This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Ann Patchett

Blending literature and memoir, Ann Patchett, author of State of  Wonder, Run, and Bel Canto, examines her deepest commitments—to writing, family, friends, dogs, books, and her husband—creating a resonant portrait of a life in This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage takes us into the very real world of Ann Patchett’s life. Stretching from her childhood to the present day, from a disastrous early marriage to a later happy one, it covers a multitude of topics, including relationships with family and friends, and charts the hard work and joy of writing, and the unexpected thrill of opening a bookstore.

As she shares stories of the people, places, ideals, and art to which she has remained indelibly committed, Ann Patchett brings into focus the large experiences and small moments that have shaped her as a daughter, wife, and writer.

 

How to Write Short, Roy Peter Clark

America’s most influential writing teacher offers an engaging and practical guide to effective short-form writing.

In HOW TO WRITE SHORT, Roy Peter Clark turns his attention to the art of painting a thousand pictures with just a few words. Short forms of writing have always existed-from ship logs and telegrams to prayers and haikus. But in this ever-changing Internet age, short-form writing has become an essential skill. Clark covers how to write effective and powerful titles, headlines, essays, sales pitches, Tweets, letters, and even self-descriptions for online dating services. With examples from the long tradition of short-form writing in Western culture, HOW TO WRITE SHORT guides writers to crafting brilliant prose, even in 140 characters.

Creating Capabilities, Martha C. Nussbaum

If a country’s Gross Domestic Product increases each year, but so does the percentage of its people deprived of basic education, health care, and other opportunities, is that country really making progress? If we rely on conventional economic indicators, can we ever grasp how the world’s billions of individuals are really managing?

 

In this powerful critique, Martha Nussbaum argues that our dominant theories of development have given us policies that ignore our most basic human needs for dignity and self-respect. For the past twenty-five years, Nussbaum has been working on an alternate model to assess human development: the Capabilities Approach. She and her colleagues begin with the simplest of questions: What is each person actually able to do and to be? What real opportunities are available to them?

 

The Capabilities Approach to human progress has until now been expounded only in specialized works.Creating Capabilities, however, affords anyone interested in issues of human development a wonderfully lucid account of the structure and practical implications of an alternate model. It demonstrates a path to justice for both humans and nonhumans, weighs its relevance against other philosophical stances, and reveals the value of its universal guidelines

even as it acknowledges cultural difference. In our era of unjustifiable inequity, Nussbaum shows how—by attending to the narratives of individuals and grasping the daily impact of policy—we can enable people everywhere to live full and creative lives.

Pope Francis’ Homily on the Feast of Saint Ignatius

*****

Click here!

In this Eucharist in which we celebrate our Father Ignatius of Loyola, in the light of the readings that we have heard, I would like to pose three simple thoughts guided by three expressions: placing Christ and the Church at the Center; allowing oneself to be conquered by Him to serve; to feel ashamed of our limits and sins, in order to be humble in front of Him and our brothers.

1. The coat of arms of us Jesuits is a monogram, the acronym of Iesus Hominum Salvator (IHS). Everyone of you can tell me: we know that very well! But this coat of arms continuously reminds us of a reality that we should never forget: the centrality of Christ for everyone of us and for the whole Society, which St. Ignatius wished that it be called of Jesus to indicate the point of reference. Of the rest, even in the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises, he places in first place our Lord Jesus Christ, our Creator and Savior (cfr. EE,6). And this places us Jesuits and the entire Society to be decentered, to have in front Christ always greater, the Deus semper maior, the intimior intimo meo, which continuously takes us out of ourselves, it takes us to a certain kenosis, to escape from our own love, wants and interests (EE, 189). We cannot take for granted the question made to us, to all of us: is Christ the center of my life? Do I truly place Christ at the center of my life? Because there is always the temptation to think of us as being in the center. And when a Jesuit places himself at the center and not Christ, he is mistaken. In the first Reading, Moses repeats with insistence to the people love the Lord, to walk in his ways because He is your life (cfr. Dt. 30, 16.20). Christ is our life! The centrality of Christ corresponds as well to the centrality of the Church: they are two flames that cannot be separated; I cannot follow if not in the Church and with the Church. It is also in this case that we Jesuits and the entire Society are not in the center, we are, so to speak, displaced, we are at the service of Christ and of the Church, the Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our Holy Mother Hierarchical Church (cfr EE, 353). To be men rooted and founded in the Church, that is how Jesus wants us. There cannot be parallel or isolated paths. Yes, paths of searching, creative paths, yes, this is important: going to the outskirts, the vast outskirts. For this creativity is needed, but always in community, in the Church, with this affiliation that gives all of us the courage to continue forward. Serve Christ and love this Church concretely, and serve with generosity and with a spirit of obedience.

2. What is the path to live this dual centrality? Let us look at the experience of St. Paul which is also the experience of St. Ignatius. The Apostle, in the Second Reading that we have listened to, he writes: I strive towards the perfection of Christ for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. (Phil.3,12). For Paul this occurred on the road to Damascus, for Ignatius, in his house in Loyola, but the fundamental point is the same: to let oneself be conquered by Christ. I search for Christ, I serve Jesus because He searched for me first, because I have been conquered by Him: and this is the heart of our experience. But He is first, always. In spanish there is a very graphic word that explains this well: El nos primerea. He is always first. When we arrive, he arrives first and waits for us. And it is here that I wish to recall the meditation on the Kingdom in the Second Week. Christ our Lord, Eternal King, calls each and every one of us saying he who wishes to come with me must work with me, because following me in suffering, will follow me also in glory (EE,95): To be conquered by Christ to offer to this King all ourselves and all our labor (cfr. EE, 96); to tell the Lord that you wish to do everything for his greater service and praise, to imitate Him in bearing even insults, rejection, poverty (cfr EE, 98). I think of our brother in Syria at this time. To let oneself be conquered by Christ means to always reach out to those in front of me, towards the other half of Christ (cfr. Phil. 3,14) e to ask yourself with truth and sincerity: What have I done for Christ? What do I do for Christ (cfr. Phil. 3,14) What should I do for Christ? (cfr. EE, 53)

3. And I come to the final point. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it….He who is ashamed of me…. (Lk. 9,23). And so on. The shame of the Jesuit. The invitation that Jesus makes is to not be ashamed of Him, but to follow him with total devotion, trusting and relying in Him. But looking at Jesus, as St. Ignatius teaches us in the First Week, above all looking at Christ crucified, we feel that very human and very noble feeling that is the shame of not being at that height; we look at the wisdom of Christ and our own ignorance, at his omnipotence and our own weakness, to his justice and our own iniquity, to his goodness and our wickedness (cfr. EE, 59). Ask for the grace of shame, shame that comes from the continuous discussion of mercy with Him; shame that makes us blush in front of Jesus Christ; shame that places us in tune with the heart of Christ who has made himself sin for me; shame that places in harmony our hearts in tears and accompanies us in the daily sequence of my Lord. And this takes us, individually and as a Society, towards humility, to live this great virtue. Humility that makes us aware every day that it is not us that constructs the Kingdom of God, but it is always the grace of the Lord that acts in us; humility that urges us to place all of ourselves not at the service of ourselves or our ideas, but to the service of Christ and to the Church, like earthen vessels, fragile, inadequate, insufficient, but in which there is an immense treasure that we carry and make known (2 Cor. 4,7)

It is always pleasing for me to think on the sunset of the Jesuit, when a Jesuit finishes his life, when the sun sets. There are two icons of this sunset of the Jesuit that comes to mind: one classic, that of Saint Francis Xavier, looking towards China. Art has always depicted many times this sunset, this ending of Xaver. Even in literature, in that beautiful piece by Pemán. In the end, with nothing, but in front of the Lord; this does well to me, to think of this. The other sunset, the other icon that comes to mind as an example, is that of Father Arrupo in the last discussion in the refugee camp, when he tells us – this is how he himself would say it – this I say as if it were my swan song: pray. Prayer, the union with Jesus. And, after saying that, he boarded his plane, and arrived to Rome with a stroke, which began that long and exemplary sunset. Two sunsets, two icons that will do us well to look at, and return to these two. And ask for the grace that our sunset will be like theres.

Dear brothers, let us turn to Our Lady. She who carried Christ in her womb and accompanied the first steps of the Church, may she help us to place Christ and his Church always at the center of our life and our ministry; She who was the first and the most perfect disciple of her Son, may help us to let ourselves be conquered by Christ to follow and serve Him in every situation. She who responded to the announcement of the Angel with the most profound humility: Behold the servant of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word. (Lk. 1,38), may she makes us taste the shame of our inadequateness in front of the treasure that has been entrusted to us, to live humbly in front of God. May the paternal intercession of Saint Ignatius and of all the Holy Jesuits accompany us on this path, may the continue to teach us to do all with humility, ad maiorem Dei gloriam.

[Translation by Junno Arocho Esteves]

Feast of St. Ignatius!

July 31, 2013

Blessed Feast Day of St. Ignatius! Thank you to all who were able to join us at Mass this morning. To read the complete text of Fr. Bur’s homily, click here.

If you were unable to join us, we hope that you will take a few minutes to reflect on the legacy left to us by Ignatius and the Society of Jesus.

 

 

 

To that end, our Companions on Mission initiative has created an online resource to help the Prep community better understand Ignatian Spirituality. The site is for all of us who live the Jesuit mission and allows you to learn more about:

  • the life of St. Ignatius
  • retreats
  • spirituality programs
  • suggested readings
  • prayer resources…and much, much more!

Jesuit Vocation eNewsletter – July 2013

July 31, 2013
St. Ignatius Loyola
Dear Friends of the Vocation Office: 
“The greatest consolation he [St. Ignatius] received at this time was from gazing at the sky and stars, and he did this often and for quite a long time. The result of all this was that he felt within himself a strong impulse to serve our Lord.”
The Autobiography, No. 11
Padre Luis Gonzalez de CȃmaraIgnatius and the poor
On the 31st of July the Society of Jesus celebrates the solemn feast of its founder — St. Ignatius Loyola. If there is one thing that stands out clearly from the life of Ignatius it is his personal relationship with Jesus. That bond with Jesus developed and was nurtured such that his commitment to serve became foundational for him and thus, his companions. Ignatius dedicated himself to service of Christ and His Church. Service from relationship and relationship from prayer — this dynamic embodies St. Ignatius.
On August 10th five men will commit themselves perpetually with vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Their relationship with Jesus has prompted each of them to serve Him and the Church as a Jesuit. The men have been tried and tested and have come to believe, and know that Christ calls them in the depths of their heart. As we celebrate the feast of our founder, let us pray for the novices that they mayfurther embody their commitment to Christ and the Church. Let us recall too, in that same spirit of relationship, that Jesus calls us to serve.
+Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam,
Frederico Signature

Fr. Charles A. Frederico, SJ

Tri-Province Vocation Director

Why do we serve?

When IVC volunteers serving in the greater Los Angeles area were asked why they joined IVC their answers were enlightening as well as inspiring. Here are some of their responses:

“I have been blessed with a beautiful family, a full life with good health. It is my time to give back a little of all that God has given me. I hope this begins to show how grateful I am for all my blessings from the Lord.”

“After going through Just Faith programs on social justice I became aware of all the injustices that keep the poor being poor. I wanted to do something to help. I go to the Catholic Worker twice a month to help feed the homeless but I wanted to do more. My wife and I discovered the Ignatian Volunteer Corps and now two days a week I am a school counselor and my wife is the school nurse at a Catholic school in L.A.”

“I was seeking ways to have a prayerful life after retirement.  I always had compassion for the less fortunate. I needed to get involved yet “with purpose”…I am trying to follow in the steps of Jesus. We are our brother’s keepers.”

“Why do I work for the poor?  It’s all I’ve ever done as an adult.  It’s who I am; it’s part of my Christian faith. It keeps me rooted; it reminds me of how Christ chose to be with the poor. Solidarity with the poor is the starting point of how I live my life. (These are all values that I don’t always live everyday but I aspire to).”

“IVC is an opportunity to give back for all the blessings given me and to give back where most needed – to the poor.  An opportunity for my life to have real meaning.  Belonging to IVC gives me great joy and the strength of a community of like souls as I strive to have a deeper relationship with God.”

Reading through all of the responses searching for a representative sample, my curiosity reached beyond the volunteers to the Regional Directors. Why do they serve the Ignatian Volunteer Corps?  This led to some soul searching and it was not until participating at an early morning liturgy on Pentecost Sunday that the light went on in my head. I realized that being a Regional Director of IVC meant being part of building up the Kingdom of God. While this may sound simple and obvious it has taken me nearly five years to come full circle back to this point.

IVC started out as a mission and grew into a job. The ministry I signed on for evolved into fundraising, clerical work and event planning. It kept me busy and focused but it did not feed my soul until I realized that all of the work whether it is phone calls, retreats, creating excel sheets (the bane of my existence!) or enjoying listening to and interacting with the volunteers or agency directors and clients, was part of leading others to God.  It was a moment inspired by the Spirit that I will use as a touchstone for the future.

Anne Hansen is Regional Director for IVC Los Angeles and has written a column for the Tidings newspaper for many years (nearly 20) – Family Time.  She co-authored Culture-Sensitive Ministry (Paulist Press, 2010) and offers workshops and retreats throughout the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Trees

Trees continually grow. When they stop growing,
they die. Like trees, we also grow, as long as we live. We do not increase in
height; we certainly do not put out additional appendages, such as arms or
legs, but even physically our bodies continually grow new cells that replace
old ones. But, as embodied spirits, our main area of growth is not physical,
but in our thoughts, values and motives and in the ways we fulfill our purpose
in life.

Most of us enjoy the presence of trees in all
their variety. They are not only pleasing to our eyes, but also connect us with
nature. We perceive more than the bark and branches, roots and leaves, and are
at times moved with appreciation for the gift of life even in a form so
apparently different from our own. We plant trees, and nurture them, but we do
not make them. Like trees, we too are not self-created. Though we are unique
individuals, we are communal and interdependent, which often brings us much joy
and pleasure, though at other times sadness and pain as well. Through our
interactions in all manner of relationships, we can recognize our own
connection with nature – human nature.

Though we appreciate the beauty of shrubs,
flowers and grasses, trees are easier to identify with as individuals. We can
see in them many qualities that we value highly. Trees remain steadfast in all
kinds of weather, favorable and unfavorable; they do not try to appear as any
other tree, but retain all their own characteristics whether they are in an
urban or country environment. We admire in trees some of what we respect in one
another: continually adapting to present circumstances, always reaching for the
light, no matter what the surroundings, and never ceasing to grow.

Though trees do not of themselves move from place to place as we do, yet we use the metaphor of “grow where you are planted” in praise of the human virtue of being one’s self in all the unchanging or unchangeable personal qualities that are ours, as well as within the circumstances of our environment. Trees are not considered “stubborn” for
being the kind that they are, nor are we, when we make decisions according to
the values that make us who we are. We adapt, we change, we learn through
experience, but the “tree rings” of our growth are manifested by the way we
take responsibility for all that we say and do.

We do not expect to live as long as oak trees or giant sequoias, but we hope to proceed to a mode of life in which we will at last be able to fully appreciate all of God’s creation, and relate in utter clarity with the very Person of God. For now, we can appreciate the gift we have, as our kind of creature, that enables us to look at trees with our eyes,
but move from physical sight to internal thoughts and uses of imagination that
characterize our ongoing human growth. Our roots are directly in God, while we
are yet part of this earth; our growth is not primarily towards the light of
the sun, but into the very person of God.

Trees turn out beautifully as long as they are
within the proper environment. Our beauty depends upon our freely chosen
response to God.

Father Randy Roche, SJ, Director of the
Center for Ignatian Spirituality, has an M.A. in Theology from Santa Clara
University, and an M.S. in Counseling from San Diego State. He has served as
LMU Director of Campus Ministry, Rector of the Jesuit Community at Jesuit High
School in Sacramento, Director of Studies and Spiritual Director at the Jesuit
Novitiate, and as Pastor, Superior, and Director of Diocesan Campus Ministry at
the Newman Center in Honolulu.

Throughout his years of ministry, he has
continuously deepened his own experience of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises,
while also acting as a guide in the Exercises for lay people and religious. Not
surprisingly, his specialty is Ignatian spirituality as a tool for discernment
in decision-making.

Ignatian News Network: Fr. Ciszek

Dear Campus Ministers,

Warm greetings from the Jesuit Conference! This week, we are pleased to unveil a short mini-documentary from the Ignatian News Network on Fr. Walter Ciszek, available
now on our Jesuit Vocation Promotion Month website at www.jesuit.org/ciszek.
The video showcases the Ignatian News Network’s extensive archival research on
Fr. Ciszek and features an interview with Jesuit Father Daniel Flaherty, Fr.
Ciszek’s co-author on his two autobiographies. A brief post on the video is
currently the lead story on our blog, National Jesuit News.

Please continue to watch for updates from the Conference as Jesuit Vocation Promotion Month progresses, and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

Kind regards,

Doris Yu

The 40th Anniversary National Conference

Greetings!

Just over two weeks ago, Pax Christi USA began the opening plenary of the 40th anniversary national conference. If you weren’t able to attend, I’ve compiled as many of the presentations, workshops, photos and other resources as I could, and created a special webpage with all of the highlights of the conference for you to check out. And if you were there, you can re-live some of the exciting moments or perhaps find that quote from one of the keynoters that you are trying desperately to remember! Once the conference was over, I asked presenters to send me any materials they had which they wanted to make available on the website, so much of that material is available on this special conference highlights webpage as well. You may want to check back in a few days in case any additional items come in also.

Click here to see all of the highlights and resources from the 40th anniversary national conference.

Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA, has also written and asked me to share a special message regarding the national conference. Here are the opening paragraphs:

Dear Companions on the Journey,

How does one begin to say “Thank you”? At times, words are inadequate in conveying the depth of gratitude one wants to communicate with these two simple words. Yes, it is from a full heart that this message of thanks comes to you.

Although we have not yet read through all of the evaluations, it appears that most participants were pleased with our 40th Anniversary Conference. Following the Conference, the National Council met with the PCUSA staff. There was an energetic spirit throughout our conversations as we looked at the critical issues pertinent to the growth and expansion of Pax Christi USA…

You can click here to read the entire letter from Sr. Patty.

In Peace,

Johnny Zokovitch

Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA