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.

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Weekend Reflections for 3/24/17

“I once was blind but now I see”

Edward B. “Ted” Arroyo, S.J.

Laetare Sunday

“I once was blind but now I see” might have been the exclamation of the blind beggar in Sunday’s gospel, John 9:1-41.

Laetare Sunday is celebrated 21 days before Easter. Laetare means “Rejoice!” As we move along through the Lenten season the Sunday readings are specially chosen as part of the initiation of new Christians who will be baptized at Easter.

Part of this initiation involves “scrutinies,” ancient rites which may, at first, seem strange to us.  But they are profoundly rooted in our human experience. Especially in Lent, we all need to examine (scrutinize) how we are, the areas of our lives where we are tempted, or seriously sin - in what we do and what we fail to do.  And we can also scrutinize how God’s amazing grace is working in and through us. We all really need the healing and the strength that can come from the support of our sisters and brothers in our Christian community. And we can rejoice in even this “scrutinizing” self-examination.

 

After praying over today’s gospel where Jesus heals the man born blind, we might ask ourselves:

1.      What are my lights, darknesses and blind spots I can name and deal with this Lent in preparation for Easter?

2.      Is there any of the Pharisees’ blindness, judgmental hypocrisy in me, blinding me to Jesus?

3.      How can I invite Jesus to heal me, to help me see?

4.      How can I let the works of God be seen and felt by others through me?

 

We can all grow through Lent along with those preparing for initiation at Easter, and joyfully sing of God’s Amazing Grace.

Weekend Reflections for 3/17/17

“Nuestro modo de proceder” (in English “Our Way of Proceeding”) is Jesuit terminology for a uniquely Ignatian approach to our mission. Unlike many other more “democratic” religious orders, the Society of Jesus has a different approach to participative governance and leadership. It involves fidelity to the ongoing practice of communal apostolic discernment rooted in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and fleshed out in the Jesuit Constitutions which St. Ignatius labored over for the last decades of his life.

 

This way of proceeding calls for ongoing regular review of all of our ministries, and this review is itself distinctly Ignatian. Most successful organizations have some ongoing planning processes to “read the signs of the times” and adapt their mission in response. For example, educational institutions have evaluation processes mandated by secular agencies for this purpose. Jesuit schools all participate in such processes mandated by secular accrediting agencies. And we also have our own unique agencies in U.S. Jesuit education, the Jesuit Secondary Education Association and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

 

Jesuit pastoral ministries such as retreat houses do not have such formal associations, but are also called upon to regular “examen” of our ministries to plan for the future in this uniquely Jesuit methodology involving certain attitudes, values, and patterns of behavior joined together to become what has been called the Jesuit “way of proceeding.”

 

This involves prayerful, discerning communal reflection for “transformation of our habitual patterns of thought through a constant interplay of experience, reflection, and action.”[i] The characteristics of ‘our way of proceeding’ were born in the life of St. Ignatius and shared by his first companions.

 

The following characteristics are included in our way of proceeding:

·         Deep personal love for Jesus Christ

·         Contemplation in action

·         An apostolic body in the Church

·         In solidarity with those most in need

·         Partnership with others

·         Called to learned ministry

·         Ever searching for the magis (AMDG) God’s Greater Glory.

The magis is not simply one among others in a list of Jesuit characteristics. It permeates them all. The entire life of Ignatius was a pilgrim search for the magis, the ever greater glory of God, the ever fuller service of our neighbor, the more universal good, the more effective apostolic means. ‘Mediocrity has no place in Ignatius’s worldview.’

 

As partners in mission, Jesuits and our colleagues are never content with the status quo, the known, the tried, the already existing. We are constantly driven to discover, redefine, and reach out for the magis. For us, frontiers and boundaries are not obstacles or ends, but new challenges to be faced, new opportunities to be welcomed. Indeed, ours is a holy boldness, “a certain apostolic aggressivity,” typical of our way of proceeding.”[ii]

 

As we at White House continue on with our own communal apostolic discernment in “Our Way of Proceeding,” we invite you to pray along with us in this prayer composed by Jesuit Superior General Fr. Pedro Arrupe (1907-1991):

 

“Lord, meditating on ‘our way of proceeding’, I have discovered that the ideal way of our way of acting is your way of acting.

Give me that sensus Christi that I may feel with your feelings, with the sentiments of your heart, which basically are love for your Father and love for all men and women.

Teach me how to be compassionate to the suffering, to the poor, the blind, the lame and the lepers.

Teach us your way so that it becomes our way today, so that we may come closer to the great ideal of Saint Ignatius: to be companions of Jesus, collaborators in the work of redemption.”[iii]

By Fr. Ted Arroyo, S.J.

[i] Jesuit General Congregation 33, Decree 1

[ii] Jesuit General Congregation 34, Decree 26

[iii] Fr. Arrupe. Our Way of Proceeding

Weekend Reflections for 3/10/17

Jesus’ Transfiguration and Our Own

Edward B. “Ted” Arroyo, S.J.

At this time of the church year, many of us address the question: what am I doing for lent, or what are we in this parish/community doing for lent? Each year on the 2nd Sunday of Lent the Gospel (Matt 17:1-8, Mark 9: 2-8, Luke 9: 28-36) invites us to witness Jesus’ transfiguration and listen to him. So the question is not so much what we are going to do for lent as “how are we going to LISTEN?” this lent.

At White House Jesuit Retreat we have a long tradition, almost 100 years of such listening to God especially through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Although we always welcome new “first timers” on every retreat, we also take the time to acknowledge and celebrate “repeat offenders” who have made the Ignatian exercises with us many times.

It seems that in today’s transfiguration gospel, Jesus’s human appearance was changed into immortal diamond, as Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins put it:

               In a flash, at a trumpet crash,

I am all at once what Christ is, ' since he was what I am, and

This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, ' patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,

                Is immortal diamond. [i]

But even so, after the Transfiguration Jesus descended from the mountain with his disciples, once again “poor potsherd, patch, matchwood” and continued his earthly pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Even though, as Ignatius puts it, “his divinity shone through” the Transfiguration, he still had many more steps to take in his human journey to cross and resurrection.

What about US?

Whether we are first timers in the Spiritual Exercises, or Golden Jubilarians, each year we return to our “mountain top” on Christopher Drive for 60 more quiet hours of listening, discerning like Jesus did in the desert, the next stages of God’s gracious calls in our matchwood journeys toward becoming immortal diamonds.

These exercises are all about listening, as the voice came out of the Transfiguration cloud and commanded. This is why we stress the importance of personal quiet and silence for your 60 hours on the mountaintop.

After your 60 hours of listening here at White House, the Ignatian Awareness Examen: How Busy Persons Find God in All Things[ii] is a “take home” we can always “pass” through to prepare for our Passovers at the end of this lent and at the end of our potsherd lives.

And, if we enter fully into this listening, this may be all that we have to “do” for wisdom and guidance on the next steps of our journeys toward our diamond jubilees.

[i] Source/Notes: That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the Comfort of the Resurrection, lines 22-24 - Wessex Poems and Other Verses (1918)

[ii] See, for example, the version we offer on pp 43-45 of the White House Retreatants’ prayer book.

Weekend Reflections for 2/24

A good friend of mine, Bob Costello, SJ, died a few days ago. He had recently been told that he had only a few weeks or a month to live.  So one of the ways in which he prepared for this is contacting family and friends and, as well as he can, to inform them and ask them for their prayers.

Many, many people, family, his brother Jesuits, and many others he has assisted and counseled have contacted him or are trying to reach him with phone calls, requests for visits, emails and so on. He told me the day before his death how much he appreciates these prayers and concerns, but he only has so much strength, and he also desires and needs times for himself as he moves into the most important phase of his life.  So those caring for him are monitoring and limiting the number who do.

He was blessed with a great peace, a peace that has many origins: the awareness that he has spent most of his life trying to help people with their problems and sharing with them his faith and love for Jesus Christ; the belief that God does love him and will soon embrace him with this love and mercy.

The first and third readings for this Sunday, the eighth of ordinary time, described well the convictions of Bob’s faith. He knows well that God’s love will always be with him. Although often a challenge for him he has endeavored to make the concerns of the present time and circumstances the focus of his attention. And it has been in the here and now of his life that he has endeavored to do his role in promoting the kingdom of God.

Needless to say, I ask you to pray for the fullness of life eternal for him.

Jim Blumeyer, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 2/17/17

Love Your Enemies

Along with many of the 10 Beatitudes you can well imagine how startled and questioning many of Jesus listeners were when he advised this attitude and disposition towards those we consider our enemies.  It seemed like so much nonsense and insanity, along with pronouncements such as unless you eat my body and drink my blood you cannot have life within you.  I suspect that many of these teachings were not taken serious until the events of his passion, death, and resurrection.

But when Jesus prayed to his Father to forgive those who were killing him, his followers began to realize how seriously he meant this.  But even in our own times we find that many people, and perhaps ourselves, unable to embrace this disposition.

I believe that regarding one’s enemies or adversaries in this way is possible only with God’s assistance, that is, a gift of grace,  Ibelieve we see being lived out in the reaction of many of the relatives and friends of those whose love ones have been mercilessly massacred in recent years in our own country, such as Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School.  We hear some saying that they forgive the perpetrators and even that they are praying for them.

 

If you find such a disposition seemingly impossible for you, how does one make such an attitude their own?  I suggest you begin with small steps. Ask the Lord for help. Discuss with the Lord about how difficult or impossible this seems to be for you. At least pray for the desire to have such an attitude.  Begin to reflect and pray upon Jesus on the cross forgiving those taking his life.  Also reflect upon and consider the the incredible dispositions of those at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. If you can, pray yourself for those guilty of such horrible deeds. In all of this continuously asked the Lord to give you his mind in forgiving heart such people.

Proceeding in this manner you will gradually be putting on the mind and heart of Jesus in regard to your enemies.

Fr. Jim Blumeyer, S.J.

 

 

Weekend Reflections for 2/10/17

The Transfiguration of Jesus

For me there is an informative parallel of Christ’s transfiguration with his baptism at the Jordan. Both incidents occur when he is about to embark upon two most important and difficult periods of his life.  At the Jordan, baptized by John he is at the very beginning of his public life proclaiming that in him and his way of life the kingdom of God is now at hand. How surprising and unusual this must have seen in the light of his previous activities and experiences growing up and living at Nazareth. We can only imagine his questions and doubts as he joins the ranks of those being baptized by John. It is then his Father intervenes and confirms his manner of proceeding in telling him that he was indeed his beloved son and that he had his approval.

At the Transfiguration Jesus is about to begin his final journey to Jerusalem. Well aware of what is going to happen to him there, the questions and doubts that occurred at the Jordan were more than likely again experienced. Again, his Father intervenes most dramatically accompanied by Moses and Elias and reviewing with Jesus the “Passover” he is about to undertake and undergo. And once again Jesus hears his Father’s inspiring and encouraging words that he is indeed the beloved son upon whom his father’s favor rests.

In all of this I find Jesus actions and reactions very similar to my own. When confronted with a challenging situation or decision, I turn to prayer seeking assistance and guidance. I turn to my friends seeking their support and advice. And once a decision has been reached I seek some kind of sign or confirmation from God and/or from others that I am indeed moving in the right direction.

And at times in my life I have been blessed with what I believe is God's direction and approval of how I am proceeding.  I believe many of us have such experience, and that we should not hesitate to ask for a sign, an indication of the Lord’s approval.

Weekend Reflections for 2/3/17

How did Jesus prepare himself to be the light and salt for his people? He spends the first 30 or so years of his life in the little

town (estimated now at roughly 300 to 500 people) of Nazareth. It was here living with his family and the people of his village he learned how to be a good Israelite, how to live and practice their faith.  He learned and memorized and prayed over many of the Jewish Scriptures.  He learned and practiced a profession with Joseph, He became acquainted with the strengths and weaknesses of his religious and political leaders, their right and wrong practices.

 

Then one day, probably to surprise of most people, he left Nazareth to be baptized by John the Baptist and then for a period of time joins his circle of disciples. Eventually he realized it was time for him to set out on his own and share with his people what he knew of God and God's plan for the Israel nation. Now was the time for him to be the light and salt for his people. 

In the various gospel scenes of this week we read of some of the different ways in which Jesus accomplished this: journeying to the villages of Galilee and beyond, teaching, healing and on a few occasions even feeding the large crowd that was coming to hear him.

 

We too at times should reflect upon how God has been preparing us to be the light and salt for the people in our lives. How we have been imbued with our faith, our appreciation of the many gifts and blessings of our lives, the people who helped and guided us in our faith journey. How now we are being called to take on this marvelous, God-given responsibility with and for the people in our life world?

-Fr. 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 1/27/17

"Absolutely

The response of Peter, Andrew, James and John to the call 'Come!' is frightening (Matt. 4:12-23). 'At once they their nets and followed him.' It is immediate, almost impetuous, and complete. It is the response of human to the summoning and stunning allure of the absolute. That is, to the one, bedrock value in human life. All other values are relative, our allegiances to them depend on circumstances, the priority of other values. Against the kingdom of God manifest in Jesus, all our other loyalties (country, government, family, culture, institutions of state and religion, political preferences) must give way. No claim to our loyalty and full participation is superior to our citizenship in God's household and our life in Jesus Christ. There in our true homeland, we accept its laws and values as our fundamental rule of life. God's election is demanding and absolute. The followers of Jesus learnt the implications of their call slowly and gradually, according to accounts of the Gospel writers, and with two steps forward and one step back. But that demanding, exclusive, absolute summons echoed continuously within them.
      Francis X. Ryan, SJ"

Weekend Reflections for 1/20/2017

"The prophets Isaiah and John the Baptist are a focus in the readings for Sunday. What does it mean to be a prophet?  Foretelling the future is only a consequence and not always part of a prophet's job.
The Hebrew word which we translate as 'prophet' means a 'spokesperson' or 'mouthpiece', that is, one who is the mouth of God, through whom God speaks to the people. Most often the canonical prophets spoke God's judgment about the political and economic affairs of Israel and Judah with a pointedness that makes 21st century Americans queasy. God spoke through them about the policies of the kings - marriages, alliances, national security, the priority of the powerless and the poor in the life of the nation.
The prophets acknowledged in the scriptures were rejected by the rulers, the councils, the clergy and often the comfortable people, only to be accepted after the divine warnings were proved true by subsequent catastrophes like foreign occupations, exile, and finally the destruction of the temple and the dissolution of the nation."
 - Francis X. Ryan, SJ

Weekend Reflections for 1/13/16

"Happy Meetings

With Christmas retreating, we resume the frantic pace of the ordinary - chauffering kids, errands, work, and a thousand holy tasks. We're off to meet some all the time it seems. Here's a prayer to The Angel of Happy Meetings and one that was favored by the Catholic novelist Flannery O'Connor.

'O Raphael, lead us towards those we are waiting for, those who are waiting for us. Raphael, Angel of Happy Meetings, lead us by the hand towards those we are looking for. May all our movements, all their movements, be guided by your Light and transfigured by your Joy.

Angel guide of Tobias, lay the request we now address to you at the feet of Him on whose unveiled Face you are privileged to gaze. Lonely and tired, crushed by the separations and sorrows of earth, we feel the need of calling to you and of pleading for the protection of you wings, so that we may not be as strangers in the Province of Joy, all ignorant of the concerns of our country.

Remember the weak, you who are strong -- you whose home lies beyond the region of thunder, in a land that is always peaceful, always serene, and bright with resplendent glory of God. Amen."

Weekend Reflections for 1/6/16

"Big Changes"

A Muslim senior physician at St. Louis University Hospital has for years organized the young Muslim doctors to provide service for a clinic serving the poor of the city. When asked by a reporter why he did this, he responded that God's children had a right to healthcare. Following up the reporter asked who were God's children, the physician threw open his arms as if to embrace the waiting room and answered, 'Everyone.'

A current saying is 'Change isn't difficult; resisting change is.' Epiphany marks the epicenter of massive change in the understanding of who gets included. The pagan astronomers from the East follow an alluring star which which promises the remaking of the world as God intended it to be. They weren't included in the promises made to Abraham and Sarah and their descendants. They may not have even started their wanderings as believers in the one God. But they were chosen, they were summoned, they came to revelation of God among us. And the Light began to make the path clear. All are summoned by the star and bidden to come by the angels, even those we might suppose would be excluded."

            - Francis X. Ryan, SJ

Weekend Reflections for 12/23/16

Christmas

“The shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph and the infant lying in the manger.” (Lk 2:15-16)

In the Spiritual Exercises St. Ignatius has us contemplate the mystery of Christmas. He invites us to imagine pregnant Mary and Joseph making the trip on foot to Bethlehem, to see the road and the hills, to feel their fatigue, their hunger and thirst, Joseph’s worry for Mary. Then imagine the stable, what it looked like, the smells and the cold. Picture the scene the shepherds saw when they arrived. See yourself comforting Joseph and Mary and maybe even holding the infant Jesus.

Listen to what they are saying to each other and to you, consider what they are doing. They are fulfilling God’s plan for each and all of us, cooperating in the beginning of the human life of the Christ who has come to save us. Go deeply into your heart where Jesus Christ lives and consider what you want to say to Him in light of all He has done for you.

On behalf of all of us here at White House I assure you of our prayers for you and your loved ones. May the Prince of Peace bless you all.

Fr. Ralph Huse, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 12/16/16

Emmanuel - God is with Us

"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

'Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,' which means 'God is with us.'" (Mt 1:22-23)

Throughout the Old Testament God promises that He will visit His people and once again walk with them as He did with Adam and Eve in the garden in loving intimacy and union. As we prepare for Christmas, we remember His promise and invite Him to come again. Jesus entered our world as a new-born infant. He breathed our air and walked our earth. He experienced our humanity in every way except sin, knew happiness and sadness, success and failure. He grew up in a family and learned to belong and how to share a home and a table with his loved ones.

In his life, death and resurrection Jesus revealed our God to be Forgiving-Love. Before he returned to his Father he promised that he would always be with us every moment of our lives and wherever we are. We are never truly alone. Emmanuel is constantly looking at us with infinite compassion and love and always wants more for us than we can imagine. As Christmas draws closer, let us ask for the grace to be more aware of His presence and His loving gaze.

Fr. Ralph Huse, 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 10/28/16

Allowing God to Surprise Us 

In the story of Zacchaeus and Jesus in this Sunday's Gospel we have in a way an example of how "curiosity did not kill the cat," but rather saved it. Zacchaeus, a despised local tax collector of Jericho, had obviously heard a lot about Jesus, his marvelous deeds of healing, his preaching and his manner of dealing with every kind of person, regardless of their status or what their reputation might be. It seems that all Zacchaeus wanted to do was to see this person. Given the large crowd that assembled on the streets Jesus was traveling, he did the only thing he could do to accomplish this. So, he climbed up a Sycamore tree. 

And then when he does view him, to his great surprise he sees Jesus also looking up at him. Then to his astonishment Jesus addresses him, and asks to come to his home. Although the Scripture says nothing about this, evidently as Jesus accompanied Zacchaeus to his house and conversed with him, Zacchaeus eyes of faith were opened, and he realizes that indeed Jesus has come to bring forgiveness and life to all of the lost sheep of Israel, including himself.

Zacchaeus does not seem to question why or how such a great thing could happen to him but instead makes the most of the gift of this wonderful surprise. He knows in his heart what Jesus desires of him and the kind of life he is calling him to, and he's most willing to make the most of this opportunity.

I believe that most of us, perhaps all of us, are at times surprised about how God comes into our lives with the gift of his mercy, forgiveness and love.  When this happens, it is not the time to say to yourself, why me or how can this be?  Rather let us pray that we be like little children who rejoice being surprised, accept the gift and with unquestioning gratitude receive the gift and make the most of it.

Fr. 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 10/21/16

In the very poignant parable in this Sunday’s Gospel of the Pharisee and the tax collector, Jesus’ point is so clear that the less said about it the better. What else stands out for me, besides it’s obvious message , is the very simple prayer of the tax collector: ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’  As I mentioned in the reflection a few weeks ago, I have the privilege of hearing a lot of confessions.  A challenge for many people is what is known as the act of contrition. 

Many people years ago have learned a somewhat long and involved prayer.  My concern is that in their attempt to remember it they do not appreciate the main import of the prayer. For me it is simply to tell God I very sorry for my sins, I ask for your forgiveness, and I will endeavor to avoid these evils in the future. In its own way I see the tax collector’s prayer doing this. Evidently Jesus did as well because he says that the person went away justified.

 

However in my confession work I do hear many other kinds of contrition prayers which for me are quite adequate. For example:

 

a) Oh my God, I am sorry for my sins because I have offended you. I know I should love you above all things. Help me to do penance, to do better, and to avoid anything that might lead me to sin. Amen.

b. Oh God,  I am heartily sorry for my sins.  I love you very much and I will try to do better.

c. Oh my God I'm sorry for my sins in choosing to do wrong and failing to do good.

d.  I have sinned against you and your Church, and I firmly intend, with the my help of your Son, to make up for my sins and to love as I should.

It is also noteworthy to me that the tax collector does not spell out what his sins are. Also in other places in the gospel when Jesus forgives sins, he too seeks no such enumeration. For legitimate pastoral reasons our church does ask us to mentioned them out as well as we can.  But Jesus’ example reminds us that the heart of the matter is acknowledging the fact that I am a sinner in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness; and I beg and pray for this.

 

Jim Blumeyer, SJ

Weekend Reflections for 10/14/16

When Do I Pray?  Why Do I Pray?  Is It “Good” Prayer?

I have the privilege of talking to many people about their prayer life and experiences in prayer. Very often some of them will tell me that they do not pray well or that they don’t know how to pray or pray well. So I will ask them to describe to me their manner of praying. Some will say that they always talk to God in the morning thanking the Lord for another day of life, perhaps adding that in the evening they review their day and talk to the Lord about that. Others will tell me that very frequently during the day when they have some free time they will speak to the Lord about what’s going on, seeking advice, direction, expressing gratitude, asking for the well-being of someone who is sick or needs assistance.  I tell them that in my estimation what they are doing is good prayer.

Some people don’t appreciate their prayer or have a high regard of it because they say that they often pray only when they need something or want help. In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus speaks to this. In the parable about the widow and the judge his teaching is clear: God always hears us when we pray to God in need.  Emphasizing this Jesus gives the parable of a defenseless widow importuning an indifferent and dishonest judge.  The judge finally relents “because this widow keeps bothering me.” Jesus’ message is clear:  if an unjust judge relents “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?”

For me good prayer is being able to talk and listen to God on a regular basis, familiarly, direct and honest. Sometimes it is just being able to sit quietly with the Lord, knowing and appreciating that the Lord is with you, as well as appreciating the gift of your life in the creation around you.  Say Ignatius would say that good prayer is any manner of praying that allows us to be with and talk to the Lord as you would with a good friend.

Weekend Reflections for 10/7/16

The Grateful Samaritan, the Very Human Jesus

Sunday's Gospel on the healing of the 10 lepers tells me much about the humanity of Jesus. He was disappointed or hurt that nine of those healed did not return to express their gratitude. But also he was surprised that the one who did was a Samaritan. In the Gospels there are number of episodes about Jesus dealings with Samaritans.

In John's Gospel (4, 5-30) there is the intriguing story of Jesus with the woman at the well.  This conversation changes her into one of the first to proclaim how remarkable Jesus is.  There is his encounter with the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mark 7:25-30/Matthew 15:21-28) whose great faith convinced him despite his initial reluctance that he should heal her daughter.  There is his encounter with the Jewish leaders (Luke 7,1-10) of a certain village. They told him that the Roman centurion was indeed worthy of his consideration. Then after Jesus experiences this man's great faith, he is convinced that his servant was worthy of his merciful healing. 

And so when it comes to the healing of the 10 lepers there was no hesitation on the part of Jesus to heal them all, even though one was not an Israelite. His decision was confirmed and reinforced when this man alone came back to express his gratitude and appreciation.

Jesus it seems had to learn how to overcome the prejudices regarding Samaritans he had innocently taken on in his upbringing. I believe most, if not all of us, have the same issues and challenges, and the same need of eye-opening experiences which reveal to us our prejudices, the misconceptions of our beliefs. I also believe that in this day and age of our world and its relationships, we can all see how vitally important this type of conversion is. May our good Lord give us the humility, honesty, courage and faith this requires.

 

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