We have often heard about Jesus in books, art and sermons, but how well do we actually know him? Maybe that’s the whole point of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion celebrated during the entire month of June. Here’s an Examen with the Sacred Heart of Christ.
It’s easy for me to offer Jesus a litany of tragedies I’ve read about in the news. I know plenty of dying parents and sick friends and incarcerated brothers worthy of my attention in prayer. But it’s amazing what young lives can teach about life and prayer when I pay attention to God at work around me.
The velorio, a gathering in the home of the deceased, is a Mexican tradition that allows loved ones to gather to share meals, memories and to mourn. And, even still, life around us is a reminder that not even death can conquer our hope.
Sometimes God can feel far away, silent, like a package we ordered but somehow got lost en route. Christopher Alt recalls how two empty tummies and a Persian poet reminds him that the gift of God’s presence can also be found in God’s absence.
I’m living in the time of cancel culture. I notice that the news about cancel culture often triggers my temper because of how outrageous it can be. Although anger can be righteous whenever the news about cancel culture triggers my temper, I immediately want to react with everything I have. I want to ostracise the thing that causes harm to me and society. Those things do not deserve to exist, and, by wiping them out, society will be better, at least that’s what I think.
At the beginning of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Andrew Milewski, S.J. reflects on how a language exchange turned into a place of encounter and friendship. In this place of encounter, he wrestles with how to pray and have solidarity with the diverse Asian-American community and his friends who are a part of that group.
With all that’s happened in the past year, going back to normal can’t be a return to the way things were. That’s because the way things were wasn’t good enough. Everything looks different. Everything is saturated with a familiar unknown, and nothing has its place just yet. I need to be alert, to note how this newness feels, to take advantage of the ensuing energy.
It took me some time to learn what God was trying to teach me through Sinesio, the man who, for over 25 years, kept the novitiate grounds a paradise, more heaven than Hollywood, with his care and hard work. But, God eventually got through as God has a way of doing. God will offer life lessons where we least expect them, and sometimes, when we least want them.
I stopped drinking during the last semester of my regency, a stage of Jesuit formation where we work in a Jesuit institution. My last binge led me to see how my story with alcohol was going to end. If I kept on drinking, I would have left the Jesuits and continued deteriorating. In this “moment of clarity,” I decided that I needed to stop drinking in order to live. Though I am writing this anonymously, my story is a truth I carry with me. I am a Jesuit, and I am an alcoholic.
In this Holy Week, I remember Jesus’s words on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” I ask for forgiveness, for the damage that I have caused unknowingly, and I forgive those who have damaged me with their words and actions. Join me as I reflect how an ancient Greek philosopher and a late-medieval Spanish Basque Priest guide me on using social media for the greater good.