Tuesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Let us imagine a scenario: you are invited to speak at a secular university that is very hostile to religion. You have to face secular “zealot” professors who have mission to convert their students to have views more like them when they leave college. Moreover, you also have to face many skeptical students who are not taught about the truth and ideas that have shaped history and will shape our future. Can you imagine that? You may be prompted to respond like Jonah: “Forty days more and your university shall be destroyed.” Can you imagine the university community repenting like the people of Niniveh, who did repent after hearing the word of God?
God wanted to destroy the city of Nineveh not simply because they were immoral but also because they were impious in the first place. Immorality is always preceded by impiety. Immoral acts in our streets, schools, and universities happens because there is irreverence in our hearts. We live in a time of great turbulence where religion is under attack. Religious believers and their leaders, however, have made a major tactical mistake in discussing this issue under the rubric of “religious accommodation” or “freedom of religion”. The real concern is that the attack against religion is merely symptomatic and cannot be changed by the law. We ought to change the heart of the individual and only God is big enough to do what he did to the people of Niniveh.
Grace: An intimate knowledge of the many blessings received, that filled with gratitude for all, I may in all things love and serve the Divine Majesty.
Reflection: In the meditation upon sin, we made reference to Dante’s vision of hell, a cold, desolate place where the fire of love has been extinguished and all lies in a spiritual torpor. This is the perfect image of the heart grown cold to the stirrings of love which God places within it. At the opposite end of Dante’s journey lies a vision that perfectly encapsulates the final meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love. From the lowest reaches of the spiritual universe, Dante ascends to the heights of heaven, where he views “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.” At the heart of the universe lives the Trinitarian God, whose perfect love draws all being into an ordered symphony of praise. Dante feels himself drawn into this harmonic vision through the enflaming of his passions and desires. No one with eyes to see can sit impassively at the vision of God’s love. From the disordered state in which Dante had fallen at the beginning of the poem, he becomes progressively cleansed of his disordered affections through the grace of God and the intercession of Beatrice until finally he is able to pass through the heavens and stand in the presence of God. But notice that Dante only sees God’s depths after he has been interiorly transformed.