Igniting Our Values
Igniting Our Values

March 16, Monday

Apostolic Availability

Mary Tracy, director of Contemplative Leaders in Action in Boston, notes that Apostolic Availability, for non-Jesuit Ignatians, is often less a question of geography than one of “listening.”

Scripture Readings

Sunday Readings - Week 4

2 CHR 36:14-16, 19-23
EPH 2:4-10
JN 3:14-21



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

Daily Reflection

Listening to God’s Messengers
by Mary S. Tracy

Apostolic availability conjures up in my mind images of Francis Xavier heading off to Asia, the North American martyrs evangelizing the Native Americans or Dean Brackley accepting the call to El Salvador. Apostolic availability doesn’t have anything to do with me: a married woman, mother and grandmother. Or does it?

In 1976, Pedro Arrupe, SJ, said, “The heart of our identity and what ought to define our existence as followers of Jesus, is ‘availability.’” For Jesuits, this involves openness to serving wherever God — and their Provincial — calls them. For me and for other lay colleagues of the Jesuits, availability is less likely a question of geography. Rather, it is responding with freedom and indifference to the myriad ways in which God calls us in the messiness of our everyday lives.

The challenge is how to recognize that call. Sunday’s readings remind us that God, with great love and compassion, sends messengers to guide us.

“Early and often did the Lord, the God of their fathers, send his messengers to them, for he had compassion on this people...”

Like the Israelites, I don’t always listen to God’s messengers: to the friend or co-worker who needs some of my “precious” time; to the homeless person I walk by every day; to the elderly neighbor or relative. Rather than being present, my mind is often racing to the next thing on my to-do list. How available I am to God and God’s messengers depends in large part on how often I stop and provide a silent space in which the Spirit can enter and I can listen.

Pope Francis sums up the goal of such listening:

“How beautiful it would be if each of you, every evening, could say: ‘Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of my friends, my parents, an older person!’ How beautiful!”

Escuchando a los Mensajeros de Dios
Por: Mary S. Tracy

La disponibilidad apostólica trae a mi mente imágenes de Francisco Javier yendo a Asia, de los mártires norteamericanos evangelizando a los indígenas, o de Dean Brackley aceptando el llamado a El Salvador. La disponibilidad apostólica no tiene nada que ver conmigo: una mujer casada, madre y abuela. ¿O sí, tiene que ver conmigo?

En 1976, Pedro Arrupe, SJ, dijo, “El corazón de nuestra identidad y lo que debe definir nuestra existencia como seguidores de Jesús, es la disponibilidad.” Para los Jesuitas, esto implica apertura a servir donde Dios — y sus provinciales — los llamen. Para mí y para otros colegas Jesuitas laicos, la disponibilidad no es tanto un interrogante geográfico, sino, responder con libertad e indiferencia a la miríada de maneras en que Dios nos llama, en el desorden de nuestras vidas diarias.

El desafío es, cómo reconocer ese llamado. Las lecturas del Domingo nos recuerdan que Dios, con gran amor y compasión, nos envía mensajeros para guiarnos.

“Temprano y seguido, el Señor, el Dios de sus padres, les envió sus mensajeros, porque tuvo compasión de esta gente…”

Como los Israelitas, no siempre escucho a los mensajeros de Dios: al amigo o compañero de trabajo que necesita un poco de mi “precioso” tiempo; a la persona sin hogar que veo todos los días al pasar; a mi vecino o familiar anciano. En vez de estar presente, mi mente está ocupada con la lista de cosas que tengo por hacer. Cuán disponible estoy para Dios y para los mensajeros de Dios, depende en gran parte de cuán seguido me permito parar y facilitar un espacio de silencio, en el cual el Espíritu pueda entrar y yo escuchar.

El Papa Francisco resume la meta de escuchar de este modo, diciendo lo siguiente:

“Qué hermoso sería, si cada uno de ustedes, cada noche, pudiese decir: ‘Hoy en la escuela, en casa, en el trabajo, guiado por Dios, ¡Fui una señal de amor para mis amigos, mis padres, un anciano!’ ¡Qué hermoso!”

Mary Tracy is director of Contemplative Leaders in Action (CLA), a program of the Jesuit Collaborative. CLA is a two-year faith formation and Ignatian leadership development program for young adults. A mother of three and grandmother of one, Mary is a graduate of Newton College of the Sacred Heart, Suffolk University Law School, and the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.



Always-present God,
help me to be present to all who need me.
Help me be present
to those I know too well to actually see
and to those who are unseen strangers to me.
Give me the ability to model your attentive, loving gaze
when I view my world,
my family
and my friends,
who are seen and loved by you first.
Finally, may my availability be marked by a desire
to be like your Son:
open to being sent,
open to being loved,
open to becoming love in the world.


She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.
: Toni Morrison

I feel wicked sleeping in a warm bed, while my dearest friends have been knocked down or have fallen into a gutter somewhere out in the cold night. I get frightened when I think of close friends who have now been delivered into the hands of the cruelest brutes that walk the earth.
: Anne Frank

The vicarious responsibility for things we have not done, this taking upon ourselves the consequences for things we are entirely innocent of, is the price we pay for the fact that we live our lives not by ourselves but among our fellow men, and that the faculty of action, which, after all, is the political faculty par excellence, can be actualized only as one of the many and manifold forces of human community.
: Hannah Arendt


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