Saturday, July 31, 2010



Prayer for Generosity

Dearest Lord,
teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight, and not to heed the wounds;
to labor, and not to seek rest;
to give of myself and not to ask for reward,
except the reward of knowing that I am doing your will.

Take, Lord

Take Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, understanding, my entire will and
all that I possess.
Thou hast given all to me.
To Thee, O Lord, I return it.
All is Thine; dispose of it wholly
according to Thy will.
Give me Thy love and Thy grace,
for this is sufficient for me.


Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, priest

Reading 1
Jer 26:11-16, 24

The priests and prophets said to the princes and to all the people,
"This man deserves death;
he has prophesied against this city,
as you have heard with your own ears."
Jeremiah gave this answer to the princes and all the people:
"It was the LORD who sent me to prophesy against this house and city
all that you have heard.
Now, therefore, reform your ways and your deeds;
listen to the voice of the LORD your God,
so that the LORD will repent of the evil with which he threatens you.
As for me, I am in your hands;
do with me what you think good and right.
But mark well: if you put me to death,
it is innocent blood you bring on yourselves,
on this city and its citizens.
For in truth it was the LORD who sent me to you,
to speak all these things for you to hear."

Thereupon the princes and all the people
said to the priests and the prophets,
"This man does not deserve death;
it is in the name of the LORD, our God, that he speaks to us."

So Ahikam, son of Shaphan, protected Jeremiah,
so that he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 69:15-16, 30-31, 33-34

R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

Rescue me out of the mire; may I not sink!
may I be rescued from my foes,
and from the watery depths.
Let not the flood-waters overwhelm me,
nor the abyss swallow me up,
nor the pit close its mouth over me.

R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.

R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

"See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not."

R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

Mt 14:1-12

Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus
and said to his servants, "This man is John the Baptist.
He has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him."

Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison
on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip,
for John had said to him,
"It is not lawful for you to have her."
Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people,
for they regarded him as a prophet.
But at a birthday celebration for Herod,
the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests
and delighted Herod so much
that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for.
Prompted by her mother, she said,
"Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist."
The king was distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests who were present,
he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison.
His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl,
who took it to her mother.
His disciples came and took away the corpse
and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.


July 31

St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)

The founder of the Jesuits was on his way to military fame and fortune when a cannon ball shattered his leg. Because there were no books of romance on hand during his convalescence, he whiled away the time reading a life of Christ and lives of the saints. His conscience was deeply touched, and a long, painful turning to Christ began. Having seen the Mother of God in a vision, he made a pilgrimage to her shrine at Montserrat (near Barcelona). He remained for almost a year at nearby Manresa, sometimes with the Dominicans, sometimes in a pauper’s hospice, often in a cave in the hills praying. After a period of great peace of mind, he went through a harrowing trial of scruples. There was no comfort in anything—prayer, fasting, sacraments, penance. At length, his peace of mind returned.

It was during this year of conversion that he began to write down material that later became his greatest work, the Spiritual Exercises.

He finally achieved his purpose of going to the Holy Land, but could not remain, as he planned, because of the hostility of the Turks. He spent the next 11 years in various European universities, studying with great difficulty, beginning almost as a child. Like many others, he fell victim twice to the suspicions of the time, and was twice jailed for brief periods.

In 1534, at the age of 43, he and six others (one of whom was St. Francis Xavier) vowed to live in poverty and chastity and to go to the Holy Land. If this became impossible, they vowed to offer themselves to the apostolic service of the pope. The latter became the only choice. Four years later Ignatius made the association permanent. The new Society of Jesus was approved by Paul III, and Ignatius was elected to serve as the first general.

When companions were sent on various missions by the pope, Ignatius remained in Rome, consolidating the new venture, but still finding time to found homes for orphans, catechumens and penitents. He founded the Roman College, intended to be the model of all other colleges of the Society.

Ignatius was a true mystic. He centered his spiritual life on the essential foundations of Christianity—the Trinity, Christ, the Eucharist. His spirituality is expressed in the Jesuit motto, ad majorem Dei gloriam—“for the greater glory of God.” In his concept, obedience was to be the prominent virtue, to assure the effectiveness and mobility of his men. All activity was to be guided by a true love of the Church and unconditional obedience to the Holy Father, for which reason all professed members took a fourth vow to go wherever the pope should send them for the salvation of souls.


O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94 (95)

Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.


Great God of boundless mercy, hear!
Thou Ruler of this earthly sphere;
In substance one, in Persons three,
Dread Trinity in Unity!
Do thou in love accept our lays
Of mingled penitence and praise;
And set our hearts from error free,
More fully to rejoice in thee.
Our reins and hearts in pity heal,
And with thy chastening fires anneal;
Gird thou our loins, each passion quell,
And every harmful lust expel.
Now as our anthems, upward borne,
Awake the silence of the morn,
Enrich us with thy gifts of grace,
From heaven, thy blissful dwelling place!
Hear thou our prayer, almighty King;
Hear thou our praises, while we sing,
Adoring with the heavenly host
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Childlike trust in God
Psalm 130 (131)

Whoever makes himself as humble as one of these little ones will be greater in the kingdom of heaven.

Lord, I do not puff myself up or stare about,
or walk among the great or seek wonders beyond me.
Truly calm and quiet I have made my spirit:
quiet as a weaned child in its mother’s arms –
like an infant is my soul.
Let Israel hope in the Lord, now and for all time.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Whoever makes himself as humble as one of these little ones will be greater in the kingdom of heaven.
Psalm 131 (132)

God's promise to the house of David

My God, in the simple honesty of my heart I have happily offered up everything.
Lord, remember David
and how he served you.
He swore to the Lord,
vowed a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“I will not go into my tent, my home,
nor go up to my bed of rest;
I will not let my eyes sleep
or my eyelids grow heavy
until I have found a place for the Lord,
a dwelling-place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
We heard that it was in Ephratha,
we found it in the plains of Jaar.
So let us go into his dwelling-place
and let us worship before his footstool.
Rise up, Lord, and come to your place of rest.
Come with the Ark of your power.
Let your priests be robed in your justice,
and let your chosen ones rejoice.
Remember what David did for you,
and do not turn your face from your Anointed.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

My God, in the simple honesty of my heart I have happily offered up everything.
Psalm 131 (132)

The Lord swore David a true oath: he has established his kingdom for ever.

The Lord swore David a true oath,
he will not go back on his word:
“The fruit of your body
I will place on your throne.
If your children keep my covenant and the commands I teach them,
their children’s children will occupy your throne for ever.”
For the Lord has chosen Zion,
taken it for his dwelling-place:
“Here will I take my rest for all time:
here will I live, such is my desire.
I will bless its crops with my blessing,
I will fill its poor with bread.
I will clothe its priests with righteousness.
Its chosen ones will exult with joy.
There will I plant the sign of David,
and prepare a lamp for my anointed one.
I will wrap his enemies in confusion,
but over his head my crown will shine.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The Lord swore David a true oath: he has established his kingdom for ever.
Come and see the works of the Lord,
– who has done wonders on the earth.

2 Corinthians 12:14-13:13

I am all prepared now to come to you for the third time, and I am not going to be a burden on you: it is you I want, not your possessions. Children are not expected to save up for their parents, but parents for children. I am perfectly willing to spend what I have, and to be expended, in the interests of your souls. Because I love you more, must I be loved the less?

All very well, you say: I personally put no pressure on you, but like the cunning fellow that I am, I took you in by a trick. So we exploited you, did we, through one of the men that I have sent to you? Well, Titus went at my urging, and I sent the brother that came with him. Can Titus have exploited you? You know that he and I have always been guided by the same spirit and trodden in the same tracks.

All this time you have been thinking that our defence is addressed to you, but it is before God that we, in Christ, are speaking; and it is all, my dear brothers, for your benefit. What I am afraid of is that when I come I may find you different from what I want you to be, and you may find that I am not as you would like me to be; and then there will be wrangling, jealousy, and tempers roused, intrigues and backbiting and gossip, obstinacies and disorder. I am afraid that on my next visit, my God may make me ashamed on your account and I shall be grieving over all those who sinned before and have still not repented of the impurities, fornication and debauchery they committed.

This will be the third time I have come to you. The evidence of three, or at least two, witnesses is necessary to sustain the charge. I gave warning when I was with you the second time and I give warning now, too, before I come, to those who sinned before and to any others, that when I come again, I shall have no mercy. You want proof, you say, that it is Christ speaking in me: you have known him not as a weakling, but as a power among you? Yes, but he was crucified through weakness, and still he lives now through the power of God. So then, we are weak, as he was, but we shall live with him, through the power of God, for your benefit.

Examine yourselves to make sure you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you acknowledge that Jesus Christ is really in you? If not, you have failed the test, but we, as I hope you will come to see, have not failed it. We pray to God that you will do nothing wrong: not that we want to appear as the ones who have been successful – we would rather that you did well even though we failed. We have no power to resist the truth; only to further it. We are only too glad to be weak provided you are strong. What we ask in our prayers is for you to be made perfect. That is why I am writing this from a distance, so that when I am with you I shall not need to be strict, with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for destroying.

In the meantime, brothers, we wish you happiness; try to grow perfect; help one another. Be united; live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Greet one another with the holy kiss. All the saints send you greetings.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.


Farewell, my brothers. Strive for perfection and live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.

May God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, keep your hearts and minds safe, in union with Christ Jesus. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

From the life of Saint Ignatius from his own words by Luis Gonzalez

Put inward experiences to the test to see if they come from God

Ignatius was passionately fond of reading worldly books of fiction and tales of knight-errantry. When he felt he was getting better, he asked for some of these books to pass the time. But no book of that sort could be found in the house; instead they gave him a life of Christ and a collection of the lives of saints written in Spanish.

By constantly reading these books he began to be attracted to what he found narrated there. Sometimes in the midst of his reading he would reflect on what he had read. Yet at other times he would dwell on many of the things which he had been accustomed to dwell on previously. But at this point our Lord came to his assistance, insuring that these thoughts were followed by others which arose from his current reading.

While reading the life of Christ our Lord or the lives of the saints, he would reflect and reason with himself: “What if I should do what Saint Francis or Saint Dominic did?” In this way he let his mind dwell on many thoughts; they lasted a while until other things took their place. Then those vain and worldly images would come into his mind and remain a long time. This sequence of thoughts persisted with him for a long time.

But there was a difference. When Ignatius reflected on worldly thoughts, he felt intense pleasure; but when he gave them up out of weariness, he felt dry and depressed. Yet when he thought of living the rigorous sort of life he knew the saints had lived, he not only experienced pleasure when he actually thought about it, but even after he dismissed these thoughts, he still experienced great joy. Yet he did not pay attention to this, nor did he appreciate it until one day, in a moment of insight, he began to marvel at the difference. Then he understood his experience: thoughts of one kind left him sad, the others full of joy. And this was the first time he applied a process of reasoning to his religious experience. Later on, when he began to formulate his spiritual exercises, he used this experience as an illustration to explain the doctrine he taught his disciples on the discernment of spirits.


Whoever preaches must preach God’s words; whoever serves must serve with the strength that God gives him, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

Above everything, love one another sincerely, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

Lord God, you raised up Saint Ignatius Loyola in your Church to give greater glory to your name.
Grant that, aided by his prayers, we may fight against all that is evil on earth, and with him receive the crown of victory in heaven.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.