- Spiritual Exercises (Spanish Autograph, trans. Elder Mullan, S.J.):  bis; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;  bis; .
Tuesday, July 04, 2017
(04 Jul 2017) Gn 19. 15-29; Ps 26; Mt 8. 23-27
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Opening Spiritual Directors Workshop, Guelph, ON
God Merges With Us
We’ll breathe an Ignatian atmosphere these dozen days shaped for you as a contemplative experience. Ignatian contemplation involves the real: my real; your real; it merges one’s real with the most Real, our triune God. That merging Ignatius welcomes rests in his two-word phrase: for me.1 Most of its 12 appearances in the Spanish Autograph of the Spiritual Exercises invite us to let God merge with us: the Most Real with my real experi-ences—all of them. In the merging we have a deeper felt-knowledge of God’s graciousness: we marvel that God works and labors for me in all things created on the face of the earth;2 the earth…has not opened to swallow me up, creating new Hells for me to suffer in…forever!3 The name of God’s merging with us is mercy.
Enter Abraham: a fine intercessor for us—all and each. I almost missed Abraham in the drama swirling about Lot and his family and the fiery destruction of cities and soil. From the place where he had stood in the Lord’s presence…[Abraham] looked down toward [what was left of] Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole region of the Plain. Was he silent? did he sigh a whisper? did he gasp? I do not know: what Abraham felt in his bones was mercy for him: God, your mercy [to me and Lot will ever be] before my eyes and accompany me.
Accepting mercy often challenges. After all, mercy is God merging with us. As the Spiritual Directors Workshop unfolds take advantage of its contemplative moments. Invite Abraham to your side and gaze with him; not on topography but on our lives as God reveals them to us. God may reveal a moment or a season; God desires to merge God’s life with your life. With Abraham at your side take heart that what God reveals to you is for you.
Two take-aways for us: 1) God is more active than are we during our workshop. Let our triune God work for you, for us. Receive God’s mercy: live it, breathe it, wake up in it. 2) Hold yourselves gently before our God. Jesus’ epithet for his disciples welcomed them to do the same. We hear the word epithet and may quickly think slurs: she hurled epithets. Epithet’s first meaning is a byname, a nickname that captures a quality of a person. In the gospel you of little faith is Jesus’ term of endear-ment for those he called. He called them as they were for full life. He calls us for the same. The ministry of giving exercises and helping people live from them over time is how we give ourselves so others may count on mercy, blossom in faith and enjoy lives that radiate each.
Image of St. Ignatius, dawn in Guelph, ON, by PDP