“Lead me to praise you with all your saints.”
July 26, 2022
This Sunday is the Eight Sunday after Pentecost. Hidden behind it is the feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. A young Spanish knight become priest/mystic, he founded a community called the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), with a missional emphasis on evangelization and guidance on the journey of faith. Like all the saints, Sant Ignatius was (is!) in love with Christ. He died on July 31, 1556.
I am one who believes that the saints are not simply models of impossibly good behaviour. The saints are friends, who actively journey with us. They are quiet, for they would never engage us in such a way as to diminish our freedom. They work in perfect concert with Jesus.
The following prayer, called the “Anima Christi”, is often attributed to St. Ignatius. It was composed well before his time, however, which allowed him to include it in his famous work, the “Spiritual Exercises”. Its author is unknown. It is carried in the heart of the Church, part of our spiritual patrimony. It is the prayer of someone in love with Christ:
Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from the side of Christ, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O Good Jesus, hear me
Within the wounds, shelter me
from turning away, keep me
From the evil one, protect me
At the hour of my death, call me
Into your presence lead me
to praise you with all your saints
Forever and ever
Yours in the heart of the Church,
And Who is My Neighbor?
July 5, 2022
"And who is my neighbor?" asks a lawyer of Jesus, in this Sunday’s gospel (Luke 10:25-37). The lawyer sought not to deepen his understanding of love and mercy but to justify himself, that is, to be able proudly to say that he “gave at the office.”
Regardless of his motive, Jesus lets him know, in no uncertain terms, who the neighbor is. My neighbor is the person right on my path: my family member, the person in the check-out line, my co-worker, the parishioner three pews behind me, whom I have yet to greet in two years. We need not look far to know whom we are called to love. Folk-rocker Stephen Stills, back in 1970, summarized it in his own way, in a well-known song he penned: “love the one you’re with.” St. Thomas Aquinas, 700 years earlier, says that, “in matters concerning relations between citizens, we should prefer our fellow-citizens”. In other words, well-ordered charity begins at home. Of course, “at home” those most vulnerable beckon our love in a special way. And, when we love, we are then neighbor.
Jesus, thankfully, gives us the love with which we can love all those whom He brings across our path—including people with whom, humanly speaking, we have little in common, people whom we find annoying, people even who have hurt us. Divine love, an unconditional, liberating gift, is offered to us at every moment, and, in a special way, in the Eucharist. Do we ask for it? Try doing so, first thing in the morning, on your knees, if possible. Your life will change, for the oh-so-much-better.
THE REV. DOMINIQUE PERIDANS