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


30-Day Lockdown Retreat Journey: "Thank You" (DAY 27)

UNLESS THE GRAIN OF WHEAT FALLS TO THE GROUND AND DIES, IT REMAINS JUST A GRAIN OF WHEAT; BUT IF IT DIES IT PRODUCES MUCH FRUIT. JOHN 12:24

Today is Day 27 of the whole community retreat in light of the lockdown.

Points Of Departure: 

First Point

Recently I got fascinated by this plant that we have here in Sacred Heart Novitiate. The Agave Ferox is a monocarpic plant, i.e., plants that flower, set seeds and then die. Other terms with the same meaning are hapaxanth and semelparous. I took a picture of a smaller plant species found at our facade driveway. I remember seeing similar looking plants when I was in the mission area in Bukidnon which are twice or thrice the size of the species we have in the novitiate. It looks scary, e.g., true to its name "ferox" or fierce, daunting, spirited, with very broad leaves (up to 35 cm wide) armed with needle-sharp apical spines (up to 8 cm). It is truly one of the most amazing species one can grow, ultimately reaching dimensions of at least 3 meters wide. When the plant matures it produces a very tall (up to 9 meters) candelabra-like spike, with bright yellow blooms that attract the birds in the sky and the bees. Being a monocarpic, this plant dies right after blooming but leaves behind offsets of a hundredfold. Come and see standing at the Agave Ferox "grave," a spike full of lush baby Agave nestled atop the dying mother. From evergreen it turns yellow and brown; finally it shrivels up like dried flower on a grave. My heart is moved...



I meditated on this image of a creature just like me.
I saw mirrored in the Agave plant the mystery of the Passion and the Resurrection.
To borrow King David's song, I am moved to give You praise, (cf. Ps 131)

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
 "The Agave Ferox Grave," by JM Manzano, SJ
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.

But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.

Thank you for the quiet bidding of a creature
The calm of nature holds the balm of nurture
Boy! The spike of flowers and seeds are both a thanksgiving
And a grieving at a grave, growing and groaning.

But on its branches spring numerous offspring
It knows life's truest joy is one life-giving giving
The Great Saint Basil said, "If these are the first fruits,
what will the full harvest be."

Second Point

Archbishop Thomas Murphy of Seattle was diagnosed with leukemia in May 1997. Before he died the following month on June 26, 1997 he shared an experience he had in Providence Hospital in Seattle, USA.

"My next door neighbor was a young 21-year-old man who had no faith tradition. He started with a growth on his lega rare form of cancer. He was told he would have maybe eighteen months to live. I arrived when he re-entered the hospital, and at that time he was told he had only two weeks to live. We became friends. He didn't know what an archbishop was, which made it easier perhaps. He told me when he saw all those priests in black coming into my room he thought, 'either you are very sick or very bad.' Talking to him one day, I asked him if he felt angry because he would probably have such a short life. He said, 'No, I've had a good life.' I was surprised by that. 'Do you have any regrets?' I asked. He said, 'Let me think about one.' And I remember coming back that night and he said, 'Let me tell you the answer to your question. Yes, I have regrets', he said. 'I regret that I didn't take time to say 'Thank you' enough." (He is my Brother The Bonding of a Priest and a Rabbi Over 25 Years: Fr. William Treary and Rabbi Raphael Levine, pp. 96-97).


Grace To Beg For: To ask for what I desire. To become aware that everything is grace because everything is God's gift. (St. Therese of Lisieux, "The Story of a Soul, An Autobiography.") I say to the giver of life 'Thank You'.

Word Of God: (See full text below)

1. Genesis 1:1—2:2 (God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.)


Other Easter Vigil Readings: Genesis 22:1–18, Exodus 14:15—15:1, Isaiah 54:5–14, Isaiah 55:1–11, Baruch 3:9–15, 32—4:4, Ezekiel 36:16–17a, 18–28, Romans 6:3–11

2. Romans 6:3–11 (Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more.)

3. Matthew 28:1–10 (He has been raised from the dead and is going before you to Galilee.)


Questions and Considerations To Ponder:

1. Mesiter Eckhart said, "If the only prayer you ever said was, 'Thank you' it would be enough." How often do we say thank you to each other?

Prayer Requests:

You can email request for prayers for the dead (Name—RIP) using 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 currently sick (Name—Get well soon).


Fr. JM Manzano, SJ



Genesis 1:1—2:2 ·

God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.
  Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” Thus evening came, and morning followed—the first day.
  Then God said, “Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters, to separate one body of water from the other.” And so it happened: God made the dome, and it separated the water above the dome from the water below it. God called the dome “the sky.” Evening came, and morning followed—the second day.
  Then God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered into a single basin, so that the dry land may appear.” And so it happened: the water under the sky was gathered into its basin, and the dry land appeared. God called the dry land “the earth,” and the basin of the water he called “the sea.” God saw how good it was. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed in it.” And so it happened: the earth brought forth every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed in it. God saw how good it was. Evening came, and morning followed—the third day.
  Then God said: “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, to separate day from night. Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years, and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky, to shed light upon the earth.” And so it happened: God made the two great lights, the greater one to govern the day, and the lesser one to govern the night; and he made the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky, to shed light upon the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw how good it was. Evening came, and morning followed—the fourth day.
  Then God said, “Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky.” And so it happened: God created the great sea monsters and all kinds of swimming creatures with which the water teems, and all kinds of winged birds. God saw how good it was, and God blessed them, saying, “Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas; and let the birds multiply on the earth.” Evening came, and morning followed—the fifth day.
  Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures: cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds.” And so it happened: God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle, and all kinds of creeping things of the earth. God saw how good it was.
  Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”
God created man in his image;
  in the image of God he created him;
  male and female he created them.
God blessed them, saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.” God also said: “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food.” And so it happened. God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day.

  Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.

Romans 6:3–11 ·

Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more.

Brothers and sisters: Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.
  For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin. For a dead person has been absolved from sin. If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 28:1–10

He has been raised from the dead and is going before you to Galilee.

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow. The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men. Then the angel said to the women in reply, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ Behold, I have told you.” Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Comments

BACK TO TOP