Tom Mountenay of Independence, MO, USA
Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.” -Matthew 2:13-15
Two favorite teachers shared truths about me that I treasure. Mr. Jackson, my junior high industrial arts teacher nicknamed “Jackhammer,” could have sent me to the principal’s office many times. Instead, one day after class, he told me, “You are a better person than the way you behave.” Dr. David Freeman, professor of social work, once asked me a question in front of the class. Not knowing the answer, I said, “I don’t know; I guess I’m slow.” He said, “Tom, you are not slow-you ponder.” These two teachers revealed gifts of grace to me. I am still learning and pondering how to be a better person.
For the last two years, I have been intrigued by Ignatian spirituality. For some time, I felt stagnant. Ideas and insights that had inspired me in the past no longer motivated me to be a better person. Then I read the question, “What more does God want of me?”
The question we seek an answer for is “What more does God want of me?” More is…the aspiration to always grow in service for the greater glory of God. [This can be] described as the Jesuit “itch”-a restlessness in service, an ambition to maintain high standards of performance, a desire to conquer new frontiers. But it simply means more. We are loved by a God who loves without limit. We love him in return. What more can we do to love him? -David L. Fleming, What Is Ignatian Spirituality? Chicago: Loyola Press, 2008, 40
The love of God activates and affects our hearts, not just our minds. Ignatius understood that we can easily “unbind” or separate our thoughts, beliefs, and actions from the love of God. Our attentiveness to God increases our understanding and intellect, yet Ignatius addressed the response of the heart.
I hope I keep asking, “What more can we do to love God?” I want to be a better person and a better evangelist. My heart has been changed by God’s love and by those who love me. Every day I want to love God more and be God’s loving kindness. I am still learning.
Let your heart be broken for a world in need. -Bryan Jeffrey Leech, \xc2\xa9 1976 Fred Bock Music Company, Community of Christ Sings 353
Lament is an expression of our grief, sorrow, and sometimes confession to God amid the brokenness, injustice, and suffering of the human family. Lament is a major theme of the psalms and an invitation to “let our hearts be broken” as we humbly pray for awareness of right and restorative action. Spend time each day this month practicing the prayer of Lament.
Loving God, break my heart open to my own and others’ suffering because of injustice. Help me stay with what is real even when it is uncomfortable.
Forgiving God, grow in me an awareness of the ways that I consciously and unconsciously contribute to systems of violence, suffering, and injustice.
Healing God, open my eyes to invitations to relieve the physical and spiritual suffering of others.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.