Transfiguration

August 24th, 2017 Posted in writing | No Comments »

I own an icon (a print, not an original icon) of the scene called the Transfiguration. It depicts the story of Jesus taking Peter, James and John up a mountain, where he changed from being the Jesus they were familiar with to a Jesus who shone with the over-powering beauty and power of God. And Moses the great lawgiver and Elijah the great prophet of Israel appeared conversing with him, revealing that Jesus was surpassing them both. At last came the Voice of God the Father: “This is my Son—listen to him!”

The message is meant for us, too. “This is my Son,” we can interpret to mean, “This Jesus is not simply someone who can talk about me. He actually shows you all that you need to know about me, how I feel about you and what I want for you. You see him and you see me, you pay attention to him and you are paying attention to me, you welcome him and you are welcoming me.”

And God says loud and clear, “Listen to him!” We might take this for ourselves to mean, “Don’t listen to voices that are full of hate and violence—listen to Jesus! Don’t give credence to those who offer only words of discouragement or self-doubt—listen to Jesus! Don’t be persuaded by those who tell you that love and forgiveness are merely signs of weakness—instead, listen to Jesus!

The Transfiguration is a truly rich event that encourages us to seek what lies deep down in Jesus. And at the same time, it reveals to us who we are and how we should live.

Why Ignatius Matters

July 28th, 2017 Posted in writing | No Comments »

A reflection for the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola (July 31)

Ignatius Loyola matters because his message and spirituality remind us of three important truths.

The first is that God’s response to our flawed and sinful world is not to withdraw from it in anger but to enter it more deeply and transform it from within through the life, death, and rising of Jesus. And since God has made his home with us in this world, we can seek him even in difficult situations and circumstances. Ignatius assures us God is right beside us no matter what.

Secondly, Ignatius reminds us that God wants to establish his Kingdom of justice, peace, love, and forgiveness in this world and that Christ invites us to work with him in this enterprise. He could do it without our cooperation, but he wants us to be his partners. Thus, the good deeds we do, the loving relationships we foster, and the help we give to those in need all contribute to furthering the Kingdom of God. If we are ever tempted to think that God doesn’t want our help, Ignatius reminds us we are wrong.

Finally, for his Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius sought people with big souls and large hearts who would go above and beyond the ordinary service of God and neighbor, who would seek not just God’s glory, but God’s greater glory. He reminds us that the truly exemplary disciples of Jesus are those who have experienced God’s deep love in their souls and then spread it to as many people and situations as possible, even dangerous and difficult ones.

In our day, when people think God is absent or doesn’t need us or that we can be content with an uninspired and uninspiring commitment to God, Ignatius of Loyola tell us just the opposite.

That’s why, five hundred years after his death, he still matters.

Now for Something Different

June 18th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Dear reader of The Bridge,

Though I normally post faith reflections, this posting is different.

Specifically, I want to call your attention to a project that the Midwest Jesuits have undertaken for the care of older Jesuits who are living at our retirement and health care community in Milwaukee.

Though almost all of these men are no longer able to engage in active ministry, they have spent years in the service of God’s people. Now, in retirement or illness, they pray for the world, the Church, the Society of Jesus and its works, always remembering our friends and benefactors and anyone who has asked for special prayers.

Any way you can assist in this project, especially by your prayers, will be truly appreciated

Fr. Frank Majka, S.J.

Please go to:

www.jesuitsmidwest.org/WOFO

You may have to enter that address by hand since I’m not so good at setting up a link that one can just click and be connected to the desired page.
Additionally, at that page a money amount has already been selected from several options. From my point of view, this should not imply that this is an expected amount for an individual to give! The page just came that way and I couldn’t get rid of it. My apologies and I hope no one takes offense.

The Holy Spirit in Ordinary Time

June 5th, 2017 Posted in writing | No Comments »

Using an admirable economy of language, the author of a poem about the Holy Spirit says, “In you, O Spirit of God, we move and live and find our rest.” As we move from the Easter season into the time of the liturgical year known as Ordinary Time (which extends over almost half the year), we might want to take a closer look at the author’s words about the Holy Spirit.

They tell us that in the Spirit of God, we find the energy to not stay stuck in old ruts. The Holy Spirit can open us to imagine new things, invest in new relationships, explore new ways of doing familiar things and look for ways to deepen our love so that we find God in places and circumstances we may have overlooked.

The writer also says that in the Holy Spirit we live. Life is all about responding to the God who asks us to care for ourselves, others and our world. In the Holy Spirit we can engage life with hope and creativity, for this same Spirit shaped the formless chaos at the dawn of creation into a universe that reveals the mystery, power and beauty of God.

Lastly, the author tells us that in the Holy Spirit we find our rest. We may feel that worries and pressures grind us down and leave us exhausted. When so many things need doing and so many things call for our attention, if we are not careful, we can become worn out. We might pray that Holy Spirit would teach us to follow the example of Pope John XXIII who, at the end of many full and often stressful days, was said to have gone into his chapel, looked up at the crucifix, and prayed, “Well, Lord, it’s your world and your Church. I’m going to bed.”

Yes, Ordinary Time gets underway. But by moving, living and resting in the Holy Spirit, Ordinary Time can become truly Extraordinary Time.

Easter Comfort

May 11th, 2017 Posted in writing | 1 Comment »

Having recently passed the midway mark of the Easter season we might want to pay attention to an aspect of the Resurrection that St. Ignatius Loyola highlights. He says that the Risen Christ acts as a consoler to his disciples and followers who have suffered through the trauma and confusion of the terrible events of Jesus’ arrest, beating, mockery, crucifixion and death.

They had lost not only their companion, teacher and leader but someone they had come to love. And they had lost the hopes and dreams that Jesus and his message had evoked in them. They were sad, afraid, confused and traumatized. Their pain went so deep that when some women from their group reported to them that they had seen angels at Jesus’ empty tomb and even seen and spoken to Jesus, the apostles simply did not believe them.

Then suddenly, on the evening of the first Easter, Jesus was there with them, speaking with them and wishing them Shalom/God’s peace and his own blessing. They experienced the Risen Jesus being with them, loving them, consoling and comforting them.

One of the surest signs that we have truly understood and accepted the Easter event is that we let Jesus’ comfort and greeting of peace come into our hearts and dry the tears we have shed in our lives, finding that in the presence of the Risen Lord, we may find life and hope in a way we thought we never would.