|Memorial of All Saints and Blessed
of the Society of Jesus
Psalms 69:30-31, 33-34, 36-37
God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. ...
The readings for this Monday of the Thirty-first Week of the Year help me reflect upon and give thanks for my Jesuit brothers in Glory, on this special day in our Jesuit tradition, when we celebrate all the saints and blessed of the Society of Jesus.
What I love to think about, when I reflect upon my brothers who are with the Lord in heaven, is that they shared a tradition, that came from St. Ignatius' pointing them to Jesus. I like to remember that the great, heroic, outstanding service they gave, pouring out their lives for others, all came from their contemplation of the life of Jesus. They all prayed, begged, pleaded with Jesus for the grace, throughout their lives, "To see you more clearly, to love you more intimately, that I might follow you more closely." They all had a sense that being "with" Jesus was the path to being "like" Jesus. Their lives, the missions they undertook, and the jobs they did were all carefully designed to place them where Jesus was placed, to place them with the people Jesus was placed with.
It helps me, as I face the busy day before me, to remember that their incredible "zeal for souls" was rooted in an active spirituality. Having found intimacy with their Lord contemplating his life, they could find their path back to that intimacy, not by returning to prayer over and over again, but by throwing themselves into service for and with others. They knew they had to be "mortified" - dying to self on so many levels - but the cost was small, compared to the consolations they found in being companions with Jesus and servants of his own mission from God.
I am inspired beyond words by those brothers of mine who did not hesitate to give their lives as martyr-witness to the Gospel, wherever it was unpopular, politically incorrect, or a direct challenge to the powerful. They knew that promoting a Gospel faith, in an unjust society, would cost them their lives, and they responded whole-heartedly. And, I am deeply moved to remember all of my brothers who gave of themselves in a day to day martyrdom, giving themselves to unseen heroic service for God's greater glory and the service of others.
I pray that this day of remembering all the Jesuit saints and blessed might be an occasion for all of us to move into our day with Jesus and for others. I pray that we might all find intimacy with Jesus there, no matter what we are doing. I pray that there might be some powerful public witnesses among us - who stand today along with Jesus, for and with the poor, the marginalized, and sinners. I pray for their faith and courage. And I pray for the quietly heroic among us, in war-torn areas, or those who are the materially poor of our cities, barrios and rural areas, or are the faithful single mothers, or the underpaid pastoral ministers, dedicated priests, religious, doctors, lawyers, postal workers, or who are retired or suffering with illness, old age, addiction, depression or mental illness.
And, may all of us today remember that "God's gifts and his call are irrevocable." And, inspired by this host of witnesses, may we all ask for the grace to be placed with Jesus, with and for others, especially the poor.
All the Saints and Blessed of
the Society of Jesus:
Brief information on a number
of Jesuit Saints, courtesy of U. of Detroit Mercy:
Site on the Martyrs of El Salvador
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook