Daily Reflection
September 9th, 2003
Roc O'Connor, S.J.
Theology Department and Campus Ministry 
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
Memorial of St. Peter Claver, S.J. (in US only)
Colossians 2:6-15 
Psalm 145:1b-2, 8-9, 10-11
Luke 6:12-19

Today we celebrate the feast of Jesuit, St. Peter Claver.  Born in 1580 in Catalonia, Spain, he was influenced in his young Jesuit life by St. Alphonsus Rodriguez to go to the "Indies" to work on the missions.

He was sent to Cartagena (modern day Columbia) which was the center of the slave trade in the New World.  A thousand slaves landed there every month!  He served them by ministering to their physical as well as spiritual needs for over forty years.  He died in 1654.  I hope to honor this saint by trying not to explain him away.

See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy
according to the tradition of men,
according to the elemental powers of the world
and not according to Christ.

Peter Claver stands as a lamp to the paths we tread in the night.  Yet, it is a light that I'm not sure I want to be drawn to.  It would be so easy to excoriate our culture for the ease and delight that it promises, to chastise it for its own seductiveness.

But, when the light of Peter Claver shines out, not only our culture, but any words of denunciation I might utter seem hollow and empty.

His deeds make my words seem hollow because they reveal the fear of giving myself to the poor.  I am amazed and overthrown.

The Lord is compassionate to all his works.

When Peter contemplated the divine response to human misery in the Incarnation, in the Spiritual Exercises, he encountered a God who saw and acted.  He came to love the Response of God, the Word spoken into our world to the lowliest of the lowly.  He walked with Jesus and met a Savior who manifested compassion in a profound connection to outcasts and sinners.

I would simply like to ask for St. Peter Claver's intercession in my life that I find the wherewithal to love the poor in action and in deed, not in mere words.

What will you ask?

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