine Providence working through the people there who hopefully will accept him. They are totally dependent upon the Lord. That is where you and I are at our best. When we don't have a storehouse of goods or talents to rely on, even a sense of our own faith. All is received as daily gift, our daily bread. The Apostles were in fact gentle giants, able to use their simplicity to God's glory by depending upon the one and only.

-Fr. Anthony Wieck, SJ

 

PLEASE PRAY FOR THOSE ON RETREAT THIS WEEK AS WELL AS OUR DECEASED RETREATANTS.

PLEASE PRAY FOR PEACE IN OUR COMMUNITY 

Weekend Reflections for 7/7/18

"They took offense at him."  This reaction of the people of Nazareth upon Jesus's homecoming is somewhat shocking.  Perhaps there is in this Gospel scene a veiled warning against envy for you and me.  

The people just can't believe that the hometown boy has made good, to the point where he is even curing people of their illnesses. It is almost as if they don't want to see Jesus excel, but be kept in his place, perhaps behind all his elders.  I remember having this fear when I first returned to my hometown in Oregon after being ordained. Thankfully the people there were much more humble and appreciative.

Envy is the temptation whereby we don't recognize our own giftedness and instead get caught up in the gifts of another person, perhaps wishing we had those gifts ourselves, or perhaps denying that the person's gifts are real.  C.S. Lewis says we can get quite proficient at seeing ourselves above others because we are cutting them off at the legs all the time. 

May this Sunday's Gospel give us the courage to address any root of envy lying within us and instead replace it with the virtue of affirmation, affirming others' gifts.  Our security should always be found in God and his radical love of us, not in how we compare to one another. 

 

-Fr. Anthony Wieck, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 6/29/18

The Gospel of this Sunday focuses on healing touch, as experienced by the hemorrhaging woman and a young girl who had died.  What are we to make of this?  We learn that there are two kinds of touch.  There is the touch of those who connect with Jesus simply by being in the Church, bumping up against holy objects and holy persons regularly.  These are those of the crowd bumping up against Jesus as he goes along his way.  It is good that they do so. 

But there is another kind of touch, one that reaches to the deepest recesses of Jesus, for it is the touch of desperation, of faith experienced on our knees, the touch of the hemorrhaging woman.  When Jesus is touched like this, he experiences the merciful graces flow immediately from his heart, and he loves that feeling!  It is an deeply inspired touch on our part, clearly motivated by the Holy Spirit and not by holy routine.

How, then, do you and I approach the sacraments?  Do we take them partly for granted as does the crowd, bumping up against them regularly but without profound effect in our lives because we are not plaintive enough in our need?  Or do we come to Confession and Eucharist with a deep desire in our soul, a holy longing for remedy?   The choice is ours.  The one most touched will be Jesus.

-Fr. Anthony Wieck, SJ

Weekend Reflections for 6/22/18

John the Baptist and His Role in the Ministry of Jesus

It is interesting to me how the life of John the Baptist prepares the way and groundwork for Jesus' ministry. In Luke's gospel even before the conception and birth of Jesus we hear first about the conception and birth of John. The Baptist's whole life is presented as a preparation for the beginning of Jesus' ministry.

When Jesus finally leaves Nazareth to begin his task for the kingdom of God, he first goes to John and there at the Jordan receives his baptism. Moreover scripture scholars now tell us that after the baptism it appears that Jesus initially joined with John's disciples in their work with and for John. So John was for Jesus not only a herald of his coming but for a period of time served as his mentor in proclaiming the arrival of the Kingdom of God.

The Gospels (Matthew 11,3, Luke 7, 19) tell us that when Jesus finally began his public ministry on his own John had some doubts as to whether or not Jesus was the anointed one. So he sends two of his own disciples to ask about this. Jesus responds that his works of healing and his preaching provide the answer John is seeking. Then, after John's disciples leave to return to John, Jesus proclaims to his followers his profound estimation of John's accomplishments and his role as a prophet. And according to Mark's gospel (1, 12) it is only then after John's arrest that Jesus fully begins his public preaching and ministry.

I believe that each of us has had, are even still has, our mentors, our guides in the development and practice of our faith. You might say they are our visible Guardian Angels. We owe them a great debt of gratitude and we thank our Lord for bringing them into our lives.

-Jim Blumeyer, S.J.

PLEASE PRAY FOR THOSE ON RETREAT THIS WEEK AS WELL AS OUR DECEASED RETREATANTS.

PLEASE PRAY FOR PEACE IN OUR COMMUNITY 

Weekend Reflections for June 15, 2018

For to Me to Live Is Christ, and to Die Is Gain

St. Paul’s Perspective on Dying

Once while I was visiting a dying Jesuit colleague he somewhat hesitantly shared with me that he was in fact looking forward to his death, being with Christ. I say hesitantly because of his concern that I might be dismayed, perhaps even scandalize by such a statement.  I was his religious superior at that time and I knew him fairly well. I was aware that he was very unhappy with many things going on in our world and in the Church.   Being with the Lord would be for him a welcomed conclusion and ending for all of this.  I simply and gently let him know that I knew where he was coming from and that his desire was quite appropriate.

A similar conversation took place recently with a retreatant.  He asked whether or not it was all right to want and desire death. This person was quite ill and suffering considerably. His family was taking good care of him, and he believed that his death would be more of a relief for them than anything else.  I assured him that in my opinion his desire for death seemed quite appropriate.

St. Paul addresses this matter in the second reading for this Sunday (II Corinthians 5, 6-10)  He tells the Corinthians of his desire to  move  on to new life with Christ.   His preference is to be with the Lord, but if he can do more for the kingdom by continuing his present work, then so be it. We find a similar sentiment in some of his other letters. In his letter to the Philippians(1, 21-24) he says:   ‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain….My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.  But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.’

Our faith in our risen Lord has (or can) freed us from terror of dying and opened for us the wonderful desire and hope to move on and be with him and with all our loved ones.

Weekend Reflections for June 8, 2018

Reflection For the Body of Christ

On June 3 we celebrated the feast of the Body of Christ (Corpus Christi). This is a delayed reflection on that feast day.

The Corpus Christi celebration grew out of the reaction of the people of God and the Church to an erroneous teaching that had its origins in the 13th century. This false teaching denied the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and instead said that the consecrated host was only a symbol of Jesus’ presence. This teaching was soon condemned by the church,  but reaction to it planted the seeds for the development over the centuries of many modern-day Eucharistic practices, such as processions of the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, 40 hours devotion, perpetual adoration.

Absent these practices one might wonder how the Christians in the first 1200 years of Christianity perceived and incorporated the Eucharist into of their faith life.

There was little or no question in the minds of the early Christians concerning the real presence of Christ in the Eucharistic.  But they also took very seriously how Christ was present to them. Through baptism they had become temples of the Holy Spirit.  So St. Paul (I Corinthians 12, 27) would not hesitate to refer to the Christian believers as the body of Christ.  The early Christians were also very conscious of Jesus desire to be the food and drink, that is, the nourishment for the believers’ (our) faith journey.

St. Augustine’s awareness of Christ presence to each Christian and they’re being the body of Christ led him to preach:

So if you want to understand the body of Christ, listen to the apostle telling the faithful, “You, though, are the body of Christ and its members” (1 Cor. 12:27). So if it is you that are the body of Christ and its members, it is the mystery meaning you that has been placed on the Lord’s table; what you receive is the mystery that means you. It is to what you are that you reply Amen, and by so replying you express your assent. What you hear, you see, is The body of Christ, and you answer, Amen. So be a member of the body of Christ, in order to make that Amen true.

Seeing themselves as the body of Christ, how did the early church understand the Eucharist. As the quote from Augustine above indicates the Eucharist was the sign signifying that they were in fact the body of Christ. It was for this reason that in the early church they  would sometimes refer to the sacramental Eucharist as the mystical body of Christ.

The feast of Corpus Christi celebrates the incredible gift of himself Christ has bestowed on us. In doing this he has enabled us to be his presence in our world today.   In the words of the Benediction hymn, Tantum Ergo, composed by St. Thomas, we sing and pray “Humbly let us voice our homage for so great a sacrament.” And may we ever more appreciate Christs great gift of himself to us.

Jim Blumeyer, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 6/1/18

Reconciling with Creation

Ecology and White House’s Jesuit Mission

As Jesuits continue our ongoing mission planning, in the last 25 years three Jesuit General Congregations (34, 35 & 36) have stressed heightened concern about environmental issues and our mission. Citing Pope Francis, the most recent of these general congregations (GC36) calls us to integrate a mission of “reconciliation with creation” as “Companions in a Mission of Reconciliation and Justice” especially as ecological concerns impact the poor.

In this final reflection for May, we gather together here some Jesuit resources for moving along our reflection and integration of reconciliation with creation into our White House ministry of the Spiritual Exercises.

Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si follows Catholic Social Thought’s basic pattern of “See, Judge and Act” in treating environmental issues with a foundation in St. Francis of Assisi’s creation-centered spirituality.

 

The International Jesuit Ecology Project provides an innovative online textbook Healing Earth with chapters on Biodiversity, Natural Resources, Energy, Water, Food, and Global Climate Change by over 30 international scholars .

Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability sponsors annual conferences whose papers and presentations are available on their website.

Georgetown University’s Climate Center seeks to advance effective climate and energy policies in the United States and serves as a resource to state and local communities that are working to cut carbon pollution and prepare for climate change. Their website provides a State Energy Analysis Tool : and an Adaptation Clearing House to help communities adapt to climate change. Their Environmental Law Policy Program provides expertise in fields of environmental, natural resources, land use, energy, and food law.

Saint Louis University’s 2018 Climate Summit gathers together expert presentations on climate change by experts in climate science, ecology, sustainable development, and related disciplines.

The Ignatian Solidarity Network provides multiple resources for prayer, analysis and action in response to Laudato Si .

As you know from your White House experiences, St. Ignatius concludes his Spiritual Exercises with a creation-centered contemplation on the love of God [230-237] providing a contemplative resource to help us grow in our “Reconciliation with Creation” and grow in the grace of finding God in all things.

Weekend Reflections for 5/25/18

Reconciliation through dialogue with our human neighbors in this world.

Continuing our theme of reconciliation as a priority in all Jesuit ministries, we consider a fundamental characteristic of the Ignatian ministry of reconciliation with other human beings: the priority of dialogue over debate. Recall Ignatius’ directions to the Jesuits summoned as theological consultors at the Council of Trent, that they engage in dialogue rather than debate, as well as Ignatius’ “Presupposition” to the Spiritual Exercises [22] “…Every good Christian adopts a more positive acceptance of someone’s statement rather than a rejection of it out of hand. And so a favorable interpretation…should always be given to the other’s statement, and confusions should be cleared up with Christian understanding.”[i]

We might examine ourselves this week on how we are called to the ministry of dialogue rather than debate at home, at work, in community, in society at large[ii] as part of the fruits of our ongoing involvement in Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises at White House Jesuit Retreat.

Dialogue vs. Debate

  • Dialogue is collaborative: two or more sides work together toward common understanding.
    • Debate is oppositional: two sides oppose each other and attempt to prove each other wrong.
  • In dialogue, finding common ground is the goal.
    • In debate, winning is the goal.
  • In dialogue, one listens to the other side(s) in order to understand, find meaning and find agreement.
    • In debate, one listens to the other side in order to find flaws and to counter its arguments.
  • Dialogue enlarges and possibly changes a participants point of view.
    • Debate affirms a participant's own point of view.
  • Dialogue reveals assumptions for re-evaluation.
    • Debate defends assumptions as truth.
  • Dialogue causes introspection on ones own position.
    • Debate causes critique of the other position.
  • Dialogue opens the possibility of reaching a better solution than any of the original solutions.
    • Debate defends one's own positions as the best solution and excludes other solutions.
  • Dialogue creates an open-minded attitude: an openness to being wrong and an openness to change.
    • Debate creates a close-minded attitude, a determination to be right.
  • In dialogue, one submits ones best thinking, knowing that other people's reflections will help improve it rather than destroy it.
    • In debate, one submits one's best thinking and defends it against challenge to show that it is right.
  • Dialogue calls for temporarily suspending one's beliefs.
    • Debate calls for investing wholeheartedly in one's beliefs.
  • In dialogue, one searches for basic agreements.
    • In debate, one searches for glaring differences.
  • In dialogue one searches for strengths in the other positions.
    • In debate one searches for flaws and weaknesses in the other position.
  • Dialogue involves a real concern for the other person and seeks to not alienate or offend.
    • Debate involves a countering of the other position without focusing on feelings or relationship and often belittles or deprecates the other person.
  • Dialogue assumes that many people have pieces of the answer and that together they can put them into a workable solution.
    • Debate assumes that there is a right answer and that someone has it.
  • Dialogue remains open-ended.
    • Debate implies a conclusion.[iii]

-Fr. Ted Arroyo, S.J.

[i] David L. Fleming, S. J., “Draw Me Into Your Friendship: The Spiritual Exercises: a Literal Translation & a Contemporary Reading” p. 23

[ii] The Jesuits’ GC36 settled on these 3 priorities for Reconciliation within Humanity:

People on the move

Marginalization

Fundamentalism that leads to violence

[iii] Adapted from a paper prepared by Shelley Berman, which was based on discussions of the Dialogue Group of the Boston Chapter of Educators for Social Responsibility (ESR).

 

Weekend Reflections for 5/18/18

This week we reflect on the first of the reconciliation calls, reconciliation with God.

Even in the Old Testament, God repeatedly offered forgiveness to humanity, revealing divine mercy (e.g., Ex 34:6) and even likening the relationship between God and humanity to the marriage covenant (Hosea 2:20). 

But the perfect reconciliation between God and humanity is accomplished in Jesus. As St. Paul puts it, God is reconciling us through Christ’s redemptive incarnation, ministry, death and resurrection, (2 Cor 5:18), a mystery we celebrate with each Eucharist. 

Reconciliation implies a changed relationship for the better between persons or groups who were once at odds with one another. Especially through our experiences of the Spiritual Exercises at White House, each of us is aware of how we are invited to grow in our relationship with God.

In our prayer this week we might reflect upon:

1)  How have I known God’s reconciling mercy in my life?  How have I responded? As a sign of my gratitude, how am I called to share this with others?

2)  What about the “covenants” through which I am involved with others in family, friendships, strangers and even with those I perceive to be “enemies”? How might I here and now be called to change these relationships for the better, with the help of God’s grace?

3)  How does my/our repeated participation in the Eucharist impact my living a more merciful life and sharing God’s covenantal love with all creation, especially those persons groaning for deeper reconciliation with me and others?

-Fr. Ted Arroyo, SJ

Weekend Reflections for 5/11/18

Why reconciliation?

Why have the Jesuits chosen the theme of reconciliation to guide our discernment for the future? This choice is the result of an ongoing process of “reading the signs of the times,” (Mt 16:4), discernment, rooted in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Just as St. Ignatius had to discern his own life journey from his initial conversion and pilgrimage to his final determination to gather together companions into the “Company” (Society) of Jesus, so too Jesuits continue to read the signs of the times, and adapt our ministries through a process of ongoing discernment in collaboration with our partners in ministry. This priority of reconciliation has been confirmed by the three most recent Jesuit General Congregations 34, 35 & 36.

The New Jerome Biblical Commentary explains “reading the signs of the times” as “God gives hints of his will in each age, but believers must be attentive to them. The saying is an invitation to the hermeneutics of history and as such a permanent challenge to the church” (p 659). It was a basic summons of the Second Vatican Council to continue Jesus’ mission through the renovation of the church, grounded in Jesus’ mandate.

Our ongoing challenge is to reflect deeply on the events unfolding before our eyes, judge them by the values of Jesus’s good news, and respond to them out of mature faith. This unending dynamic process of the “ecclesia semper reformanda” (ever-reforming church) is succinctly summarized in three steps of Catholic Social Teaching to: “see, judge, act” on the signs of the times around us. And it is in this context that the Society of Jesus has chosen three dimensions of “reconciliation” as our next steps in this process: reconciliation: with God, with humanity, and with creation. We will develop these three in the next three weeks of White House Reflections, but for here and now, you might take some time in the next week to “see, judge, and act” on the “signs of the times” in your own personal, ecological and social context, our world groaning for reconciliation. (Romans 8:2).

-Fr. Ted Arroyo, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 5/4/18

Have you ever wondered about the similarities and differences among religious orders in the Church? For example, what is similar, and what is different about the Jesuit and Dominican orders? A joke puts it this way:

    "Well, they were both founded by Spaniards, St. Dominic Guzman founded the Dominicans, and St. Ignatius of Loyola founded the Jesuits. 

    The story continues: "They were also both founded to combat heresy: the Dominicans to convert the 13th century Albigensians, and the Jesuits to convert the 16th century Protestants."

    And the punch line asks: "What is different about the Jesuit and Dominican Orders? Well, have you met any Albigensians lately?"

The Dominican motto of "veritas," "truth," compels this Jesuit to speak the truth that the Jesuits were NOT founded to convert the Protestants, as the joke claims. Rather, our foundational documents describe Jesuit ministry not as combat or battle nor even debate, but as "reconciling the estranged...and works of charity according to what will seem expedient for the glory of God and the common good." For example, the three Jesuits sent to the Council of Trent in 1546 at papal request received clear instructions from Ignatius to enter into reconciliatory dialog and shun combative debate.[i]

This reconciliation is a foundational aspect of all Jesuit ministries. Our last three "General Congregations" have specified three aspects of our mission as responses to three calls:

1st call: reconciliation with God

2nd call: reconciliation with humanity

3rd call: reconciliation with creation.

Since you are personally involved in the Jesuit Mission through your participation in the Spiritual Exercises at White House Jesuit retreats, in the coming week you might join us and make a kind of "reconciliation examen," asking yourself, and maybe also asking others around you, "how am I, how are we called here and now to grow in responding to these three calls to reconciliation?"

In the next 4 weeks we'll develop some further reflections on our common ministries of reconciliation, maybe even between Jesuits and Dominicans!

-Fr. Ted Arroyo, S.J. 

Weekend Reflection for 4/27/18

Christ’s Reassurances

In 12- Step programs they speak of the KISS rule: Keep It Simple, Stupid! In Sunday’s reading from the first letter of John we hear “And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us.” Those are the essentials; they are simple but not easy.

Our faith in Jesus is God’s gift to each of us. Most of us learned of God in our childhood from our parents and other members of the community of believers. We experienced God in the love of our families in our homes and there we learned to put love in practice and not just words. Ignatius reminds us in the Spiritual Exercises that love shows itself in deeds, the doing with and for the one we love. Slowly we learn to treat the other as we want to be treated, with respect and compassion, with patience and acceptance. It’s in loving others that we learn how to love God and his Son, Jesus. The dynamics are the same.

In his teaching about our relationship with Jesus he uses the image of the vine and its branches. The vine grounds and anchors the rest of the plant and provides nourishment to each of the branches producing the grapes. Like the vine Jesus nourishes us with his life in the Eucharist and through him we bear the fruit of love. Jesus assures us that our love for others gives glory to the Father and he will hear and answer our requests.

Fr. Ralph Huse, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 4/20/18

The Good Shepherd

The Scripture readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter stress how blessed we are for believing in and knowing and being known by Jesus Christ. He is our friend, brother and constant companion. We are never alone nor abandoned to our own defenses. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles Peter proclaims that in Jesus we have been saved from the darkness and destruction of sin.

In the First Letter of St. John we are reminded that we are the Father’s beloved children. Jesus revealed that God is our loving and merciful Parent who always looks on us with infinite compassion and love. Through our Baptism we have been promised and are destined to see the Lord face-to-face and be like and with him forever. How blessed we are!

In the Gospel according to John Jesus says to us, “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” The welfare of each sheep is the shepherd’s main concern and focus and so we are to our Lord. He guides and protects us, always listening for our call and responding. When we are challenged by life and its inevitable pains, we remember how Jesus suffered for love of us and are strengthened and blessed with his gift of Easter peace. Alleluia!

Fr. Ralph Huse, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 4/13/18

Jesus, our Advocate

In Sunday’s Gospel from Luke we have another appearance of Jesus to his confused and frightened followers. He again greets them with his gift of Peace and shows them his wounds. They still fear that he is a ghost and so he asks for something to eat to show them that he is truly real and alive. “Then Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” He wants them and us to understand that his death was his ultimate act of love to free all of the human family from slavery to self and sin. In his death he reveals his Father to be forgiving love that conquers even and especially death.

In the second reading from the first letter of John, we hear that “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.” An advocate is a defense attorney, one who argues on our behalf. Jesus intercedes for us and that is what we experience when we celebrate God’s mercy in the sacrament of Reconciliation. A crippling weight is lifted and we know his Easter gift of Peace. As the weather warms and the flowers bloom, let us be witnesses that Jesus has risen and is truly alive. Alleluia!

Fr. Ralph Huse, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 4/6/18

Doubting Thomas

The Risen Jesus comes to console his apostles, his friends, on the evening of Easter Sunday. They are scared to death that the authorities will come and arrest them and crucify them as they did Jesus and so they have locked themselves in the room of the last supper. He doesn’t challenge or accuse them, doesn’t ask where they were on Friday as he hung on the cross. He simply greets them, “Peace be with you.” His love and compassion for them was overwhelming and they were filled with joy. They knew it was Jesus.

For some reason Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus appeared. When the other apostles told him that Jesus was truly alive, he doubts and puts conditions on his faith: “Unless I see the marks of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” His doubt earned him a personal appearance; Jesus came back a week later just for Thomas. He extended his hands and said Here, go ahead and fulfill your conditions. The Gospel doesn’t tell us whether Thomas put his finger in the wounds but I don’t think he needed that. Jesus was treating Thomas the way he always had, putting himself at Thomas’ disposal, as he had when he washed his feet. No one else treated him this way. It had to be Jesus and he acknowledges, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus is speaking to his apostles and to us when he says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Jesus treats us as he did his friends. He can challenge us but he never accuses or shames. He comes when we ask and invite him and always looks on us with infinite compassion and love. Peace be with you.

Fr. Ralph Huse, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 3/30/18

Easter


When praying the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius has us look at the risen Lord and “consider the office of consoler that Christ our Lord exercises, and compare it to the way in which friends are wont to console each other”.  Jesus appears to his friends who are hurting in various ways and consoles them with his loving presence and reassurance. He takes them in their pain and sorrow and then gently and patiently strengthens them with his love and eternal life.

Mary Magdalene spent Saturday alone at home. It was the Sabbath and she was forbidden to travel to Jesus’ tomb to properly prepare his body for burial. She is filled with grief and sorrow at the loss of her loved one. She rises early on Sunday to go to the tomb and finds it empty. Later Jesus appears to her but she doesn’t recognize him at first because her eyes are clouded with tears. Then he calls her by name and her eyes are opened and she falls at his feet filled with joy.

When we are grieving the losses in our lives, we can look for and expect our friend to appear and console us. Sometimes he comes in answer to our prayers, sometimes in the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist and sometimes in the person of a friend or a family member or even a stranger. Then we know that the Lord is truly risen, he is alive! Alleluia!

Fr. Ralph Huse, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 3/22/18

  Palm Sunday

     "He humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death."  These words encapsulate the entire meaning of Palm Sunday.  Even what might look like temporary triumph for Jesus is girded with a heavy dose of humility.  It is not enough for Jesus to ride in on a simple ass, an animal smaller and less regal than a horse; he comes on the foal of an ass. Likely he would have looked awkward, with his feet almost touching the ground.

     In Sunday's Gospel of the Passion according to Mark, Jesus humbly gives his own flesh for his disciples to eat, another awkward experience for him, all done in obedience to the Father.  In Gethsemane, we witness more humility...he falls to the ground in great anguish surrendering his will to the Father: "...not what I will but what you will."  Jesus lets himself be apprehended by dark forces, falsely accused before Pilate, scourged, stripped, and crucified. 

     "Behold the man!"  Indeed, behold the humble one...whose humility points directly to the Father. This was his purpose in life, to bring glory to his Father. It is our purpose also, to praise, reverence and serve God, says St. Ignatius. The service of God is effectively done only in humility, pointing always beyond ourselves, imitating our Master.

 

Fr. Anthony Wieck, S.J. 

 

PLEASE PRAY FOR THOSE ON RETREAT THIS WEEK AS WELL AS OUR DECEASED RETREATANTS.

PLEASE PRAY FOR PEACE IN OUR COMMUNITY

MEN'S WEEKDAY RETREAT WITH SPACE:

April 16-19

 

CO-ED RETREAT WITH SPACE:

April 23-26 with Fr. Joe Tetlow, S.J.