Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The demands of Spiritual homelessness, burying the dead, and not looking back

Well, Thursday is the day we celebrate Ignatius of Loyola.... The three ex-Jesuits I have known have been superior scholars and men of great devotion. I'm not so keen on much of the history of the Order though....

Given our current situation, the Gospel reading for the day is powerful --what with Lambeth and the unfolding pressures upon the Communion. In this story, three persons approach Jesus:

One volunteers to follow him, and Jesus retorts saying that he must then follow him to that place of "nowhere" of homelessness.

The next person Jesus calls, but that person is too busy tending the dead. Jesus gives him a charge to proclaim the kingdom anyway.

The third person volunteers to follow but wants to go say good bye first. And Jesus says--don't look back.... Once you start down the row, don't look back.

Somehow these persons are all alive and well, this very day: the "nowhere" people in eternal search mode, wandering, uncomfortable with the demands and rigors of true spiritual homelessness; the Bishops and all those others digging graves deeper and deeper wanting to give honor to a dead past; and those who wish to hold on to relationships while called to something new.

Each one of those personas resonates with me at some level....the digging graves part not so much as the others. What really really strikes home though, is the thought of keeping a hand to the plow and not looking back.

I am not so sure what Ignatius would think of Blessed Mahalia--but I love her.

Hold on. Don't look back. Eyes forward. All your strength.
Sing it Mahalia.

Gospel for Thursday, July 31: Luke 9:57-62
As they were going along the road, someone said to Jesus, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."

To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

The Collect
Almighty God, from whom all good things come: You called Ignatius of Loyola to the service of your Divine Majesty and to find you in all things. Inspired by his example and strengthened by his companionship, may we labor without counting the cost and seek no reward other than knowing that we do your will; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

First Reading
1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

This post really spoke to me. For decades, I have known that God calls me to write fiction. It is my vocation, and yet I have so little professional success. But I "heard" the Gospel in a new way tonight. If Jesus has no place to lay his head, why should I expect that he will automatically ensure that I find a publishing home? What matters is the work and the obedience. Put my hand to the plow. Eyes ahead. Don't count the cost of the hours and hours of writing.

I don't know if this sounds very significant to you, but it was very helpful to me. Thanks.

it's margaret said...

Ruth! Wow!! God bless you!

Grandmère Mimi said...

I went to the Loyola University, a Jesuit institution. Most of the Jesuits I knew there were fine man, with a few exceptions. This was over 50 years ago when priests were very much present, before the hemorrhaging began.

I love Mahalia, whatever Ignatius would think of her.

Ruth, hang in there, love.

Padre Mickey said...

I, too, have a fine Jesuit education from San Francisco University. I studied Ethics and some Church History at the Jesuit school in the Graduate Theological Union. However, I lived on Okinawa until I was 16 years of age, and, I am not happy with the history of the Jesuits in Japan or Asia, for that matter (the Franciscans screwed-up in Japan, too!).

I loves dem Jesuits, and dey also makes me mad!

Great post!

Padre Mickey said...

Actually, my fine Jesuit education was at the University of San Francisco, not San Francisco University. I received an Science Bachelor in Dyslexia.

Grandmère Mimi said...

I loves dem Jesuits, and dey also makes me mad!

Me, too, Padre. They didn't offer the BS in Dyslexia at Loyola.

it's margaret said...

dang --I posted something, and lost it!

There is nothing better than a Jesuit education --I liked the Jesuit seminary in Berkeley. Took classes there. Very grateful.

I never saw Dyslexia in the course programs either Grandmere!

Jane R said...

Lotsa Jesuit education in my past too, theological mostly, in Cambridge and Berkeley. One of my buddies from divinity school, who ran off and joined the Dominicans, used to call me "Jesuit Jane." ;-) I talked about this a tiny bit on last year's Ignatius post. (Sorry for the blog-w**ring, but that post does have some really nice visuals.)

And I love Ignatian spirituality, even though I also love Benedictine spirituality. Do you think I could be a hybrid BeneJesuit?

Ruth, that's wonderful about your fiction writing vocation. And maybe with the wonders of the Web, you can find ways to share the stories you write without publishers -- though it won't make you rich. Blessings on your holy work!

afeatheradrift said...

For more years than I care to think I've thought of myself as the "invisible" Catholic, out of tune with my Church. Your post puts a theme to my journey. While I paused a good while, I could never still the small voice that urged me on, up and out of my beloved Church to where a greater truth seems to lie. Your post puts a nice finishing touch to this latest leg of the journey. thank you.