Igniting Our Values
Igniting Our Values

February 22, Sunday

Finding God in All Things

Ignatius Loyola instructed the early Companions to go out and "find God in all things," which they did — in a most extraordinary fashion. By the year of their founder’s death, they had placed themselves on three continents and at the vanguard of Western culture. Today, Jesuits and Ignatian followers continue to find energy, motivation and inspiration in that same injunction: Find God in All Things.

As we begin our pilgrimage in earnest, let’s take a prayerful look at this most characteristic of Ignatian values: Finding God in All Things. Six members of the Ignatian family will focus our consideration by providing personal perspectives on this value, in light of the liturgical readings. Jesuit Michael Breault begins the discussion.

Scripture Readings

Sunday Readings - Week 1

GN 9:8-15
1 PT 3:18-22
MK 1:12-15

English
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022215.cfm

Español
http://www.usccb.org/bible/lecturas/022215.cfm

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

Daily Reflection

The Plan
by Michael Breault, SJ

Asked what it means to be “Ignatian,” I inevitably reference “Finding God in All Things.” For my money, it’s the defining characteristic of those who follow Ignatius. It’s certainly the value I hold most dear. It scares the blazes out of me, too, because it’s not just a descriptor, is it? It’s also — maybe primarily — a mandate.

Who isn’t haunted by the sheer un-equivocality of Matthew 25? (“However you treated the least of these...”) Finding God in All Things presents an entirely different challenge. Where Matthew 25 is about action (mine) and judgment (the Father’s), the Ignatian value is about opening myself to the entirety of Creation and recognizing God in its every detail.

G.M. Hopkins poeticizes this Ignatian value magnificently, but, truth be told, his dazzling technique and imagery can seduce the imperative right out of me. Sure, “the world is charged with the grandeur of God,” but how often do I leave it to Hopkins to carry the burden of being open? Do I search for God’s presence, not just in the homeless woman on the corner (back to Matthew 25 here) but in the entirety of Creation?

Am I open to finding God in the messy give-and-take of contemporary society? Do I seek God in science, technology and the digital world? Do I look for God in dialogue with other religions? With non-believers? Do I dispose myself to see the Creator in the gritty details of collaboration and consensus, frustration and failure? Do I honor the God who dwells in foreign things, in the Other? Do I recognize God in the richness of all cultural expression, in the variety and dignity of animal life, in the sovereign needs of the environment?

It’s Lent, again. Soon, the reassuring details of my everyday, urban landscape will morph into blasted desert and sparse shade; dust-choked roads and cold, starry nights; canyons, crags and gushing water. I will stumble after Jesus, carrying nothing but a promise: God’s promise of unending fidelity. A love-pact, pledged to Noah and embracing all of Creation; sealed with the curve of a bow and fulfilled by a roadside birth in a flyblown, occupied country, a very long time ago.

As I scrabble along, I’ll try to keep my eyes peeled for the God who dwells in every weedy turn of the road. At least, that’s the plan.

El Plan
Por: Michael Breault, SJ

Me preguntan qué significa ser “Ignaciano”, e inevitablemente hago referencia a “Encontrar a Dios en Todas las Cosas”. En mi opinión, ésta es la característica que define a aquellos que siguen a Ignacio. Es ciertamente el valor que más aprecio. Me asusta sobremanera, también, porque no es sólo un descriptor ¿o lo es? Es también – tal vez principalmente – un mandato.

¿Quién no es perseguido por la pura no-equivocidad de Mateo 25? (“todo lo que no hicieron por una de estas personas más humildes...”) Encontrar a Dios en todas las Cosas presenta un desafío totalmente diferente. Mientras Mateo 25 es acerca de la acción (mía) y juicio (del Padre) el valor Ignaciano es acerca de abrirme a toda la creación y reconocer a Dios en cada detalle.

G.M. Hopkins poetiza este valor Ignaciano magníficamente, pero, la verdad sea dicha, su técnica deslumbrante e imágenes pueden seducir el imperativo fuera de mí. Cierto, “el mundo está colmado de la grandeza de Dios,” ¿pero cuán a menudo dejo a Hopkins cargar con el peso de ser abierto? ¿Busco la presencia de Dios, no sólo en la pordiosera de la esquina (vuelta a Mateo 25) pero también en la totalidad de la creación?

¿Estoy abierto a encontrar a Dios en el desordenado dar y tomar de la sociedad contemporánea? ¿Busco a Dios en la ciencia, tecnología y el mundo digital? ¿Lo busco a Dios en el diálogo con otras religiones? ¿Con los no creyentes? ¿Me dispongo a ver al creador en los ásperos detalles de colaboración y consenso, frustración y fracaso? ¿Le hago honor al Dios que habita en las cosas foráneas, en los otros? ¿Reconozco a Dios en la riqueza de toda expresión cultural, en la variedad y dignidad de la vida animal, en lanecesidad soberana del medio ambiente?

Es Cuaresma, nuevamente. Pronto, los alentadores detalles cotidianos, el paisaje urbano, se transformarán en un desierto maldito de escasa sombra, caminos ahogados en polvo y noches frías, estrelladas; cañones, riscos y aguas a borbotones. Tropezaré como Jesús, llevando sólo una promesa: La promesa de Dios de la fidelidad eterna. El pacto de Amor, prometido a Noé y abrazando a toda la creación; sellado con la curva del arco iris y cumplido por el nacimiento al costado del camino, en un país contaminado, ocupado, muchísimo tiempo atrás.

Mientras trato de avanzar, trataré de mantener mis ojos descubiertos para el Dios que habita en cada curva cubierta de maleza del camino. Al menos, ése es el plan.


Jesuit Brother MICHAEL BREAULT is the Director of Vocation Promotion at the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. He was a producer and writer on the controversial ABC series NOTHING SACRED, hailed as “the best television series ever produced about the rich and often complicated lives of American Catholics.” Also: Loyola Productions, Circle in the Square Broadway, NY Theater Workshop, Manhattan Theater Club, Sundance Theater Institute. Awards: Peabody, Telly, Austin Critics Table, Dallas Drama Critics Circle, LA Film and TV Festival, Accolade, Ohio LIVE.

Prayer

God of the flyblown and the foreign,
give me the strength to surrender to you all my impatience
with imperfection,
all my harsh judgments of your world as unworthy,
and my hard heartedness that keeps me from falling in
love again and again with you my faithful maker.
Open me.
Open me to You.
Open me to Them.
Open me to all of it today.
Amen.

Passages


J.M.W. Turner

God is always and everywhere active in this world, intent on attaining God’s purpose in creation. Moreover, God desires a personal relationship with everyone. Thus, at every moment we human beings are in contact with God who is active in the world. Everyone encounters God; there is no escaping this encounter. Every human experience is, among other things, an experience of God.
: William A. Barry, SJ

Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which He looks with
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
: Teresa of Avila

God loves human beings. God loves the world. Not an ideal human, but human beings as they are; not an ideal world, but the real world. What we find repulsive in their opposition to God, what we shrink back from with pain and hostility, namely, real human beings, the real world, this is for God the ground of unfathomable love.
: Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Multimedia


Video
Final scene from CRASH (2004)

Music
Simple Song (Bernstein)

Playlist (Spotify users login, then click)
https://play.spotify.com/user/beajesuit/




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