Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus tells his disciples, in the gospel, “beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues,… you will be hated by all because of my name.”

In the light of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, this idea can be put somewhat differently.  Imagine you can do a great service for someone that will be of immense help to that person’s soul, and imagine that there are two possible reactions to the same service.  In the first, your contribution will be acknowledged by many and widely appreciated, in such a way that admiration spreads for your deed and more people begin to include you in their undertakings.  In the second option, your same deed is misunderstood and censured, scorn and ridicule spreads against you, and people begin to exclude you from their undertakings.  Which reaction would you prefer?

St. Ignatius describes a very high degree of humility wherein the second reaction is preferred, but only if the divine majesty is equally served in either case.  That is to say, if God could be equally glorified in two ways, and the first involves your being loved and praised by many people, but the latter involves your being hated and blamed by the same people, then, if your love for God is very advanced, you will choose the second option, not because you enjoy suffering per se, but because suffering can bring you closer to Christ, who was, in his own time, hated, blamed, betrayed, etc.  May God’s grace, then, move us all to grow in our desire to imitate Jesus Christ, His only Son.

July 8th, 2016