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 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.

Weekend Reflections for 3/16/18

The Paradox of Glory

     In John's Gospel this Sunday, Jesus reminds us that his moment of greatest glory will be the moment of his self-surrender in death.  He has been preparing for this.  He will perform this ultimate act of love on the cross. 


     Then he offers this curious analogy: "Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat."  On the farm where I grew up, when we planted wheat, a small percentage of the kernels would actually be dead, with no life in them.  And they would only decompose in the soil once placed there.  But all the other kernels would have to die to their exterior form and break open and unleash their power to break through the soil and turn from one seed to possibly a hundred--a full head of wheat. 


     The best things in life, then, have to be turned inside out.  Like popcorn (a staple of Jesuits here at White House).


     You and I to have to die to our exterior form in this world.  In Jesus' terms, "Whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life."  That is, no clinging is to be allowed to our worldly way of doing things, focusing on self-preservation.  Rather we are to focus on self-gift, letting ourselves be turned inside out as was Jesus.  For he tells us, "Whoever serves me must follow [my example]..."

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 

 

WOMEN'S RETREAT WITH SPACE:

March 19-22 with Fr. Anthony Wieck, S.J.

 

CO-ED RETREAT WITH SPACE:

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

 

LENT DAYS OF PRAYER WITH OPENINGS:  March 27 & 28

Limited space remains on each.  Call 314-416-6400 to register.

Weekend Reflections for 3/9/18

     John 3:16.  Everyone has seen it, whether at a football game or elsewhere.  It is a pivotal passage of Scripture, and part of this Sunday's gospel: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son."  Mind-boggling!  Instead of letting us pay the price for our own sin, God the Father and God the Son took it upon themselves.  For what father would not find it excruciating to see his only-begotten son be crucified without cause?  And what special son would choose to let it happen to himself for the sake of guilty sinners?  Imagine yourself serving life in prison, by choice, for someone else so that they could go free.  


     But salvation is not just a simple exchange to where God pays the debt on the cross and I go free.  No, there is something required of me also--the gaze of faith.  The bronze serpent in the desert had absolutely no power of itself to cure the bitten, but only the gaze of faith.  So too we are not saved willy-nilly by God's self-gift on the cross, but only by the gaze of faith.
     "God so loved the world...so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."  Let us look upon the crucifix during this Lent with a new gaze of faith.  Let us sign ourselves in wonder with the sign of our salvation.

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

WOMEN'S RETREAT WITH SPACE:

March 19-22 with Fr. Anthony Wieck, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 3/2/18

     "Zeal for his Father's house consumes him." This statement pretty much defines the dramatic cleansing of the temple scene in Sunday's Gospel. 

     Jesus is not okay with exorbitant exchange rates for foreigners who need to exchange their Roman coins for Jewish coins so as to pay the temple tax and offer the cleansing sacrifice for sin.  These rates obstruct to the point where the worshippers can no longer enter the temple. 

     Jesus also is not okay with people believing only in his signs, his miracles. He knows human nature only too well. 

     But zeal he does recognize. And those who filled with this holy zest of love toward God will recognize Jesus as his Son.  It is a shared experience, inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Jesus always recognizes his Holy Spirit moving in others.

     We pray for the grace to be filled with holy zeal, such that fervent love becomes the source of our spiritual practices this Lent.

 

-Fr. Anthony Wieck, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 2/16/18

Jesus Begins His Public Ministry

What happens when Jesus makes the crucial decision to begin preaching about the kingdom of God.  He leaves his lifelong home at Nazareth, and goes to meet John the Baptist. Jesus is baptized and is consoled to hear his Father confirms that he is indeed proceeding in the right way.  In different ways the Scriptures also indicate that Jesus after his baptism spent some time with John and his disciples. When you think about it, there was so much for him to learn: how to gather disciples, how to preach and deal with those who come to listen to you, how to support this kind of ministry.

But as today’s gospel tells us, the Spirit of God eventually leads Jesus to the desert— Mark actually says “drives” him to the desert, where he can be alone, reflect and pray.  He needs to consider and plan so many things:  what he is about to do, how and when he’s going to do it. And it is in in the midst of this very important, crucial and difficult time that the spirit of evil interrupts trying to subvert, confuse and misdirect him in all of this.

We see how much Jesus, except for sin, is like us in all things, even in being tempted. For me it is important to notice when this occurs. He has just received John’s baptism, His Father spoken to him in a special way approving of his manner of proceeding, and now he is spending much time in fasting and prayer. It is then that the enemy interrupts and tries to turn him away from the manner in which God has been leading him. 

How often in moments which I thought should be most sacred and holy has the “unholy” tried to break in, upset my peace, turn me aside from the way in which God has been leading me.  Sometimes just having such thoughts causes one to reflect what a terrible and worthless person I am. How disgusting of me to have such thoughts or perhaps how presumptuous am I to have such aspirations or plans. On such occasions it is often very important to review all of this with a spiritual director or companion/guide.

 

Weekend Reflections for 2/9/18

Eat Everything They Put Out

In the first reading for this Friday's Mass (Is. 58, 1-9), the prophet castigates the people for their manner of fasting.  After telling them what is so mean-spirited and woefully inappropriate in their behavior he says:

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.....

......Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

For many Christians it's often a challenge to determine what they should be doing special or different during Lent in appreciation of our Lord's passion and in preparation for the Sacred Triduum at Lent's conclusion .  A very learned and good teacher of mine, Richard Smith, S.J.  addressed this matter in one of his retreats to Jesuit seminarians.  In his retreats he included a question and answer session. In this retreat he was asked what kind of Lenten penance/sacrifice he would recommend. His response was, "Oh that's easy. Just eat everything that is put out on the table and don't complain."  How simple, and for us, so practical. But I can assure you that it was for many young Jesuits a very challenging recommendation to put into practice.

So what is the appropriate Lenten penance or sacrifice? I suspect there are thousands of good answers, but I suggest one general guideline. Consider what it is that's going on in your life right now that is hindering your relationship with the Lord and perhaps separating you from the Lord, or a person or persons who need your care and concern. If it is something you can address in a practical and simple manner, as was the case with Dick Smith's suggestion, then I recommend you consider the challenge of doing 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

 

WOMEN'S RETREATS WITH SPACE:

March 5-8 with Fr. Francis Ryan, S.J.

March 19-22 with Fr. Anthony Wieck, S.J.

Weekend Reflections for 2/2/18

How has God called and prepared me to proclaim the Good News?

How did God prepare Jesus to serve his people, to bring about his Kingdom? It begins with growing up and spending the first 30 or so years of his life in the little town of Nazareth (estimated now at roughly 300 to 500 people). It was here living with his family and the people of his village, working with them and for them that he learned how to be a good Israelite, how to live and practice his 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 the surprise of almost everyone, he leaves Nazareth, goes to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist.  Then for a period of time he joins John’s disciples. Eventually he realized it was time for him to set out on his own and proclaim on his own what he knew of God and God’s plan for the Jewish nation.

In the various gospel scenes for this week we hear 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 gathered around him, some to hear him others, to be healed.

It is most noteworthy that her did do this alone, but from the beginning gathered disciples to assist him.  He continues to do this with you and me.

We too at times should reflect upon how God has been preparing us to be ministers of the Good News, how we are to proclaim the kingdom of God in our own lives.  It is helpful to appreciate how we have been imbued with our faith. It is salutary to recall gratefully the people who helped and guided us in our faith journey.

So how now am I being called to take on, or to continue take on, this marvelous responsibility of being ministers of the Gospel with and for the people in my life world?

-Fr. Jim Blumeyer, S.J.