March 3, Tuesday
Jesuit Brother Patrick Douglas — spiritual director, coach, resident hall chaplain and full-time Vocation Promoter for the Wisconsin Province — knows a thing or two about giving it your all. Pat says the key to finding and doing the Magis is putting God at the center of our choices.
Sunday Readings - Week 2
GN 22:1-2, 9A, 10-13, 15-18
A procedural note: our reflections and prayers will refer to the Sunday readings for the week, not the daily readings.
If God is for Us…
by Br. Pat Douglas, SJ
When people hear that I’m a Jesuit Brother, the frequent response is something like “Why would you just be a Brother?” or “Why not go all the way and become a priest?” Questions like these can hurt, but I am more often saddened by the misunderstanding of vocation that underlies them. It seems that to “go all the way” is to become a priest and anything other than priesthood is qualified by a “just” or an assumption that I have settled for something less.
However, the choice to give our hearts to God can never be a ”just” or a “settling for something less.” Like the Brothers’ vocation, the Magis is often misunderstood. A student recently told me he has incorporated the Magis into his college experience; he explained how it has helped him “to do more” and “strive to be more.” Yet, in all he said about the Magis, he failed to mention one thing, God.
If God isn’t at the center of our definition of the Magis, we become the focus of our actions. We fall victim to a warped notion of the spiritual life, as being about producing and doing more. The Magis is about making God the focus of all our decisions. It is about choosing the greater … for God. This can be challenging; I know I would much rather do more than reflect upon my decisions for God. I find safety in busyness, because I get to stay in control when I keep myself busy. It is when I stop being busy — when I stop doing more — that I am at my most vulnerable. It is here that I reveal my imperfect self to God.
Today, as we give our hearts to God, change the focus of our decisions, and reveal our imperfect selves, let us be strengthened by Paul’s encouraging words to the Romans, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Si Dios es para nosotros...
Por: Br. Pat Douglas, SJ
Cuando la gente escucha que soy un Hermano Jesuita, la reacción frecuente es algo como “¿Porqué querrías ser sólo un Hermano? o ¿Porqué no continuar hasta el final y ser ordenado sacerdote?” Este tipo de preguntas duele, pero más frecuentemente me entristece la falta de entendimiento que subyace en estas preguntas, con respecto a la vocación. Parece que “ir hasta el final” es ser ordenado sacerdote y cualquier otra opción que no sea el sacerdocio es calificado como “solamente” o asumir que “me he contentado con algo inferior.”
Sin embargo, la opción de dar nuestros corazones a Dios no puede ser nunca “solamente” o “contentarse con algo inferior.” Como la vocación de los Hermanos, también Magis es malentendido. Recientemente un estudiante me dijo que había incorporado Magis en sus estudios terciarios; me explicó como le había ayudado a “hacer más” y a “esforzarse por ser más.” Pero de todo lo que dijo a cerca de Magis, se olvidó de mencionar algo; Dios.
Si Dios no está en el centro de nuestra definición de Magis, nosotros pasamos a ser el foco de nuestras acciones. Nos convertimos en víctimas de una noción deformada de lo que es la vida espiritual, sólo produciendo y haciendo más. Magis es hacer de Dios el foco de todas nuestras decisiones. Es acerca de elegir lo supremo…por Dios. Esto puede ser desafiante; Sé que preferiría hacer más que reflexionar sobre mis decisiones por Dios. Encuentro seguridad en el estar ocupado, porque puedo estar en control de mi persona. Es cuando paro – cuando dejo de hacer más – que me siento muy vulnerable. Es aquí donde le revelo a Dios mi imperfección.
Hoy, al darle nuestros corazones a Dios, cambiando el foco de nuestras decisiones y revelando nuestra imperfección, fortalezcámonos con las palabras alentadoras de Pablo a los Romanos, “Si Dios está con nosotros, ¿quién estará contra nosotros?”
Brother Pat Douglas lives in Omaha, Nebraska, at Creighton University. He works as the vocation promoter for the Wisconsin Province and is a spiritual director, residence hall chaplain and assistant powerlifting coach at Creighton Prep.
who is more than we can ever comprehend,
help us to seek you,
and you alone.
Help us to stand before all that we could do
and seek what you would do,
and do that.
Lift from us our need to achieve all that we can be
surrender to what you can be in us.
Give us ways to refrain from the busyness
that will put us on edge and off center,
give us today your peace.
We were not strong, only aggressive; we were not free, merely licensed; we were not compassionate, we were polite; not good, but well-behaved. We courted death in order to call ourselves brave, and hid like thieves from life. We substituted good grammar for intellect; we switched habits to simulate maturity; we rearranged lies and called it truth, seeing in the new pattern of an old idea the Revelation and the Word.
: Toni Morrison
The all-powerful God goes outside of himself and enters into a relationship with a people of his choosing. He places his complete interest in his covenant with his people. Hence he is affected by the experiences, actions, and suffering of Israel. God takes humans seriously to the point that he suffers from human actions and can be injured through them. God’s wrath is nothing less than his wounded love and a pain that cuts to the heart. His wrath is therefore an expression of enduring care for humans.
: Jurgen Moltmann
She said God. He seems to be there
when I call on Him but calling
has been difficult too. Painful.
And as she quieted to find
another word, I was delivered
once more to my own long grappling
with that very angel here—still
here—at the base of the ancient
ladder of ascent, in foul dust
languishing yet at the very
bottom rung, letting go my grip
long before the blessing.
: Scott Cairns
There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “All right, then, have it your way.”
: C. S. Lewis
Higher Love (Winwood/Morrow)
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