–David J.W. Inczauskis, S.J.
Tonight I feel you seeking me:
From afar your breath
Caresses my cheek like
The cool touch of a hand.
Tonight you feel me seeking you:
Our souls meet on a bridge,
Hearts racing but slowly
Like the water passing below.
May your body follow
Where your soul has led:
Into the dark that frames
The moonlight you most dread.
My body has seen your soul:
Naked and white like David,
Shyly confident in beauty,
With eyes that cannot see.
I have heard your cry,
Only I, Only I.
I have heard your sigh,
Only I, Only I.
You will come to me
As I come to you.
Arise to your desires,
For my soul now inquires.
June 13, 2018
“If you don’t think you’re a hypocrite, then you’re wrong.”
–A good Franciscan confessor
(Hoffman’s Christ and the Rich Young Ruler)
When the Day of Judgment comes, I fear…
- That, for all the chapters of the Bible I’ve read and for all the prayers I’ve said, the Gospel will not have changed me at all;
- That the value of the books on my shelf will have equaled the yearly income of a poor family;
- That I will have lived a normal life;
- That I will have spent more time reading novels, watching movies, and listening to music than promoting social justice and working on behalf of the rights of the poor;
- That I will have written more pages on philosophy and literature than pages to my governmental representatives on behalf of the oppressed;
- That I will have failed to love because I had focused on ‘higher things’;
- That I will have been smart but not wise;
- That I will have been no different from the priest who failed to be the Good Samaritan to the wounded man in need;
- That I will have fallen on many swords for my ideology but will have fallen on no swords for the God of the poor;
- That I will not have become like the Christ.
Lord, pardon me. Lord, save me. Lord, change me…
…but may these fears torment me as long as I live.
–David Inczauskis, S.J.
“If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr, letter from Birmingham jail
A few months ago, I cried for the second time in my adult life. They were tears of compassion for the poor. They were tears of zeal for justice.
I was visiting some friends in Honduras. They were speaking to me in great detail about the horrible gang violence that plagues their neighborhood. Shootings are constant. Neighbors pay “dues” to gang members regularly so that they won’t be the next victims. The struggle seems endless. Everyone knows a victim.
After this sobering and painful description, a child turned to me and asked with twinkling black eyes, “And what is it like in Chicago?”
It was then that I began to cry.
I cried because of the innocence of the question. I cried because murderers kill people every day in Chicago.
The child’s tone suggested that, compared to Honduras, the United States is paradise. However, I know that the moral purity of the United States is largely a myth.
Yes, the murder rate in Chicago is not as high as the murder rate in San Pedro Sula, Honduras; yet, for many Chicagoans, the reality is the same.
As the child asked the question, my mind’s eye turned to this image:
I was there, and I thought of the hundreds of people, black and white, with whom I marched through East Garfield Park in Chicago on Good Friday, led by Cardinal Cupich and other religious leaders. We marched to honor the victims of gun violence. We marched in hope that a day will come when people put down their arms and begin to love each other again. We marched because Christ, too, suffered from hatred and violence at the hands of his oppressors.
When I was tearing up and my voice was trembling, I pulled out my phone and flipped to that image of the cross with hundreds of people marching and praying behind it. That image from the front page of the Chicago Tribune spoke more powerfully than I ever could. That image, for me, is Chicago–mourning and hopeful.
I don’t know what it is like to be black in Chicago. I don’t know what it is to suffer systematically from racism. And from the confines of my situation in Edgewater on the Northside, I don’t feel that my life is on the line daily.
I do know, nonetheless, that I shed tears of compassion for those slain in this city. I do know that I am disappointed in this city. I do know that I love this city.
I do know that I want violence and racism to come to an end.
May God raise up for Chicago a new generation of prophets, who will call Chicago to repentance. May God give Chicago political leaders with the wisdom of Solomon and the tender heart of David, who will enact real changes. May God bring Chicago together, strengthening the bonds of his Body, the Church.
May God give us hearts restless for justice. May we act personally and politically. May we have a sacrificial spirit and an authentic thirst for peace.
May Black History Month inspire us with the beautiful vision of the Promised Land witnessed by Moses, Jesus, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
–David Inczauskis, S.J.
Preaching on Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday
February 14, 2018
Every good pair of lovers has a secret. It is very intimate to share a secret with someone. It is very special to say something that will never be repeated again.
This Lent, we must to lock ourselves up in a quiet room and share our souls with God. We must tell him our secrets and pour out our hearts. Jesus says, “When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to God in secret.” It is beautiful to speak to God behind a closed door.
But we can’t stop with speaking to God. We must also listen in the silence. There is such wisdom in the nuns who claim that by marrying God they are marrying the silence. God courts human souls in silence. He does not need to entice us with smooth moves and quick talk. God needs only silence to make you fall in love with him. When he does use words, he often whispers softly into our ears what we can only hear if we pause a moment to quiet ourselves and listen.
Words are words, and they can be captivating and powerful. There is also action. When we want to say “I love you” to God, we should spend time with the poor. We will listen first. We will serve if they ask. To paraphrase Matthew 25, God is the poor. When we want to give God a bouquet of roses or a box of chocolates, we ought to give to the poor in the form of social justice and personal care.
Love is also sacrifice, and sacrifice entails suffering. We call a suffering sacrifice of love a fast. “Rend your hearts, not your garments,” says the prophet. Let us tear our hearts open so that God’s love can enter. This love will then burn within us but not consume us, as with Moses’ burning bush. We will walk into our hearts, but we must first take off our shoes: we will be stepping on holy ground. Let’s give to God the sacrifice of our hearts. Let’s do all things for the greater glory of God. That is enough of a sacrifice.
For the next forty days, I invite us to speak with God, give to God, and sacrifice for God. If we do, we will find that we, too, have faith in the words of the great Argentine poet Macedonio Fernandez: “I do not believe in the death of those who love, nor do I believe in the life of those who don’t love.”
David Inczauskis, S.J.
Madonna Della Strada Chapel
Loyola University Chicago
2018 looks to be a promising and exciting year. Here’s a little update on what is ahead for me.
- Master’s Studies in Spanish and Social Philosophy at Loyola University Chicago: I’ll have two classes in Spanish and two classes in Social Philosophy. The Spanish classes will be on Hispanic Women Writers and Linguistic Pedagogy. The social philosophy classes will be on epistemology and the dialogue between faith and reason.
- Writing for La Fragua, the Jesuit theater in Honduras, and Trips to Honduras: For the last few months, I’ve been working on a book about Central America’s Jesuit theater, called La Fragua. The company focuses on plays about Central American culture, politics, and religion. Its name “fragua” means “to forge”: the theater is seeking to “forge” a Honduran cultural identity amidst a world of increasing homogeny and globalization. To continue with this project, I will return to Honduras for one week in March and one month in July.
- Teaching religion at St. Procopius School in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood: This semester I’ll be gearing the 8th graders up for the Sacrament of Confirmation. We will look at faith in the context of their culture, their families, and their personal lives. We want the kids to be knowledgeable about their faith, and we also want the kids to know Jesus personally. I’m excited to see which saints will be their patrons!
- Interfaith ministry at a detention center for undocumented and unaccompanied children: This work continues to be both a delight and a challenge. It is a delight because I am grateful for the opportunity to be in solidarity with the undocumented and for the chance to “be a kid” with the children. It is a challenge because I know that many of the kids have suffered trauma during their journey into the U.S. and because our country does not welcome these little ones as we should.
- Chaplaincy for the Loyola Students for Life: Being pro-life is an essential part of who I am. I support the human right to life from conception to natural death, and I see this right as the most fundamental and most important right there is. It is a pleasure to accompany the undergraduate students at Loyola who feel as passionate as I do about this topic. I’ll be journeying to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., in January with the students and with several Jesuit brothers.
- Chaplaincy for the Loyola Men’s Soccer Team: Though the spring semester will not be as soccer-heavy as the fall semester, I will continue to accompany the players, the coaches, and the families. Student athletes work so hard, so I am privileged to have the change to work with them.
- Trip to Spain: I will be returning to Spain in May and June. I’ll begin with an eight day silent retreat at St. Ignatius’ hometown, Loyola, Spain. From there I will assist study abroad students from Loyola University Chicago who are taking summer courses at Loyola University in Córdoba, Spain.
These things are on the docket for 2018, but I am sure that God will thrown in some fun and challenging surprises. We propose our plans, but God disposes our plans!
Here are some pictures that go along with some of the events described above:
A picture with the La Fragua’s actors and staff
The 2018 Executive Board of Loyola Students for Life
Inside the famous Cordoba Mosque in Spain
David J.W. Inczauskis, S.J.
The Allure of the Unseen
“Show me your glory,”
Moses said to God,
and God showed Moses
a slender shoulder.
Having slipped a strap
down to the elbow,
God walked away with
Isaiah saw God
seated on a throne
in a bedchamber
behind a curtain.
God wore a bathrobe
of silk and velvet,
but soon the boudoir
filled with flames and smoke.
Peter, James, and John
climbed up a mountain
hidden far away
in nature’s silence.
There they shook in fear,
beholding the face
of the one, true God,
who shone like the sun.
It was ecstasy,
that of a virgin
in silv’ry moonlight
on her wedding night.
A voice from on high
ripping through the clouds
broke the blinding bliss:
“Never speak of it,”
said the Son of God,
“until I wake up
yours forever more.”
“…it exercised upon us the allure of what has never been seen…”
–André Breton, L’amour fou
David J.W. Inczauskis, S.J.