S e n t i r e C u m E c c l e s i a

"To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What seems to me to be white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls..." - Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius [365]

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Bread that gives Life Eternal!

We hear in today's Gospel account from St. John about Jesus discoursing with the Jews about him being the "Bread of Life." Indeed, it is quite disturbing, devastating even, to think about this person, this carpenter's son as the "bread" on which humankind must feed on! Total Absurdity! But Jesus said "No!" He continues "I Am the bread of life! Your forefathers ate manna in the desert yet they died nonetheless. But he who feeds on this "bread" will live forever, for the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world!"

Total absurdity! But if we think upon Jesus' words more seriously, we find that Jesus was not absurd at all. Jesus seems to pose an invitation to all his listeners, and to us as well who are His followers in the modern era. A simple invitation of gratitude and sharing. "As the Father sent me to you for you to have life, then feed on me, so that you may be "life" for others! As you have partaken of this "Bread of Life," I am making you "breads of life" as well!

This week, the Lord is once again inviting us to reflect in a deeper way the significance of the Holy Eucharist in our lives as Christians. We partake of the Lord's Body and Blood weekly (daily even for some of us!). But does our partaking of the one Bread and the one Cup make us more "Eucharistic?" Does the celebration of the Eucharist effect a change in our dispositions, in our ways of relating, in our ways of loving?

We pray then that our partaking of Jesus' Body and Blood broken, poured out, and shared in the Eucharist may make us more "Eucharistic" -- more sensitive to the people around us. Amen.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Transfiguration -- Our Call to Share God's Wonder

The Universal Church celebrates the Feast of the Lord's Transfiguration believed to occur at Mount Tabor. We heard that Jesus set aside James, Peter, and John and together went to this site. There, right before their very eyes, Jesus was transfigured -- His graments and countenance became dazzlingly white. And expected of human tendency of awe and wonder, Peter remarked that they better stay there, never mind going back. ANd I wish to focus our attention to this point.

Many instances in our lives when we are "awed" by the divine revelation of God either through deep prayer or concrete circumstances, our tendency is to cling to such prayer or experience. We somehow notice in us the hesitancy of moving on, of continuing.

I believe that this is the great challenge of this Feast for us Christians in the modern day. Jesus is inviting us to "go out into the world" and share to others the wonders of God's love as we experience it. In the process, it is hoped that the world will be filled with the richness and depth of God's magnificent love for humanity. Let us pray that we may lovingly and generously respond to this great challenge posed at us this day.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The "Cura Personalis" Saint

Today, the Society of Jesus celebrates the memory of Blessed Peter Faber, S.J. One of the original companions whose friendship at the University of Paris eventually led them to form the Society of Jesus, Peter Faber (1506-1546) grew up as a shepherd in the high pastures of the French Alps of the Savoy region. At the University of Paris, he met Ignatius and tutored him in Aristotle, while Ignatius tutored the former shepherd in spiritual matters. Faber became an effective preacher and giver of the Spiritual Exercises, working in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Germany. He was instrumental in establishing the Society of Jesus in Portugal, and was appointed by Pope Paul III to be one of the papal theologians at the Council of Trent. He died in Rome on his way to the Council, in the presence of his friend Ignatius (from www.sjweb.info). Below is a prayer believed to be composed by Blessed Peter Faber:

I beg of you, my Lord,
to remove anything
which separates me from you,
and you from me.