As part of our keeping of the season of Lent, a member of the Georgetown Prep community will offer an Ignatian thought, reflection, and prayer each Sunday. These offerings are meant to encourage us to pray together over common themes and concerns.
Sunday, March 17 | Brendan Ryan '20
"What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What ought I do for Christ?"
- St. Ignatius of Loyola
Every year, when the Lenten season comes around, I think of the word “sacrifice." I think of the sacrificial resolutions we often make during this time. Perhaps no sugar, or no TV. I think of the sacrifices that those around me have made that have formed me into the person I am today. Sacrifices of time and effort, made out of love. But above all else, I think of the ultimate sacrifice, he sacrifice that we are reminded of every time we walk into church for Mass. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Whenever we make sacrifices we are honoring Jesus, and especially during Lent, we follow Jesus’ example on the cross by choosing to “pick up our own crosses." We show Jesus that we are willing to make our own sacrifices as a way to say thank you for his. In this Lenten season, as you ponder what you should give up or what your resolution should be, I ask that you not forget why we are called to make sacrifices in the first place. We do it to show Jesus how much his sacrifice on the cross means to us.
- Brendan Ryan '19
Lord, teach us to be generous,
Teach us to serve as you deserve,
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to seek for rest,
To labor and not to ask for reward,
Save that of know that I do your will.
In the First Week of the Spiritual Exercises Ignatius asks us to consider God’s love for us and how we respond in our everyday lives. In so many ways, the meditations and contemplations he offers echo one of the blessings we heard as we received ashes this past Wednesday: Believe the Good News, and repent! And what is this repentance? It is not beating ourselves up and feeling miserable for the six weeks of Lent so that God has to love us, but rather a re-thinking of our actions, our attitudes, our response to God’s love. The prayer Ignatius offers us is that we might let go of everything that keeps us from the relationship that God longs to share with us—our status as God’s daughters and sons in whom God delights.
Reading: Luke 4:1-13, Jesus is Tempted in the Desert
It’s funny, isn’t it? Jesus has just stood in line with all those sinners, waiting to be baptized by John. Imagine what the passers-by thought as they saw him there with the sinners: Hmmm… I wonder what he did?; Isn’t that Mary’s kid?; Oh, look at him! But Jesus stood there, waiting patiently to be baptized; he stood there with the sinners. And we know the end of that story: as he rises from the river, he hears a voice from the heavens: You are my beloved son! With you I am well pleased! It is with these words echoing in his ears that Jesus goes to the desert.
So what does the devil use on Jesus to tempt him? The very affirmation he just heard! Again and again the enemy tempts Jesus to prove his sonship with God, to prove that he is special, offering spectacular results in each case. But Jesus will not use that relationship. Rather, he places himself firmly under the law of God that holds true for the rest of us. He stands with us!
Often we think that in order to be with Jesus we have to become something extraordinary, something special. We forget that Jesus made himself ordinary so that we could be with him. He humbled himself for us to be with us in our humanity, from birth to death, in our very worst moments as well as our best (Phil 2:6-11). He stands with us humbly.
Humility is a peculiar virtue. It does not mean, as some think, diminishing oneself or belittling oneself, denying one’s talents or gifts. Rather it means being honest about oneself, about the strengths and weaknesses, the gifts and the flaws. The word has its roots in humus – earth. Humble people have their feet on the ground, knowing who they really are. Jesus shows us how to do that. If he can stand with us, we can stand with each other, believing the Good News of God’s love for us ordinary people, trusting God’s love as Jesus did, not for the sake of being spectacular but for the sake of being truly human, truly the image and likeness of God that we were created to be, truly God’s children.
- Fr. Van Dyke, S.J.
as we begin this Lent,
help us to trust your love
to believe it and to live out of it.
Help us to stand with our sisters and brothers,
especially those who are left unloved,
who have no one to stand with them.
We ask this in the name of Jesus
who became one of us,
who stands with us,
who calls us to stand with him.