Archives For September 2014

Poem III: Death Bells

September 27, 2014 — Leave a comment

Death Bells

“…et audivi vocem magnam in caelo dicentem nunc facta est salus et virtus et regnum Dei nostri et potestas Christi eius quia proiectus est accusator fratrum nostrorum qui accusabat illos ante conspectum Dei nostri die ac nocte…”

*

Friend, can you hear

The death bells ring?

They slowly swing

With sound so clear.

*

Son, do you see

The marching feet,

The tomb they greet,

So joyfully?

*

We celebrate

A battle won

By God’s own Son

Against hell’s gate,

*

So put to rest

The things of Sin–

Who sleeps within–

And join the fest.

*
by

David JW Inczauskis, nSJ

September 26, 2014

Poem II: The Eternal Sun

September 25, 2014 — Leave a comment

The Eternal Sun

“…in quibus visitabit nos oriens ex alto..”

(Salamanca, Spain)

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Tear down the statues!

Break open the gates!

Trample the vineyards!

Go quickly; make haste!

*

Set fire to the woods!

Leave nothing in tact!

Take not the horses!

He rides on an ass!

*

The life that you know,

It passes away.

Prepare yourself now

Before the daybreak.

*

Beholding the dawn

Sweet tears will unleash.

Comes now a morning

That never will cease!

*

by

David JW Inczauskis, nSJ

September 24, 2014

Divine Mercy: My First Sermon as a Jesuit

Tomorrow, I’ll give my first homiletic reflection (sermon) as a Jesuit. What’s a more proper topic than Divine Mercy?! The context is Luke 15:3-7, the Parable of the Lost Sheep.

When the Jesuit reporter Antonio Spadaro asked Pope Francis the simple question, “Who are you? Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?”, the Pope responded, “I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.” Though He is the Vicar of Christ, the most “powerful” man in the Holy Mother Church, Francis identifies himself with the lost sheep that Jesus chases, with the sinner who receives God’s immeasurable mercy. In this spirit today I’d like to share two short comments and one brief exhortation that illustrate the length to which Jesus goes to offer us redemptive mercy and the call we have received to grant that mercy to others.

Jesus is a Shepherd of sheep, yet he is a sheep himself, the Lamb of God. We cannot separate these two roles of Our Lord. In the gospel parable Christ brings the lost sheep back to a celebration of neighbors, perhaps a great feast of thanksgiving. Is not this feast the Supper of the Lamb, the celebration of the Eucharist? And what is the Eucharist if not a ceremony of the Lamb’s Blood shed on the cross, poured out for sinners? When we approach the Body and Blood of Jesus in our daily celebrations here, we come both as sinners upon whom Christ has shown mercy and as triumphant soldiers in the Army of the Lord who glory in the victory of the Cross.

But now, the mass does come to an end. This banquet is only a foretaste of the everlasting wedding supper to come. While we remain on earth, there is work to be done for the sake of the gospel. Is this task any different from that of the pastor of Luke’s parable? We, strengthened by the mercy of Christ ourselves, set the world on fire by showing that mercy to sinners. One considers the witness of the late Cardinal Bernardin, who, amidst the false accusations of sexual abuse, agreed to meet with the man who brought forth these charges. This man was dying of HIV/AIDS. He had left the Church. After this man, a certain Stephen, consented to an encounter with Bernardin, Stephen asked for full reconciliation with the Catholic community and God. Bernardin said mass for his accuser and offered him forgiveness, reminding us of the words of Jesus on the cross: “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” In the midst of even the greatest forms of agony and backstabbing, we Catholics must commit to be instruments of God’s offer of peace to sinners.

What might we, Jesuit novices, have to learn from these things? Everything! As God despises the sins of his creatures yet loves them nonetheless, we must despise the sins of our fellow creatures yet grant mercy to them nonetheless! Who hates you? Who has wandered from you? Who makes you upset? Love them as Christ would. Who have you offended? Who do you hate? Whose attitudes and actions make you cringe? Be reconciled with these people in the spirit of Christ! We constantly receive the mercy of Christ, for we have sinned, yet we share the mercy of Christ because we are His imitators.

Let me close with a brief prayer taken from the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It captures the essence of this Lucan parable: “Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself. Amen.”

Thanks for reading,

David JW Inczauskis, nSJ

Jesuit Update: One Month after Entrance

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One month after Entrance Day, life with the Jesuits couldn’t be more rewarding. My fellow first-year novices and I have recently been “missioned” to the “Teaching Experiment,” which consists of about 10 weeks of instruction at educational institutions across the Twin Cities. My superior has sent me specifically to Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis (http://www.cristoreytc.org/), where I will be assistant teaching in Spanish classrooms, working with the campus ministry office, and tutoring kids in AP U.S. History. I’m very excited about the prospect of making a positive impact on some of the students at the school by modeling Christian behavior and by showing loving mercy to the young adults there.

In other news, I’ve been preparing my first homiletic reflection. The topic will be the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:3-7). The Spirit has been inspiring me to speak about Christ’s redemptive mercy, so I think I’ll go that route with the sermon. I find it fascinating that Jesus came into the world to lead us sheep into green pastures, yet we led Him (the Young Sheep [Lamb] of God) to the cross. Nevertheless, He shows us mercy and forgiveness!

Please pray for me as I prepare!

Best wishes,

David JW Inczauskis, nSJ

daveinchow@comcast.net

ON THE MASSACRE IN THE VENDEE

How frequently do we hear that religion is a source of violence and derision in the world! Anti-religionists will often point to events such as the Crusades (http://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/crusades), the Thirty Years War (http://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/thirty-years-war), and the Spanish Inquisition (http://www.catholic.com/blog/jon-sorensen/the-myth-of-the-spanish-inquisition). Often, the Catholic Church bears the brunt of the attack. There is some merit to this perspective, as the “Church” has utilized violence and divisiveness at certain points in her long lifetime. Nevertheless, our contemporary age must come to terms with the limitations of this secularizing viewpoint. We must recognize that violence is a condition of the fallen nature of humanity, not a condition of religion in and of itself.

To offer a counter-example to the modern myth, I’d like to share the story of the Massacre in the French Vendée. During the French Revolution, the national army (influenced largely by republican and atheistic ideologies) slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians, including young children. The people of the Vendée faced persecution largely because of their Catholic beliefs. Priests and nuns were the first to die. Women and children who attempted to attend mass also perished at the hands of the oppressors. The total number of casualties ranges from 100,000 to 600,000. Some historians have called the event an example of anti-religious genocide. 

Therefore, let us refrain from claiming that Catholicism is the sole culprit. In fact, statistics demonstrate that the Christian centuries were far more peaceful than the post-Enlightenment centuries (https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE6.HTM). 

Given recent affronts to religious freedom in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world, I pray that God would grant us a spirit of respect so that we may protect all human life, regardless of religious or political affiliation.

Best wishes,
David JW Inczauskis, nSJ