Igniting Our Values
Igniting Our Values

February 19, Thursday

Are we who we say we are?

Jesus beckons us to follow him into Lent. His call is personal. Each of us is Peter and James, Martha and Mary, summoned to a new identity … disciple. In today’s reflection, immediately following the readings, Sister Donna Ciangio, OP, reminds us that true discipleship obliges us to follow Jesus down the road of advocacy and action.

Scripture Readings

DT 30:15-20
PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6



Daily Reflection

Choose Life!
by Donna L. Ciangio, OP

"Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live…" God speaks to us very clearly about choosing the right path, the path of justice and truth. Two things jump out at me in reflecting on this passage. One is the "Two Feet of Social Action" and the other is about the refugee children and mothers along our border this past summer.

This illustration of the Two Feet of Social Action shows that "choosing life" means that we do what we can through both charity and justice. In other words, putting our faith into action by doing good works and by stepping up to advocate to change structures and eliminate root causes of suffering or the lack of resources that people need to live.

The refugees were women and children flooding into border states, and dioceses and parishes were asked to assist the U.S. government in caring for them. Government systems were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers, and the remarkable thing was that poor parishes jumped right in to help. They were able to mobilize outside aid to provide funds for showers, meals and safe places to rest. One young mother broke down in tears and said that she was given her first hot meal and shower in a month and she praised God for the generosity and caring of the parishioners!

During this Lenten time, we are invited to "take up our cross daily and follow" Jesus. The cross that we are asked to carry is that of discipleship – being a disciple for Christ and changing the ways that block people from having the fullness of life. Like the two feet of Social Action, contemplation and action are the two feet of Ignatian spirituality. We are to be missionary disciples, as Pope Francis tells us in The Joy of the Gospel, who pray, reflect and respond to the needs of our time.

If we are in school, ministering in a parish, taking care of our family – wherever and however we are called — we must take time to understand the needs around us and take action. Our actions may not be big and they may not be global, but we are asked to take up the cross of discipleship and go to where we are needed!

This Lent, let us reaffirm our commitment to Jesus, choose life as a disciple and embrace the cross.

¡Elige la vida!
Por: Donna L. Ciangio, OP

"Elige la vida, para que tú y tus descendientes puedan vivir…" Dios nos habla muy claramente acerca de elegir el camino correcto, el camino de la justicia y la verdad. Dos cosas me sorprenden cuando reflexiono sobre esta lectura. Una es "Los dos pies de la Acción Social," y la otra es acerca de las madres y de los niños refugiados a lo largo de la frontera, el verano pasado.

Esta ilustración de Los dos pies de la Acción Social nos enseña que "Elegir la vida" significa hacer lo que podamos a través de la caridad y la justicia. En otras palabras, poner nuestra fe en acción haciendo obras de bien y dando pasos que defiendan cambios de estructuras y la eliminación de causas de sufrimiento o falta de recursos imprescindibles para la vida.

Los refugiados eran mujeres y niños inundando los estados de la frontera, y el gobierno de los Estados Unidos pidió ayuda a las diócesis y parroquias, para cuidar de ellos. Los sistemas de gobierno estaban abrumados por la cantidad de gente, y lo digno de destacar es que las parroquias más pobres fueron las primeras en ayudar. Fueron capaces de movilizar ayuda externa para proveer fondos para duchas, comidas y lugares seguros para descansar. Una madre joven rompió en llanto y dijo que ésta era su primera comida caliente y su primera ducha en un mes, y ¡alabó a Dios por la generosidad y los cuidados que le prodigaron los parroquianos!

Durante este tiempo de Cuaresma, estamos invitados a "tomar nuestra cruz diariamente y seguir a Jesús." La cruz que debemos llevar es la de ser discípulos – ser discípulos de Cristo y cambiar los caminos que bloquean a la gente, evitando la posibilidad de que tengan una vida plena. Como los dos pies de la Acción Social, contemplación y acción son los dos pies de la Espiritualidad Ignaciana. Debemos ser discípulos misioneros, como nos dice Papa Francisco en "La Alegría del Evangelio," que rezamos, reflexionamos y respondemos a las necesidades de nuestros tiempos.

Estando en la escuela, en la parroquia, cuidando de nuestra familia – donde y como sea que estamos llamados – debemos tomarnos el tiempo de entender las necesidades que nos circundan y actuar en consecuencia. Nuestras acciones pueden ser pequeñas y tal vez no tengan un alcance global, ¡pero estamos llamados a tomar nuestras cruces de ser discípulos e ir a donde nos necesiten!

En esta Cuaresma, reafirmemos nuestro compromiso con Jesús, elijamos la vida de discípulos y abracemos la cruz.

Sr. Donna Ciangio is a Dominican Sister of Caldwell, New Jersey, and holds a doctorate from Drew University. She is the director of Church Leadership Consultation and works internationally and nationally in consulting with parishes and dioceses. She served as the International Coordinator for Renew and the Director of Pastoral Services of the National Pastoral Life Center and as parish consultant for the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. Sister Donna serves as the Director of Faith Formation at St. Rose of Lima Church in Short Hills, New Jersey; is an adjunct faculty member in Drew University’s Doctor of Ministry program; and is a consultant for RCL Benziger Publishing Company.


God without borders,
help us to take a step closer to our brothers and sisters.
Wherever they originally are from,
we are all headed towards You,
help us travel this one road together.
Give us the ability to welcome and to serve as you would today,
even if our steps are local
let our hearts be filled with a love of the global.
Today, we choose you, we choose life,
we choose to be with others and to be for others,
thanking you for the chance to serve.


The road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.
: Robert Green Ingersoll

The distinctive feature of Christian action, therefore, is the following of Christ. This Jesus Christ is in person the living, archetypal embodiment of his case: embodiment of a new attitude to life and a new way of life. As a concrete, historical person, Jesus Christ possesses an impressiveness, audibility, and realizability, which is missing in an eternal idea, an abstract principle, a universal norm, a conceptual system. Jesus makes possible in the concrete a new basic orientation and basic attitude, new motivations, dispositions, projects, a new background of meaning and a new objective.
: Hans Kung

Faith without works is not faith at all, but a simple lack of obedience to God.
: Dietrich Bonhoeffer


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Learn more about Two Feet of Social Action

Please join the Jesuits for “Igniting our Values,” our Lent 2015 digital prayer experience beginning on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18, through Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015. Each evening, material for the following day’s prayer will be posted here. Participants who sign up will receive an evening email with the newly posted content.

"Igniting our Values" will bring us together again, as pilgrims, to follow Jesus through the Lenten desert to the healing waters of the Resurrection. 

While we journey, we will prayerfully consider the Gospel readings in light of our Ignatian identity. We will explore what it means to be companions of St. Ignatius — whether as Jesuits or Jesuit colleagues, partners in mission, students, alumni, family or friends. What, precisely, are the values and characteristics we think of as being uniquely "Ignatian" or "Jesuit?" How, in our many ministries and vocations, do we express, recognize and support those values?

Ignatian men and women from across the Jesuit spectrum will provide daily reflections (available in Spanish as well as English). Carefully selected music, video, art and poetry will enrich our prayer.

Questions about the program? Email the coordinator by clicking here.

Click here to download the announcement PDF for "Igniting Our Values".

Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

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