Igniting Our Values
Igniting Our Values

April 2, Holy Thursday

Men and Women for Others

As director of faith formation at St. Ignatius of Loyola parish in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, Susan Stuart brings years of family service to bear in today’s reflection. As we begin the Triduum, the final dramatic days of Lent, Susan reminds us that “the crosses we carry in our daily lives must be joined with the cross of Jesus Christ and the joy that is the resurrection.”

G. Gallice

Scripture Readings

Sunday Readings - Week 6

MK 11:1-10
IS 50:4-7
PHIL 2:6-11
MK 14:1-15:47



A procedural note: our reflections and prayers will refer to the Sunday readings for the week, not the daily readings.

Daily Reflection

Crosses to Carry
by Susan Stuart

On Palm Sunday, in parish churches around the world, voices from the past shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” We knew what was coming. We know the story, yet we listen again, seeking an inward space where we can imagine the Gospel from a new perspective. I chose the perspective of Simon, the passer-by who was “pressed into service” to carry Jesus’ cross. I asked myself, “What would it have been like to carry the cross of Jesus?” “Whose cross might I help carry?” “What men and women in my life, or on the margins, have a cross that must be lifted?”

As members of the Ignatian family, we strive to live up to the ideal of men and women for others. One way of answering that call is to visit people in hospitals and sit vigil at deathbeds. St. Francis of Assisi asks us to pray for peace through faith, hope, light and joy; to not seek consolation, understanding and love for ourselves, but to become those things for others. We encounter and embrace these challenges in hospital rooms, at the bedsides of loved ones, friends and strangers. We may struggle for words, but the squeeze of an outstretched hand conveys a loving presence and the compassionate heart of Jesus to others.

Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium calls us to “get involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; to bridge distances, and embrace human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others.”

One of our parishioners, Catherine Weicher Brunell, eloquently interweaves her hospital experience of laboring her second child into birth with the liturgy we celebrate each Sunday. “My body broke open, and my blood mixed with her water into an outpouring of life... Now when I receive the Eucharist, I remember the liturgy that happened in the midst of my life . . . It had meaning because I had something in which to frame it, a way to see it as sacred.”*

Men and women for others are called to reveal the sacredness of individual experience and frame it, as Catherine does, within the communal and universal consecration of the Eucharist. The crosses we carry in our daily lives must be joined with the cross of Jesus Christ and the joy that is the resurrection.

Hospital rooms and deathbeds are settings for intimate experiences with God and the cross we carry may be one of joy. This past summer, while visiting a niece after giving birth to her daughter, I bore witness to the sacredness of God’s love: a mother falling in love with her baby, completely and with abandon. God’s love overflowed through her, saying, “I am yours, and you are mine, till the end of time.”

Go to a hospital room, sit at someone’s deathbed, squeeze a hand, smile, and say those words of consolation, understanding and love. For me, that’s what it means to be men and women for others.

*Becoming Catholic Again, Connecting the Faith We Were Taught with the Faith that We Live; Catherine Weicher Brunell (Loyola Press 2012)

Llevando las cruces
Por: Susan Stuart

El Domingo de Ramos, en parroquias de Iglesias alrededor del mundo, voces del pasado gritaron, “¡Crucifícalo! ¡Crucifícalo! Sabíamos lo que venía. Conocemos la historia, y de todas maneras la escuchamos nuevamente, buscando un espacio interior donde imaginar el Evangelio desde una nueva perspectiva. Yo elijo la perspectiva de Simón, el transeúnte que fue “puesto al servicio” para ayudar a llevar la cruz de Jesús. Me pregunto, “¿Cómo habría sido llevar la cruz de Jesús?” “¿La cruz de quién, podría ayudar a llevar?” “¿Qué hombres y mujeres en mi vida, o en las márgenes, tienen una cruz que debe ser levantada?”

Como miembros de la familia Ignaciana, nos esforzamos por vivir el ideal de ser hombres y mujeres para los demás. Una manera de responder a ese llamado, es visitando a la gente en los hospitales, y sentarnos en vigilia junto a sus lechos de muerte. San Francisco de Asís nos pide que recemos por la paz a través de la fe, la esperanza, la luz y la alegría; sin buscar consuelo, comprensión y amor para nosotros mismos, sino que busquemos todo esto para los demás. Encontramos y abrazamos este desafío en las habitaciones de los hospitales, junto a la cama de nuestros seres queridos, amigos y extraños. Puede ser que nos falten las palabras, pero el hecho de estrechar una mano extendida, nos permite transmitir una presencia de amor y la compasión del corazón de Jesús a los demás.

El Evangelii Gaudium de Papa Francisco nos llama a “involucrarnos de palabra y de hecho, en la vida diaria de las personas; a acortar distancias, y a abrazar la vida humana, tocando la carne sufriente de Cristo en los demás.”

Una de nuestras parroquianas, Catherine Weicher Brunell, entreteje elocuentemente su experiencia de dar a luz a su segundo hijo, con la liturgia que celebramos cada Domingo. “Mi cuerpo se abrió, y mi sangre se mezcló con su agua en un derramamiento de vida…Ahora, cuando recibo la Eucaristía, recuerdo la liturgia que se suscitó en medio de mi vida…Tuvo sentido porque pude enmarcar el hecho, de una manera que me permitió verlo sagrado.”*

Los hombres y las mujeres para los demás, están llamados a revelar la santidad de sus experiencias individuales y enmarcarlas, como lo hace Catherine, dentro de la comunal y universal consagración de la Eucaristía. Las cruces que llevamos en nuestras vidas diarias deben unirse a la cruz de Cristo y a la alegría de la resurrección.

Las salas de hospital y los lechos de muerte son oportunidades de una experiencia íntima con Dios, y la cruz que llevamos puede ser una de alegría. El verano pasado, mientras visitaba a una sobrina que acababa de dar a luz a su hija, fui testigo de la santidad del amor de Dios: una madre enamorándose de su bebé, completamente y con abandono. El amor de Dios desbordado en ella diciendo, “Yo soy tuya y tú eres mía, hasta el fin de los tiempos.”

Vaya a una habitación de hospital, siéntese junto al lecho de muerte de alguien, apriete la mano, sonría y diga esas palabras de consuelo, de comprensión y de amor. Para mí, esto es lo que significa ser hombres y mujeres para los demás.

*Devenir Católico nuevamente, conectando la fe que nos enseñaron, con la fe que vivimos; Catherine Weicher Brunell (Loyola Press 2012)

Susan Stuart has been married to Michael for the past 31 years as they have raised four adult children, added two adult children by marriage and welcomed one grandson to the family so far. Susan and Michael call rural Storrs, Connecticut, home; they also have an apartment in urban Allston, Massachusetts, to be close to St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish. As director of faith formation, Susan serves the young families in the parish through liturgy, faith formation and pastoral care.



Brother Jesus,
you were broken on the cross amidst cries of hate,
looks of indifference
and friends filled with fear and terror.
Help us to be open to the suffering around us
in our communities and in our families.
Fill us with the Spirit you have left behind
so that the hand we hold is not just a stranger’s,
not just a sister’s,
but you here again,
suffering again,
and calling us to become love in the world.


They are assembled, astonished and disturbed
round him, who like a sage resolved his fate,
and now leaves those to whom he most belonged,
leaving and passing by them like a stranger.
The loneliness of old comes over him
which helped mature him for his deepest acts;
now will he once again walk through the olive grove,
and those who love him still will flee before his sight.

To this last supper he has summoned them,
and (like a shot that scatters birds from trees)
their hands draw back from reaching for the loaves
upon his word: they fly across to him;
they flutter, frightened, round the supper table
searching for an escape. But he is present
everywhere like an all-pervading twilight-hour.
: Rainer Maria Rilke

Accepting the reality of our sinfulness means accepting our authentic self. Judas could not face his shadow; Peter could. The latter befriended the impostor within; the former raged against him.
: Brennan Manning

Batter my heart, three-personed God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurped town to another due,
Labor to admit to you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lovéd fain
But am betrothed unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again;
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
: John Donne



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