SELFLESS LOVE: Reflection on the Third Week and Laudato Si
GRACE: ID QUOD VOLO:
In this reflection, we beg for the grace to feel Christ’s passion so as we can better hear the cry of the earth and of the poor.
One of the most difficult meditations in my 30-day retreat at the Sacred Heart Novitiate is the Third Week of the Spiritual Exercises where we have to enter into the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ and to experience the depth of His sacrificial love. By accompanying Christ in His suffering, we reflect not merely on the physical pain He endured but also on the emotion, interior suffering of a person who is misunderstood, isolated, rejected, and alone. In so doing, we become more like the ONE we walk with to Calvary: becoming more loving, more faithful, more generous, and more compassionate. We become like the one we pray to in His manner of loving…
Christ’s infinite love is a total self-giving love.
Christ is asking us to learn how to see things according to this reality -- selfless love. The third week of the Exercises can be daunting and challenging at times because it calls the one doing the Exercises to see and do things differently. That is to die of oneself for others and to follow God. Most of the time, we resist opening our ears to Christ’s call because we are afraid of what we’ll hear. For example, we may not want to change something about our lifestyle.
Reflection Question: What is that something in me that hinders me to follow Christ’s self-giving love?
The most challenging encyclical of Pope Francis is the Laudato Si on our common home. It is challenging because just like the meditation of the Passion of Christ, it calls for radical change. In the encyclical, the Pope says, “our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.” He’s asking for a change in the way we see things and do things.
Our Pope seems to be recommending that we take the meditation of the Passion of Christ and extend it to a meditation on the pains of creation and the pains of the poor. We are to make their pain our own and then “discover what each of us can do about it.”
The encyclical cited many of the usual sources like the Bible and other writings from our great fathers in the Church. But one of my favorite quotes is when Pope Francis cited a ninth century mystical Muslim poet Ali- al-Khawas who stresses that “we not put too much distance between creatures of the world and the interior experience of God.”
“The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mount trail, in dewdrop, in a poor person’s face.” The Pope writes. This is the calling of the Passion of Christ that we hear “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor”
The message of Laudato Si is the Earth Crucified – God’s creation abandoned and only selfless Love can heal the wounds.
Reflection: How can we listen with a selfless love to what God is saying to us today through the environment and our neighbors living in poverty? (Pause for few seconds)
Prayer in Union With Creation
Father, we praise You with all Your creatures.
They came forth from Your all-powerful hand;
they are Yours, filled with Your presence and Your tender love.
Praise be to You!
Son of God, Jesus,
through You all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,
You became part of this earth,
and You gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today You are alive in every creature
in Your risen glory.
Praise be to You!
Holy Spirit, by Your light
You guide this world towards the Father’s love
and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
And You inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to You!
In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.