Daily Reflection
August 2nd, 2002
Andy Alexander, S.J.
University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Memorial of Blessed Peter Favre, S.J.
Jeremiah 26:1-9
Psalm 69:6, 8-10, 14
Matthew 13:54-58

Jesus said to them,
     "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house."
And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.

On the Jesuit calendar, we remember Peter Favre, S.J.  He is special to us for many reasons.  He was the first companion attracted to Ignatius of Loyola at the University of Paris.  He brought his roommate, Francis Xavier, to Ignatius.  Peter held a special place among the early companions who formed the Society of Jesus, because he had a spiritual depth and wisdom.  Ignatius later said that Peter directed others in the Spiritual Exercises better than anyone else.  Peter was sent to Germany at the height of the Reformation.  He saw the sad state of the Church and how that contributed to the hostility and confusion.  Instead of engaging in theological disputes, he spent his time giving retreats and helping people pray and finding intimacy with Jesus.  He was later sent to Spain, and finally was called to Rome to be the Pope's theologian at the Council of Trent.  Exhausted by his passionate ministry and travel, he died in Ignatius' arms, shortly after arriving in Rome.  Three great Jesuit saints credit Peter for their joining the Society of Jesus:  Alphonsus Rodriguez, Peter Canisius, and Francis Borgia.

I suspect that Peter Favre, and many holy followers of Jesus throughout the ages have experienced what Jesus experienced.  Sometimes familiarity breeds, at the very least, a kind of complacency.  We often take those closest to us "for granted."  Too often, if we have been a "cradle Christian," especially if we have grown up in a culture where we have not had to "pay a price" for believing, our faith can become a matter of "routine."

I wonder if our cool, comfortable, "go to church on Sunday" faith makes it difficult or impossible for Jesus to "work mighty deeds" among us?  I wonder if we just don't expect anything "transcendent" to be part of our day-to-day experience, that what we experience every day is what we expect. 

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were given the grace to see our homes as "holy ground"?  What a change in our whole perspective, if we could imagine that every person in my family, that I work with, in this entire world was "sacred"!  How incredibly different our world would be if we could see in every task, meeting, obligation, challenge, handicap, distraction in our lives a potential moment for Jesus to be present with "power" and grace!

It would be great if today we let ourselves have a fresh, new, discovering relationship with Jesus.  As I jump in the shower, get dressed and start zooming into my day, I want to open my eyes to the people and events of my day.  I want to heighten my sensitivity, my expectation for the sacred moments in the midst of ordinary routine.  I want to pay special attention to boredom, sadness, restlessness, and find there great "doorways" to encounter, dialogue, an embrace with Jesus.  I want to give thanks tonight for the "mighty deeds" Jesus was able to work in my day.

"It is necessary that one who desires to be serviceable to heretics of this present age should hold them in great affection and love them very truly, putting out of his heart all thoughts and feelings that tend to their discredit. The next thing he must do is to win their good will and love by friendly intercourse and converse on matters about which there is no difference between us, taking care to avoid all controversial subjects that lead to bickering and mutual recrimination. The things that unite us ought to be the first ground of our approach, not the things that keep us apart."

"With great devotion and new depth of feeling, I also hoped and begged for this, that it be finally given to me to be the servant and minister of Christ the consoler, the minister of Christ the redeemer, the minister of Christ the healer, the liberator, the enricher, the strengthener." 

From the Memoriale written by Blessed Peter Favre, S.J.
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