Yesterday we arrived in Girisonta a Jesuit Retreat House in Central Java. Lina and Audrey (our novices) are about to make their Thirty Day Retreat. I will direct them and Agnes Dini is here to support the whole process in any way she can. The actual retreat will begin tomorrow evening. Please keep Audrey and Lina especially in your prayer at this special time for them. May the Holy Spirit be with them and us throughout this time. We will be praying for all of you…
Archive for the ‘Ignatian religious’ Category
In the next few weeks I invite us to have a look as some parts of Laudato Si to consider areas of personal conversion that each one of us is called to. Pope Francis reminds us that awareness enables us to discover what can be done.
Following a period of irrational confidence in progress and human abilities, some sectors of society are now adopting a more critical approach. We see increasing sensitivity to the environment and the need to protect nature, along with a growing concern, both genuine and distressing, for what is happening to our planet. Let us review, however cursorily, those questions which are troubling us today and which we can no longer sweep under the carpet. Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it. LS19
Pope Francis invites us to reflect on our current situation so as to allow the suffering of the world to become our own suffering.
One area that is addressed in the encyclical Laudato Si, is that of our throw-away society.
We have not yet managed to adopt a circular model of production capable of preserving resources for present and future generations, while limiting as much as possible the use of non-renewable resources, moderating their consumption, maximizing their efficient use, reusing and recycling them. A serious consideration of this issue would be one way of counteracting the throwaway culture which affects the entire planet, but it must be said that only limited progress has been made in this regard. LS22
Change is certainly needed on a macro level, with industry and governments playing a key role. However we are reminded that the individual cannot abdicate responsibility and there are small lifestyle choices that each of us can make.
Perhaps as a practical step each one of us might consider the waste produced in our households each week. Are there choices that we can make with regard to food, clothing, transport etc that might reduce our personal consumption of the earths resources? Here’s are just a few simple questions that might provoke reflection:
- Do we buy food with a lot of packaging?
- Do we repair or dispose of damaged goods?
- Do we compost or send to landfill?
- Is all recyclable waste separated in our house?
- Are we overly influenced by fashions – clothing, technology, etc?
The video addresses the question of manufacturing in a way that has less environmental impact.
It is worth watching all of this presentation if you havent already, but in particular I invite you to watch Prof Schellnhuber from 1:00:00 – 1:18:50. (Much of the video is in Italian but the interventions, including Prof Schellnhuber, are in English)
It is not poverty that destroys the environment, it is wealth, consumption and waste.
[Prof.John Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute]
REFLECTIONS ON NOVITIATE BY ROWENA JAMBARO NOV FCJNovitiate is a great invitation and it is the most challenging phase of the journey of my life so far. For me it is a precious time in which I am so much closer to God. It’s a school of new beginnings made up of many elements: welcoming; learning; growing; exercising; living; deepening and letting go.I am learning so many things during this special time: how to grow the love of Jesus in my heart; how to live with Jesus as the centre of my life; how to know myself better; how to stretch myself more in love for others; how to be a woman at the foot of the cross and go beyond it; how to be a contemplative in action, particularly in my daily living.I have valued and enjoyed my apostolic ministries: visiting and accompanying the sick; teaching children and working with youth. I have been inspired and helped by all those I have worked with and for.Lots of questions come into my mind to ponder??? How to give myself fully to Jesus? How to love him faithfully, to follow him tenderly and serve him lovingly? It is not always easy but bit by bit and through prayer I am aware of how to respond and I go on learning day by day. Throughout this pilgrimage of my life Jesus is indeed my faithful companion. It is his everlasting love that strengthens my faith, hope and love.I have been helped by the unconditional love and endless support of our novice director throughout this journey. She has helped me and directed me as I have been moulded and shaped through God’s love. I am grateful too to the many companions who have loved and supported me in so many ways. God’s grace is always there for me. Thanks be to God for love always in all things. United in mind, heart and prayer with all those who read this. God bless each one of you.
Taking the first step of articulating an interest in religious life can be exciting, challenging, bewildering … we may feel we are not ‘up to the task’ or that people will think we are crazy. Perhaps it is a long held dream and we know people will support us. Whatever our initial feeling, taking that first step is a pretty significant time!
Another thing that can be difficult is to know where to look – there are literally hundreds of different communities and so it can seem overwhelming, and yet in my experience taking the first step is what is important – God seems to be already there helping you to discern what is right as soon as you make a step.
Audrey is an FCJ postulant from Singapore, she currently lives in Manila . She writes about taking that first step in finding which congregation she felt called to:
There is a joke that goes, “What are 3 things that the Pope doesn’t know? First, how much money the Franciscans have; second, what the Jesuits will do next; and third, how many women’s congregations there are in the world.”
When I first starting thinking about religious life, the sheer number of possibilities was bewildering. If I were a man, I thought, it would be so much easier – I would go to the Jesuits! But looking around on the internet, I discovered that there were also women’s congregations practising Ignatian spirituality. The FCJs were the first to reply my email enquiry, and invited me to visit them in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. After three days with them, I knew I had found what I was looking for. The sisters completely upended my stereotype of nuns – they were smart and talented and loving and funny, and they rode motorbikes!
Over the next year, I kept in touch by email, discerned further with a spiritual director, visited Yogya for another week, and then applied for postulancy. Now I am in Manila, learning to love a culture completely different from my own! God surely delights in surprises.
This is Week 1 of Desires of the Heart, a 10-week series on Ignatian spirituality and prayer. The text below is meant to companion the audio teaching and meditation.Click play and feel free to follow along. You may also download a PDF this week’s “handout” here.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven: May your holy name be honored’” – Matthew 6:9 (GNT)
St Ignatius Loyola was considered minor nobility, but that didn’t stop him from leading a life of vanity, sin, and pride—being “of the world” he might say—indulging in gambling, duelling, and affairs. After a conversion while recovering from a battle wound, Ignatius began living a life of poverty and asceticism. He didn’t cut his hair or nails and wore shoes with no soles. His attachment now was not to vanity but to harsh penances.
Through prayer Ignatius learned that…
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As we move through Holy week I am reminded of our Chapter Decree;
So much about this week is filled with beauty and life; the blossom on the trees, the weather, a less frenetic timetable… it makes my heart sing!
Yet there is so much around that is filled with pain too. So many aspects of our world where we can meet the crucified Christ. I watch the news of Ukraine and its people teetering on the edge of civil war; or a woman in the USA who murdered her new born infants; the people of Syria coping with so many years of war and displacement; or simply the elderly man in the local pharmacy looking for company and a friendly face. To me these are all contemporary crosses. All places in which God cries out in people’s lives for love, compassion, and hope.
We took a day trip to Finisterre, you can see from the photo that it is very beautiful. It left me to reflect about why some people walk on from Santiago to Finisterre… for me the cathedral and tomb of St James are the end, and I see how some pilgrims arrive and yet are not ready to finish.. Finisterre provides a literal end point, but I think that the message of the Camino is more clearly expressed in the feeling that it is not finished, life, with all the joys of Camino, goes on. The Camino is not about an end point, it is about a beginning.
This week I am in Santiago de Compostela volunteering as part of an English speaking chaplaincy team. Each day we are welcoming people who arrive into the city and offering a quiet space for prayer and reflection. At 10.30 each day we have Mass in English in the cathedral followed by coffee and a chat at a local cafe. The chaplaincy office is open again from 5 pm and there is also a prayer space in our chapel at the cathedral. At 7.30 taize style prayer in the chaplaincy office. I’ll post more about it as the week goes on.