Daily Reflection
July 31st, 2006

Eileen Wirth

Journalism Department
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Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Jeremiah 13:1-11
Deuteronomy 32:18-19, 20, 21
Matthew 13:31-35

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

This is the 450th anniversary of
St. Ignatius' death.

[Read about the Jubilee.]

I’m very moved by today’s familiar parable because this is the feast of St. Ignatius and it speaks so eloquently to our Ignatian mission, the reason places like Creighton exist.

I’ve been on an Ignatian pilgrimage of sorts for the past year, writing a book about the nation’s Jesuit high schools. This reflection is about how two people, St. Ignatius and a teacher in Kansas City, planted mustard seeds.

I’m picturing St. Ignatius when he went to Paris after his conversion and enrolled in Latin classes with children. He realized he had to get an education in order to follow God’s call. This was the essential first step, no matter how humiliating. But he did it. If he had never gone to Paris, he wouldn’t have met the friends who joined him in forming the tiny, unofficial Company of Jesus. Talk about mustard seed to mighty tree!!!!

Like St. Ignatius, we are called to build the kingdom by planting mustard seeds. During this past year, I’ve met dozens of unsung heroes at Jesuit schools who are laboring without fanfare to turn unruly adolescents into men and women who will change the world for the good. Will they succeed? They don’t know. They can only keep trying. Let an English teacher at Kansas City’s Rockhurst High School stand for these legions.

This teacher devotes most of his spring hours outside of class to coaching track because he believes it allows him to have an impact on the total lives of students. That’s why he teaches at Rockhurst but sometimes he wonders if he’s getting through to kids.

A couple of days earlier, he had had a long talk with a talented young track team member who was slacking and might never reach his potential in the sport or in life. The teacher had tried to wake up the student but the young man wasn’t very receptive.

Had the conversation accomplished anything? Who can know for many years to come? But the teacher knows that if he keeps planting mustard seeds, some will grow into magnificent trees, maybe even this one. Meanwhile, he will continue to follow his call just as St. Ignatius did.

We can’t be great like St. Ignatius but we can try to change the world one life/one mustard seed at a time like the Rockhurst High teacher. That’s my resolution for this feast and my hope for all of you.

Happy St. Ignatius Day!

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