This School of Love
“…take my soul into your most sacred wound, so that in this school of love, I may learn to make a return of love to God, who has given me such wondrous proofs of his love.”
See previous weeks’ reflections under the various headings on the left side of the Dehonian Spirituality page or use the drop-down menu at the top of this page under “Dehonian Spirituality.”
July 18, 2014
Mary Magdalene knows neither fear nor hesitation. She is at the foot of the cross with the Blessed Virgin and St. John. Carrying the winding-sheet and the perfumes, she buries Jesus. The great Sabbath keeps her away from the sepulcher, but she returns to it as early as possible after the Sabbath. She seeks her crucified Jesus.
Mary Magdalene and the holy women are models for us in seeking Jesus. Let us always seek him; let us seek him everywhere. Let us seek him, not merely to enjoy his presence, to receive gratuitous and extraordinary graces from him, but let us seek him in order to understand his love, to imitate his example, to immolate ourselves with him. The angel said to the holy women, “Fear not, you seek Jesus crucified.” Neither have we anything more to fear. If we seek Jesus crucified we cannot deceive ourselves.
“Do not touch me,” says Jesus. He demands pure love, disinterested love. He wishes that we accept aridity, and that in seeking him we may learn how to do without the sweetness of his presence. Let us seek Jesus with the eager love of Mary Magdalene. We cannot always be near him in prayer. Let us learn, too, how to serve him in the person of his followers. Jesus said to Mary Magdalene, “Go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God’” [John 20:17].
Let us seek Jesus faithfully and let us nevermore abandon him, neither through fear nor discouragement; neither because of our past life, nor because of present temptations or persecutions.
Leo John Dehon, Spiritual Directory
In terms of spiritual growth, which is the goal of every human being and of those who are being reshaped by the Holy Spirit, I am often inspired by farmers, especially here in South Dakota. If the crop doesn’t grow, the farmer is concerned about what’s wrong. Experts study the crops in the fields and run tests. When a Christian stops growing, spiritual help is needed. One of the missionary activities is to grow spiritually in order to meet the spiritual needs of the people I serve.
Having been in religious life for 26 years, I still have to learn constantly about spiritual and pastoral aspects that in turn will broaden my perspective of thinking and develop my pastoral ministry in the future. Instead of letting my energy be absorbed by any activity around me, I let myself be enlightened by the Holy Spirit so that I will be able to see clearly what I have been doing in the mission field.
Reflecting on mission activities on the prairie, I come to realize that I am called to serve people with an open heart and mind. At the same time, I need to strengthen my inner spirit and keep my life on track. When trials come, there is no better way to endure them but by praying patiently and attentively in the presence of God. A simple prayer helps us, not only to deepen our spiritual life, but also to stay connected with God, other people, and other creatures around us.
To be aware of God’s presence is one of the few valuable efforts that cannot be neglected regarding spiritual growth. In my opinion, no one can stray from God and remain healthy. Through the celebration of the Eucharist and adoration of the Eucharist, our life is nourished and transformed into a better quality of life. In turn, community life becomes stronger and healthier. As a result, community life bears abundantly fruit that is revealed through our life and ministry.
Vincent Suparman, SCJ, ministers among Native Americans on the plains of South Dakota
Fr. Dehon recommends Mary Magdalene and the holy women as models for us in seeking Jesus everywhere even in places that feel like he is absent. What do Mary Magdalene and the holy women, on their way early in the morning to Jesus’ tomb, say to you?
Seeking Jesus faithfully and with the eager love of Mary Magdalene includes learning to serve Jesus in the person of his brothers and sisters. Whom is Jesus asking you to serve?
Making the effort to be aware of God’s presence is a means to grow spiritually. What helps you to stay attentive to God’s presence?
On July 22, the Church celebrates the memory of Mary Magdalene, whom Eastern Christian Churches name, “the apostle to the apostles.” In your kindness throughout the coming week, please remember in your prayer all who seek God and who, at some deep level, understand that God is seeking them.
The following prayer was written by Fr. Edwin Rombach, SCJ, a member of the German Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
you have called us.
The uneasiness we feel in our hearts
when we listen to your Word
is proof enough.
You know our weakness.
You know how easily we are discouraged.
You know how anxiously we take our steps.
Yet you have called us.
We rely on that.
Mold us if it is your will.
Use us and make us useful.
And let others be touched by your Word
and be called into your service.