Archive | July 2014

Saint Ignatius Said . . .

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“We will much sooner tire of receiving His gifts than he of giving them.” And again, “I have no doubts regarding that highest Goodness who is so eager to share His gifts, or of that everlasting love which makes Him more eager to give us our perfection than we to receive it.”  Most of us beg to differ as we mentally recount the requests we’ve made in prayer that all of Heaven apparently ignored. In fact, many fall away from faith because of needs  earnestly prayed for, but not received. Too often the next step is mock the very existence of a good God.

According to Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, which has led Christians into a fuller, more joyous faith since around 1523, our ingratitude is the usually the culprit. He encourages all to spend some time each day remembering and thanking God for the favors granted that day. As followers continue in that practice, they gradually become more aware of the numerous instances in each day that God blesses them with insight, good advice, random “luck,” propitious contacts, and favorable circumstances.  Slowly they begin to realize that the fault is not in God, but in busyness and self centeredness that prevents them from taking advantage of the graces He sends.

On this feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, let us take time to notice and thank God for His favors and graces. Then let’s make it a habit.

 

 

 

Jesuit Wins This Year’s Carl Sagan Medal

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The American Astronomical Society (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences announced that Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno has won the Carl Sagan Medal for outstanding communication about planetary science to the general public. Brother Consolmagno is an astronomer and meteorite expert at the Vatican Observatory. He also serves as their Coordinator for Public Relations. The AAS commended Brother Consolmagno for occupying a “unique position” among astronomers as a “credible spokesperson for scientific honesty within the context of religious belief.” 

Read more at The Integrated Catholic Life

You Can Change The World

Repeatedly I have been struck by what small things we do, whether good or bad, can change lives. Too many of us adults are still children on the inside who emotionally believe that if our mother didn’t see us do it, then we’ve gotten by with something. Or, even worse, think that we shouldn’t do something good, because it really doesn’t matter.

Of course, those are childish ideas that belie reality. The following true story from World War II shows how even a prisoner of war made a difference in the lives of generations of Americans. I have shamelessly stolen it from Fr. Z’s blog.

Sometimes, it’s not really just luck. Elmer Bendiner was a navigator in a B-17 during WW II. He tells this story of a World War II bombing run over Kassel , Germany , and the unexpected result of a direct hit on their gas tanks. “Our B-17, the Tondelayo, was barraged by flak from Nazi antiaircraft guns. That was not unusual, but on this particular occasion our gas tanks were hit.

Later, as I reflected on the miracle of a 20 millimeter shell piercing the fuel tank without touching off an explosion, our pilot, Bohn Fawkes, told me it was not quite that simple. “On the morning following the raid, Bohn had gone down to ask our crew chief for that shell as a souvenir of unbelievable luck.

The crew chief told Bohn that not just one shell but 11 had been found in the gas tanks. 11 unexploded shells where only one was sufficient to blast us out of the sky. It was as if the sea had been parted for us. A near-miracle, I thought.

Even after 35 years, so awesome an event leaves me shaken, especially after I heard the rest of the story from Bohn.

“He was told that the shells had been sent to the armorers to be defused. The armorers told him that Intelligence had picked them up. They could not say why at the time, but Bohn eventually sought out the answer. “Apparently when the armorers opened each of those shells, they found no explosive charge. They were as clean as a whistle and just as harmless.

Empty? Not all of them! One contained a carefully rolled piece of paper. On it was a scrawl in Czech. The Intelligence people scoured our base for a man who could read Czech. Eventually they found one to decipher the note. It set us marveling.

Translated, the note read: “This is all we can do for you now…”

Using Jewish slave labor is never a good idea.

Small gestures can have unforeseen, unknown consequences.  You might not learn of the effects of your invitations and small gestures until you are before the Lord in the General Judgment.

Imagine the joy of meeting up in heaven with those whose lives intertwined with yours even in a tangent, but efficacious, way.

This story is confirmed in Elmer Bendiner’s book, The Fall of Fortresses.