"Good Friday: day of the cross, day of suffering, day of hope, day of abandonment, day of victory, day of mourning, day of joy, day of endings, day of beginnings...
I closed my eyes and could see his sacred body...I saw the immense suffering of humanity during the centuries:
people killing each other;
people dying from starvation and epidemics;
people driven from their homes;
people sleeping on the streets of large cities;
people clinging to each other in desperation;
people flagellated, tortured, burned, mutilated;
people alone in locked flats, in prison dungeons, in labor camps;
people craving a gentle word, a friendly letter, a consoling embrace,
people...all crying out with an anguished voice,
'My God, my God, why have your forsaken us?'...
Then with my minds' eye I saw a large crowd of isolate, agonizing individuals walking away from the cross together, bound by the love they had seen with their own eyes and touched with their own lips. The cross of horror became the cross of hope, the tortured body became the body that gives new life; the gaping wound became the source of forgiveness, healing and reconciliation."
-Henri Nouwen, Show Me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings
Dear Community of the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center,
As we enter into the Triduum, take a moment in these days to rest, to pray & to try and see the world with Jesus' eyes.
During Holy Week I use Ignatian contemplation to pray with the Gospel stories of Jesus' suffering, death & resurrection. In this way of prayer, you use your imagination to place yourself in the midst of the Gospel story and witness what unfolds. Through our imagination, we are able to see and discover more of who Jesus is and who we are in Jesus' eyes. Jesus is always ready to deepen his relationship with us, he is always ready to show us something new.
This week Jesus seeks to share his life and death with us. Ultimately, he shares his resurrection, his unwavering love and his unfailing hope. What it is that Jesus is inviting you to see, hear and hold this week? For some ideas about ways to reflect and have some "holy calm" this week check out Ignatian Spirituality.com's article: How To Do Holy Week. This week, as we always are as as the community of the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center, let's imagine God's dream for the world and come to know, even more deeply, how we can make God's dream a reality.
Would you like to try Ignatian contemplation this week? Here are some resources:
The Ignatian Workout for Lent Retreat: Holy Week
Arts & Faith: Lent—Holy Thursday Imaginative Prayer Exercise
Arts & Faith Lent----Good Friday Imaginative Prayer Exercise
During the triduum, Jesus invites us into his life in an incredibly intimate and vulnerable way. We, like his apostles and disciples, are asked to walk with Jesus in his suffering and we will also be asked to walk with him in his resurrection.
In the midst of his suffering, in the midst of persecution -- Jesus invites us to accompany him. In our yes to accompany him, we become his disciples. The Gospel we hear proclaimed today, the washing of feet that happens in all of our communities today-- is about reclaiming, revealing and remembering who it is that Jesus charges all of us to be for his church in the world.
Holy Thursday is about the institution of a priesthood of all believers, where through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we may bear witness to Christ in all that we do.
Holy Thursday is about the institution of a pilgrimage that the Lord set before Aaron and Moses in the 1st reading from Ezekiel.
Holy Thursday is about the institution of what Dr. King calls, “the beloved community. “
Holy Thursday is about the institution of a way of being in the world that is rooted in mercy.
We are continually called back to Holy Thursday... We are called back to Jesus' decision to wash his disciples' feet. And in that action we discover again and again who Jesus calls us to be in the Church and in the world.
For full text of Natalie's homily: Click Here
Catholic Women Preach is an innovative project designed to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the Church today by responding to Pope Francis’ call for broader and more active engagement of the baptized in the preaching mission of the Church. This project is a deeply faithful, hopeful and joyful initiative intended to build up the Church.
Dear Community of the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center (ISLC),
During this Lenten season my intention has been to practice mindfulness. The ISLC's Tuesday Morning Mindfulness group provided inspiration for this journey. I find that carving out time to gather for our weekly communal prayer, meditation and sharing transforms my day. This Lent I committed to exploring different ways to practice mindfulness - to be aware of God's presence, aware of the communities I am part of and aware of my own mind and body.
So I took to the spiritual streets and asked everyone I could think of about their own mindfulness practices, I tried a practice of meditation with the San Francisco Sound Meditation Group and last week, I walked from home to the ISLC for the first time (a lovely 3.5 mile stroll through Golden Gate Park) as a way to witness nature, unplug and create an intention for the day ahead.
Interspersed in this season of mindfulness there were also (many) days where I thought I was too busy to be mindful, reminding me that mindfulness is not something that we succeed at or complete. Rather, mindfulness is a practice that is continually revealed to us through our daily lives, our community and our God. It is a way of being in the world where we cultivate and rediscover our interconnectedness, holiness and love.
With all that is unfolding in our world and country, a practice of mindfulness is a way for us to stay rooted in our relationship with God, to be more aware of our needs and desires, and to be able to witness the needs of our community with renewed eyes, ears and hearts. As we enter into Holy Week, the Easter Season & Springtime, I invite you to make a new commitment to a practice of mindfulness. Join us at the ISLC this month for Holy Yoga, Tuesday Morning Mindfulness and our monthly prayer for peace. To see all that's happening, Click Here for the full calendar.
As you discover and explore mindfulness comment on this blog post or send us a note to share about practices that are meaningful to you!
Peace & Prayers,
In an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit that was published on March 9, Pope Francis briefly discussed the Commission on the Women’s Diaconate. Although his remarks included some that challenge the role of women deacons, Francis also spoke about the task of theology today. “You must do research to get to the bottom of things, always. This also applies to the study of Scripture. The historical-critical method: What does this mean at that time? What does it mean today? Truth is not to be afraid. That tells us the historical truth, the scientific truth: Do not be afraid! That makes us free.” Following the instruction of Pope Francis, the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center is delving into the study of the Women’s Diaconate in our Book Series. We are reading Women Deacons: Past, Present, and Future. We welcome you to join us and communities around the world in reading and discussing the book!
Purchase a copy of the book Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future here.
Archbishop John Wester, leader of the Diocese of Santa Fe, N.M., has said that it is not a question of whether or not migrants are breaking the law, but if the law is breaking them.
This week the Tuesday Morning Mindfulness group prayed with a poem by Hafiz, entitled "The Seed Cracked Open." As we enter into the Lenten Season, may the spirit of Hafiz's insight and playfulness with God ground our prayer and action.
‘It used to be
That when I would wake in the morning
I could with confidence say,
”What am ‘I’ going to
That was before the seed
Now Hafiz is certain:
There are two of us housed
In this body,
Doing the shopping together in the market and
Tickling each other
While fixing the evening’s food.
Now when I awake
All the internal instruments play the same music:
”God, what love-mischief can ‘We’ do
For the world
Dear Community of the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center,
As we enter the Lenten Season, preparing to walk with Jesus in His suffering, death and resurrection, we pray that we might have the courage and vulnerability to grow in our relationship with God by experiencing Jesus' love for us and hearing Jesus' call to be His disciples. We can journey together this Lent in the ISLC's community reading of Mercy in the City: How to Feed the Hungary, Give Drink to the Thirsty, Visit the Imprisoned and Keep Your Day Job by Kerry Weber, managing editor at the Jesuit publication, America Magazine. The book documents one of Kerry's Lenten experiences where, instead of giving something up, she decides to do the corporal works of mercy.
Kerry inspires us this season to ask, "how do I let God work through me?" With a world and a country in crisis, we must make a commitment to ourselves, to our community and to God to stay grounded in God's love, to be contemplatives in action and to prophetically, fiercely and compassionately love the world.
This Lent, join us at the ISLC for a community reading of Mercy in the City, to pray for peace, experience Holy Yoga and continue to work with the Sanctuary Movement- all so that we can continue learning how to better love God and our neighbor.
See you soon at the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center!
Peace & Prayers,
Natalie Terry, Director of ISLC, had the pleasure of meeting the sisters of the Redwood Monastery four years ago when she made a retreat at their beautiful spot along the Lost Coast in California. She had a profound experience of God's love and mercy there and has looked for opportunities to collaborate with the Cistercian sisters ever since.
This year, the Sisters are generously offering a Lenten retreat to young adults at the ISLC. The day offers a guided introduction to Liturgy of the Hours, the Practice of Silence, and Lectio Divina. The day will also include light manual labor, silent contemplative prayer, sharing on Monastic Life, and talks with the Sisters. Click here for more information. If you know a young adult who could benefit from this experience, please pass the word.
We are grateful for the sisters bringing the monastery to the city for a day!
At the ISLC launch in January, we invited the community to participate in a new apostolic council structure made up of three Councils: Church Justice, Global Justice, and Spiritual Life. Many of you have signed up to participate to guide and invigorate the life and work of our community. Because of the sudden and sweeping work of the Sanctuary Movement at St. Agnes and ISLC, we have been slower than anticipated in taking the next steps. But rest assured, they are coming! We will be holding our first planning meetings in April and May. These meetings are crucial to getting the structure up and going for the Fall. We hope you will bear with us and keep your enthusiasm alive as we move forward. Stay tuned for specifics and In the meantime, join our Sanctuary work! We can use your fiery spirit and willing hands!