"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)

30-Day Lockdown Retreat Journey: Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy (DAY 12)

Annunciation by Giorgio Vasari II

Today is Day 12 of the 30-day whole community retreat journey in light of the lockdown.

Two Points Of Departure:
First point, is the article entitled “Disaster” written by Frederick Buechner and originally published in the book “Beyond Words.” Thanks to Fr. Jose Cecilio Magadia, SJ for sharing this timely write up for our retreat consideration.

 I quote:

“On the evening of the day the World Trade Center was destroyed by terrorists, a service was hastily improvised in one of the largest New York churches, where crowds of both believers and nonbelievers came together in search of whatever it is people search for at such times—some word of reassurance, some glimmer of hope.

"At times like these," the speaker said, "God is useless.”

When I first heard of it, it struck me as appalling, and then it struck me as very brave, and finally it struck me as true.

When horrors happen we can't use God to make them unhappen any more than we can use a flood of light to put out a fire or Psalm 23 to find our way home in the dark.

All we can do is to draw close to God and to each other as best we can, the way those stunned New Yorkers did, and to hope that, although God may well be useless when all hell breaks loose, there is nothing that happens, not even hell, where God is not present with us and for us.

Second point is from St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises. From this day on we will be supplied with these texts that serve as lampposts for our journey.

"I try to enter into the vision of God—the mystery of divinity shared by three Divine Persons—looking upon our world: men and women being born and being laid to rest, some getting married and others getting divorced, the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the happy and the sad, so many people aimless, despairing, hateful and killing, so many undernourished, sick, and dying, so many struggling with life and blind to any meaning.  With God, I can hear people laughing and crying, some shouting and screaming, some praying, others cursing." (Spiritual Exercises 106)

"When we are trying to follow the loving invitation of God in our life, we will find that the good spirit tends to give support, encouragement, and oftentimes even a certain delight in all our endeavors.  The evil spirit generally acts to bring about the opposite reaction... The evil spirit will subtly arouse a dissatisfaction with our own efforts, will raise up doubts and anxieties about God’s love or our own response, or will upset our conscience by suggesting thoughts of pride in our attempt to lead a good life." (Spiritual Exercises 329)

Grace To Beg For: To ask for what I desire... to deepen my faith and trust in God who has become human in Jesus.

Word Of God: (See full texts below from universalis.com) 

1. John 1:1-18 (John's Prologue)

(Using the listening with the heart's ears meditation type, slowly go through the text line by line and stop when a word or phrase speaks to you and stay there. Engage God or the three Divine Persons.)

2. Exodus 32:7-14 (“Why, O Lord, should your wrath blaze up against your own people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with such great power and with so strong a hand?”)

(Moses implored the Lord, his God, by making God remember His great deeds and promises E.g. He brought them out of the land of Egypt, the promise to His servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel–'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky...', and, lastly, the land promised for the descendants as their perpetual heritage. Make a listing in your meditation on how God has been faithful or not to you in terms of promises made. Apply also the same examination in terms of your promises to God?)

Questions and Considerations To Ponder: Below is a listing of the Church's set of spiritual and corporal works of mercy–seven for each set. What small and realistic ways are you being called by God to respond in the coming more days of the lockdown? Within your family? Community?

Seven Corporal Works of Mercy:
1. Feed the hungry
2. Give drink to the thirsty.
3. Clothe the naked.
4. Visit the imprisoned.
5. Shelter the homeless.
7. Bury the dead.

8th As you may know already there is an 8th work which Pope Francis included. It is both corporal and spiritual. Look for ways that you can show kindness to sister or mother earth.

Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy:
1. Correct those who need it.
3. Give counsel to those who need it.
4. Comfort the sorrowful.
5. Suffer wrongs patiently.
6. Forgive all injuries.
7. Pray for the living and the dead.

Prayer Requests:
You can email request for prayers for the dead (Name—RIPusing 8thworkermercy@bloggercom—there is a DOT between 8thworker and mercy. It is restricted so that only me as blog author can read it. Others will NOT be able to read any email; instead they will get a message stating that this is private. We will offer your intentions during our regular 6:30AM Masses in our community of Jesuit priests and novices.

P.S. Feel free also to include the names of all who are sick (Name—Get well soon).

Fr. JM Manzano, SJ

Exodus 32:7-14 ·

Relent in punishing your people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once to your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, for they have become depraved. They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them, making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it, sacrificing to it and crying out, ‘This is your God, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’ The Lord said to Moses, “I see how stiff-necked this people is. Let me alone, then, that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation.”

  But Moses implored the Lord, his God, saying, “Why, O Lord, should your wrath blaze up against your own people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with such great power and with so strong a hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent he brought them out, that he might kill them in the mountains and exterminate them from the face of the earth’? Let your blazing wrath die down; relent in punishing your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, and how you swore to them by your own self, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky; and all this land that I promised, I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.’“ So the Lord relented in the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people.

John 1:1–5, 9–14

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

In the beginning was the Word,
  and the Word was with God,
  and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
  and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
  and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
  and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone,
  was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
  and the world came to be through him,
  but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
  but his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him he gave
power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural
generation nor by human choice
nor by a man’s decision but of God.
And the Word became flesh
  and made his dwelling among us,
  and we saw his glory,
  the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.