Ignatius of Loyola was a man of great vision. Ignatius’ graced vision to see a world “charged with the grandeur of God”— to envision and imagine such a world — began during his recuperation at his home in Loyola following the Battle of Pamplona in 1521. It was further illuminated through an experience at the river Cardoner a few years later, and confirmed through his profound vision at La Storta in 1539, where God "placed him with His Son" carrying His cross.
Today, as companions of Christ and stewards of that vision, our mission is to continue the work begun by Ignatius and sustained by the love and grace of God
in the lives and ministries of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Like many who labor in the
vineyard of the Lord, we live at the juncture of interesting times — times when God’s love is
being made manifest in new ways, and where both new opportunities and new challenges
abound.We are called to look to the horizon, the frontier, and imagine a future that is not yet here.
As we move from Lent into Holy Week, we pray now for the grace of vision.The vision to see, the vision to hear, the vision to read the signs of the times — in order to discern more deeply how we are called, as companions in the Lord, to follow Christ and to serve Him in our work, our ministries and our lives.
I pray for the grace to be united with the Lord Jesus in his vision as I journey with Him to Jerusalem and the cross.
Reading via the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website:
Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany,
the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil
and dried his feet with her hair;
it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.
So the sisters sent word to him saying,
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
When Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death,
but is for the glory of God,
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill,
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples,
“Let us go back to Judea.”
The disciples said to him,
“Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you,
and you want to go back there?”
“Are there not twelve hours in a day?
If one walks during the day, he does not stumble,
because he sees the light of this world.
But if one walks at night, he stumbles,
because the light is not in him.”
He said this, and then told them,
“Our friend Lazarus is asleep,
but I am going to awaken him.”
So the disciples said to him,
“Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.”
But Jesus was talking about his death,
while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep.
So then Jesus said to them clearly,
“Lazarus has died.
And I am glad for you that I was not there,
that you may believe.
Let us go to him.”
So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples,
“Let us also go to die with him.”
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”
When she had said this,
she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying,
“The teacher is here and is asking for you.”
As soon as she heard this,
she rose quickly and went to him.
For Jesus had not yet come into the village,
but was still where Martha had met him.
So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her
saw Mary get up quickly and go out,
they followed her,
presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him,
she fell at his feet and said to him,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping,
he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said,
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this man would not have died?”
So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
“Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,
“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”
Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.
“This is Seedtime” from“With Bound Hands” by Alfred Delp, SJ
Alfred Delp was a German Jesuit, who was executed for his resistance to the Nazi regime. Fr. Delp was offered his freedom if he would renounce the Jesuits. He refused and was hanged February 2, 1945.
One thing is becoming gradually clear — I must surrender myself completely. This is seedtime, not harvest. God sows the seed and some time or other he will do the reaping. The one thing I must do is to make sure the seed falls on fertile ground. And I must arm myself against the pain and depression that sometimes almost defeat me. If this is the way God has chosen — and everything indicates that it is — then I must willingly and without rancor make it my way. May others at some future time find it possible to have a better and happier life because we died in this hour of trial.
From“A Fire that Kindles Other Fires” - Decree 2 of the Society of Jesus’ General Congregation 35:
While at Manresa, Ignatius had an experience at the river Cardoner that opened his eyes so that “all things seemed new to him” because he began to see them with new eyes. Reality became transparent to him, enabling him to see God working in the depths of everything and inviting him to “help souls.” This new view of reality led Ignatius to seek and find God in all things.
The understanding that Ignatius received taught him a contemplative way of standing in the world, of contemplating God at work in the depths of things, of tasting “the infinite sweetness and charm of the divinity, of the soul, of its virtues and of everything there.” Starting from the contemplation of the incarnation it is clear that Ignatius does not sweeten or falsify painful realities. Rather he begins with them, exactly as they are — poverty, forced displacement, violence between people, abandonment, structural injustice, sin — but then he points to how God’s Son was born into these realities; and it is here that sweetness is found.
Tasting and seeing God in reality is a process. Ignatius had to learn this himself through many painful experiences. At La Storta he received the grace to be placed with the Son bearing the Cross; and so he and his companions were drawn into the Son’s pattern of life, with its joys and with its sufferings. Similarly today the Society, in carrying out its mission, experiences the companionship of the Lord and the challenge of the Cross. Commitment to “the service of faith and the promotion of justice,” to dialogue with cultures and religions, takes Jesuits to limit-situations where they encounter energy and new life, but also anguish and death — where “the Divinity is hidden.”
The experience of a hidden God cannot always be avoided, but even in the depths of darkness when God seems concealed, the transforming light of God is able to shine. God labors intensely in this hiddenness. Rising from the tombs of personal life and history, the Lord appears when we least expect, with his personal consolation as a friend and as the center of a fraternal and servant community.
From this experience of God laboring in the heart of life, our identity as “servants of Christ’s mission” rises up ever anew.
View the daily readings at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website.