Igniting Our Values
Igniting Our Values

March 4, Wednesday

The Magis

Lisa Reiter, Director of Campus Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, gets to the heart of the Abraham and Isaac story by connecting the Magis to fidelity, trust and availability.


Scripture Readings

Sunday Readings - Week 2

GN 22:1-2, 9A, 10-13, 15-18
ROM 8:31B-34
MK 9:2-10



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

Daily Reflection

A Horrible Test
by Lisa Reiter, Ph.D.

If we understand the Magis as seeking the more universal good, what does the Magis have to do with fidelity to God's will?

The Ignatian technique of imaginative prayer, which encourages us to enter the Scripture imaginatively and let the scene unfold, seems ready-made for last Sunday’s passage from Genesis. God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. How does the story "pray" if you imagine that you are Abraham, God's messenger, or Isaac?

I put myself in Abraham's role, feeling how his emotions must have flip-flopped. One moment he responds to God’s call; the next, God asks him to sacrifice his son. Abraham makes the decision to obey God’s commandment, but at the moment he is ready to slit the throat of his beloved son, God’s messenger intervenes and tells him that he has passed the test.

The test that God placed before Abraham — that he sacrifice his beloved son — meant he’d have to give up control of his own future. Yet Abraham's reply, "Here I am Lord," is one of trust and availability.

Abraham’s example challenges our own discernment to be open, available and to trust. Abraham's pathway was not clear. He was filled with anxiety, doubt, even fear. God gave him a horrible test and he accepted God’s command, in the hope that a greater good would come.

In seeking the Magis, what might we be asked to sacrifice? Or, using Ignatius’ understanding of disordered attachments, what attitudes, actions, objects or relationships might we need to let go of in order to see the more universal good?

When God calls, are we ready to freely respond, “Here I am, Lord?”

Una Prueba Terrible
Por: Lisa Reiter, Ph.D.

Si entendemos Magis como la búsqueda del bien universal, ¿Qué tiene que ver Magis con la fidelidad a la voluntad de Dios?

La técnica Ignaciana de oración imaginativa, la cual nos alienta a entrar en las Sagradas Escrituras imaginativamente y permite desplegar la escena, parece preparada para la lectura de Génesis del Domingo pasado. Dios le pide a Abraham que sacrifique a su hijo, Isaac. ¿Cómo “reza” la historia si usted imagina que es Abraham, el mensajero de Dios o Isaac?

Me pongo en el lugar de Abraham, sintiendo cómo sus emociones deben haber oscilado. Primero responde al llamado de Dios, después Dios le pide que sacrifique a su hijo. Abraham toma la decisión de obedecer el mandato de Dios, pero en el momento de tomar el cuchillo para sacrificar a su hijo, el ángel mensajero interviene y le dice que ha pasado la prueba.

La prueba a la que Dios sometió a Abraham — la de sacrificar a su hijo amado — significaba que debía renunciar a controlar su propio destino. De todas maneras, la respuesta de Abraham, “Aquí estoy, Señor,” fue una respuesta de confianza y disponibilidad.

El ejemplo de Abraham desafía nuestro propio discernimiento a ser abiertos, a estar disponibles y a confiar. El camino de Abraham no era claro. Tenía mucha ansiedad, dudas y miedo. Dios le dio una prueba terrible y el aceptó el mandato, con la esperanza de que devendría un bien mayor.

En la búsqueda de Magis, ¿Qué sacrificio nos podrían pedir? O, usando el conocimiento Ignaciano con respecto al apego desordenado, ¿Qué actitudes, acciones, cosas o relaciones deberíamos dejar de lado para enfocarnos en el bien universal?

Cuando Dios llama, ¿Estamos dispuestos a responder libremente “Aquí estoy, Señor?”

Dr. Lisa Reiter serves as the director of campus ministry at Loyola University Chicago, leading a team that invites and educates students in Ignatian spirituality. Lisa has been well-educated by the Jesuits, with degrees from Regis University and Saint Louis University. On her bucket list is to walk the Ignatian Camino in Spain.


God of our ancestors,
we trust in you,
even when the path forward is dark,
and our hands shake at what we are asked to do.
Help us to remember our initial assent
when we agreed to be on mission with you,
that moment when we had sufficient light
to choose you above all other things.
Calm us Lord,
in the midst of our life,
in the midst of what seems testing of our spirit before you.
Grant us the peace we need
to trust you deeply.


Even in our sleep
which cannot forget
falls drop by drop
upon the heart
and in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God.
: Aeschylus

Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure.
: William Saroyan


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