April 1, Wednesday
Men and Women for Others
Ron Dufresne teaches at St. Joseph’s University, where his research focuses on vulnerability and authenticity in leadership. Vulnerability and authenticity would also seem to be key factors in the development of this week’s Jesuit/Ignatian value.
Sunday Readings - Week 6
A procedural note: our reflections and prayers will refer to the Sunday readings for the week, not the daily readings.
The World of the Active Verb
by Ron Dufresne, Ph.D.
I am struck by the active, ongoing nature of the Ignatian value of becoming men and women for others. On Palm Sunday, we read from Isaiah chapter 50 and Philippians chapter 2, both of which paint active, evolving pictures. The former tells of the challenge of waking up every day and serving others, despite the difficulties in doing so. The latter tells of the humbling of Jesus, who took the “form of a slave” and became obedient to the point of death on a cross.
This is the world of the active verb, of the “-ing.” Nothing here is static; everything is evolving and ongoing. We should think of becoming or developing men and women for others as an active process, an ongoing endeavor; not simply an end state. We are human beings, constantly becoming, serving, loving, and humbling ourselves.
This is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Instead, it is something we are all growing into, more today than yesterday. Isaiah wakens every day knowing he will struggle, yet he persists. So, too, we need to waken, day by day, and serve more today than we did yesterday, love more today than we did yesterday, become more humble today than we were yesterday. Through this struggle, we grow closer to who we want to become and we grow closer to those around us.
El mundo del verbo activo
Por: Ron Dufresne, PH.D.
Estoy impactado por la naturaleza activa y permanente del valor Ignaciano de devenir hombres y mujeres para los demás. El Domingo de Ramos leemos los capítulos Isaías 50 y Filipenses 2, los cuales pintan imágenes activas, evolucionando. La primera nos habla del desafío de despertarnos cada día y servir a los demás, a pesar de las dificultades que implica hacerlo. La segunda nos habla de la humildad de Jesús que tomó la “forma de esclavo” y obedeció hasta el extremo de la muerte en la cruz.
Este es el mundo del verbo activo, del “ndo.” Nada aquí es estático. Todo está evolucionando y caminando. Debemos pensar en devenir o convertirnos en hombres y mujeres para los demás, como un proceso activo, un esfuerzo permanente; no sólo una meta. Somos seres humanos, constantemente deviniendo, sirviendo, amando, humillándonos.
Esta no es una propuesta de todo o nada. En vez, es algo que todos vamos desarrollando hacia más hoy que ayer. Isaías despierta cada día sabiendo que tendrá que luchar, sin embargo persiste. Entonces, de la misma manera, nosotros debemos despertar cada día y servir hoy, más de lo que servimos ayer, amar hoy, más de lo que amamos ayer, ser hoy más humildes de lo que fuimos ayer. A través de esta lucha nos acercamos más a quien queremos ser y nos acercamos más a quienes tenemos a nuestro alrededor.
Ron Dufresne is an associate professor of management at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Ron earned a B.S. in engineering management at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and an M.S. in organization studies and his Ph.D. in organization studies from Boston College. He teaches leadership to undergraduate and graduate students; his research considers vulnerability and authenticity in leadership. Along with colleagues at Saint Joseph's, he has recently been exploring an Ignatian perspective on leadership.
awaken in us the patience to be incomplete,
to be in the process of becoming closer to you and to your
Help us to know that slow is real,
that gradual is divine
and keep gently asking for our participation in the work of
Give us ways to respond;
give us the energy to be actively engaged
in the lives around us
and the world you have given us.
Even more surprising than Jesus’ preferential option for the poor is God’s preferential option for the sinner. By choosing to walk with sinners before they ask for forgiveness, Jesus entirely rejects the notion of earning or meriting God’s love.
: Dean Brackley, SJ
If we do not know what the sorrow of penitence is, we have been living only on the surface of life — unmindful of its deep realities, unconscious of its grander glories.
: Frederic Dan Huntington
Mercy and forgiveness must be free and unmerited to the wrongdoer. If the wrongdoer has to do something to merit it, then it isn’t mercy, but forgiveness always comes at a cost to the one granting the forgiveness.
: Timothy Keller
Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.
: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Tutu Forgiveness Challenge
A New Life (Jim James)
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