Memorial of Saint Andrew Dūng-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs
When I was a Jesuit novice, I went to Alaska for my novitiate experiment. One day, a Yupik Eskimo lady invited me to her home for dinner. She has a very small house but she shares it with her five adopted children. Out of her compassion she has adopted five Eskimo children from troubled families. Her generosity reminds me of the poor widow in the Luke’s Gospel who give out of her own poverty. Nevertheless, when I shared my experience to a friend of mine, he responded that we should treat the contribution of rich people and poor people as equal because there are many rich people who also have a good heart to love and to share out of their abundance.
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta believed that the present generation is more generous than their parents’ or grandparents’ generation. They are better prepared to sacrifice for the service of others. The present generations, especially the youth, are growing up in the middle class families with wealth and privilege, but they might not find happiness in their comfort and middle class status. Like the poor widow, they are willing to share out of their unhappiness. Perhaps we should ask ourselves, whether we are willing to share out of our unhappiness like those unhappy middle class.
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.