Archives For November 2017

The God of heaven will set up a kingdom
that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people;
rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms
and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever.

–Daniel 2:44

(Abajo en español)

Napolean Crowing 1

Reflection for Nov. 28, 2017

Daniel 2:31-45 and Luke 21:5-11

From the French Revolution to the present, politics have occupied the highest place in the human mind. If God does not exist, the most important thing becomes building a utopia here in this world (or on another planet according to the plots of sci-fi movies). Including the eras of Daniel and Jesus, human beings have divinized political figures. Caesar is God. Nebuchadnezzar is God. Bow down before them. There are parallel realities in the last century and currently, too. Nowadays more tears are shed over political defeats and triumphs than over the perennial passion of Christ.

In this context we listen to Daniel’s prophecy:

The God of heaven will set up a kingdom
that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people;
rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms
and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever.
That is the meaning of the stone you saw hewn from the mountain
without a hand being put to it,
which broke in pieces the tile, iron, bronze, silver, and gold.
The great God has revealed to the king what shall be in the future;
this is exactly what you dreamed, and its meaning is sure.

In this context we listen to Jesus’ prophecy:

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s word will never pass away. The body of Jesus was destroyed in 33 AD. The Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD. This universe will be destroyed at a moment that no one can predict. Everything perishes. Nothing makes it through alive except the rock, the fortress that is God.

This is the reality, but we cannot cower in fear because in Christ God has established an imperishable kingdom. This kingdom is the Church, and its king is Jesus. The fathers of the Second Vatican Council write, “The church–that is, the kingdom of Christ already present in mystery–grows visibly in the world through the power of God” (para. 3). The kingdom grows by the power of God, and the power of God has been poured out upon the Church in the form of water, oil, and flame of living love. Outside of this power, we can do nothing. With this power, we can do all things. Do we believe in this power? Do we believe that we have this power within us by the action of the Holy Spirit? Every true Catholic says “yes,” and this “yes” has resounded through all the world and up to the firmament of heaven. 

St. Augustine tells us that there are two cities: that of man and that of God. The city of man is built up in vain. We listen to the words of the Psalmist (127):

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
    the guard keeps watch in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
    and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
    for he gives sleep to his beloved.

The city of God is not built in vain. In fact, it is not built by merely human forces at all. The city of God, the kingdom of God, is a free gift that comes to us through Christ. Only after we receive it can we begin to speak of our role in the reconstruction of the new heavens and the new earth.

First, receive grace. In one hour of prayer, God can make of your life a piece of artwork more beautiful than anything you could have accomplished in an entire year. Receive grace. With one drop of his precious blood, God can turn you into a saint. With one small piece of his body, God can divinize you. With a formula uttered in ten seconds, God can erase all your sins. With faith the size of a mustard seed, mountains will move. What do you want from God? What are you looking for? I am speaking of the deepest level of the heart. What are you looking for? Receive grace.

Now, after receiving grace, what does one do? Let me quote the Jesuit St. Alberto Hurtado: “What is my path through life? The will of God: to become holy, to cooperate with God, to do his work. What is greater, more worthy, more beautiful, more exciting?” Collaborate with God. May the words “thy kingdom come” reach fulfillment in you. Discern the will of God and follow it.

Cling to God, only to God. All the rest is chaff that will burn away. Because they clung to God, Daniel’s friends did not burn up with the chaff in the furnace. Cling to Jesus, the King, and don’t acknowledge any other. He is the stone that conquers powers and principalities with the movement of his pinky. God’s reign only grows by the power of God. Don’t go on building the city of man. Live to build the city of God.

–Given Nov. 28, 2017, at the Ignatius House Chapel at Loyola University Chicago

 

Reflexión del 28 de noviembre de 2017

Daniel 2:31-45 y Lucas 21:5-11

Desde la revolución francesa hasta el presente, la política ha ocupado el primer lugar en la mente de la humanidad. Si Dios no existe, lo más importante es la construcción de una utopía aquí en este mundo (o en otro planeta según los argumentos de las películas “sci-fi”). Incluso en los tiempos antiguos de Daniel y de Jesús, los seres humanos han divinizado a las figuras políticas. César es Dios. Nabucodonosor es Dios. Arrodíllense. Hay realidades paralelas en el último siglo y en la actualidad, también. Hoy más lagrimas se gastan por derrotas y triunfos políticos que por la pasión perenne de Jesús.

En este contexto escuchemos la profecía de Daniel:

En tiempo de estos reyes, el Dios del cielo hará surgir un reino que jamás será destruido, ni dominado por ninguna otra nación. Destruirá y aniquilará a todos estos reinos y él durará para siempre. Eso significa la piedra que has visto desprenderse del monte, sin intervención de mano humana, y que redujo a polvo el barro, el hierro, el bronce, la plata y el oro.

El Dios grande ha manifestado al rey lo que va a suceder. El sueño es verdadero, y su interpretación, exacta.

En este contexto escuchemos también la profecía de Jesús:

Se levantará una nación contra otra y un reino contra otro. En diferentes lugares habrá grandes terremotos, epidemias y hambre, y aparecerán en el cielo señales prodigiosas y terribles.

“Cielo y tierra pasarán, pero tu palabra no pasará.” El cuerpo de Jesús se destruye en el año 33, el Templo de Jerusalén se destruye en el año 70, y este universo se destruye en un momento que nadie pueda predecir. Todo pasará. Nada saldrá intacto salvo la roca, el alcázar que es Dios.

Esta es la realidad, pero no debemos acobardarnos ante ella porque en Cristo Dios ha establecido un reino sin fin. Este reino es la Iglesia, y su rey es Jesús. Los padres del Segundo Concilio Vaticano escriben, “La Iglesia o reino de Cristo, presente actualmente en misterio, por el poder de Dios crece visiblemente en el mundo” (para. 3). El reino crece por el poder de Dios, y el poder de Dios se he derramado sobre la Iglesia en forma de agua, aceite, y llama de amor viva. Fuera de este poder, el ser humano no puede hacer nada. Con este poder, el ser humano puede hacerlo todo. ¿Creemos en este poder? ¿Creemos que tenemos este poder dentro de nosotros por la acción del Espíritu Santo? Todo católico verdadero dice que sí, y su sí ha retumbado en todo el mundo hasta el firmamento de los cielos.

San Agustín nos dice que hay dos ciudades: la del hombre y la de Dios. La del hombre se construye en vano. Escuchemos las palabras del salmista:

Si el Señor no construye la casa,

de nada sirve que trabajen los constructores;

si el Señor no protege la ciudad,

de nada sirve que vigilen los centinelas.

De nada sirve trabajar de sol a sol

y comer un pan ganado con dolor,

cuando Dios lo da a sus amigos mientras duermen.

 La ciudad de Dios no se construye en vano; de hecho, no se construye por fuerzas meramente humanas en absoluto. La ciudad de Dios, el reino de Dios, es un regalo gratuito que nos llega mediante Cristo. Solo después de recibirlo podemos comenzar a hablar de nuestro papel en la reconstrucción de los nuevos cielos y las nuevas tierras.

Primero, reciban la gracia. En una hora de oración, Dios puede realizar en sus vidas una obra más bella que Uds. pueden realizar en un año. Reciban la gracia. Con una gota de su preciosísima sangre, Dios puede transformarlos en santos. Con un trozo de su cuerpo, Dios puede divinizarlos. Con una fórmula dicha en diez segundos, Dios puede borrar todos sus pecados. Con fe del tamaño de un granito de mostaza, las montañas se moverán. ¿Qué quieren de Dios? ¿Qué buscan? Hablo del nivel más profundo del alma. ¿Qué buscan? Reciban la gracia.

Ahora bien, después de recibir la gracia, ¿qué se hace? Cito al santo jesuita Alberto Hurtado: “¿Cuál es el Camino de mi vida? La voluntad de Dios: santificarme, colaborar con Dios, realizar su obra. ¿Habrá algo más grande, más digno, más hermoso, más capaz de entusiasmar?” Colaborar con Dios. Que las palabras “venga a nosotros tu reino” se cumplan en Uds. Disciernan la voluntad de Dios y síganla.

En fin, aférrense a Dios, solo a él. El resto es paja que se quemará. Por haberse aferrado a Dios, los amigos de Daniel no se queman en el horno con la paja. Aférrense a Jesús, el Rey, y no reconozca a otro. Él es la piedra que conquista poderes y principados con el meñique de la mano. Su reino crece solo por el poder de Dios. No vivan construyendo la ciudad del hombre. Vivan construyendo la ciudad de Dios.

–Predicado el 28 de noviembre de 2017 en la capilla de la casa Ignacio de Loyola University Chicago

–David Inczauskis, S.J.

I made this prayer resource for my eighth grade religion students, but I think it can be helpful to all, young or old. It is based on the Jesuit prayer known as the “examen.”

THE EXAMEN LOG

At the end of the day, I replay the day in my head like a movie. I pay attention to and write down the key moments according to the questions below:

1) What was the best moment of my day? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

2) What was the worst moment of my day? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

3) What were three main emotions that I felt today?

1………………………………………………

2………………………………………………

3………………………………………………

4) Who was a person who helped me today? How? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

5) Who was a person I helped today? How? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

6) What are three things for which I am grateful today?

1………………………………………………

2………………………………………………

3………………………………………………

7) As to my best friend, I speak to God about what I’ve written down. I share my ups and downs. I thank him for the good things. I ask him for strength to help me with my difficulties.

The Mystic

November 14, 2017 — Leave a comment

Guate 221

Sinking into the softness of the soil,

The mystic meditates on the movement,

Timid and terrible, of trunks and roots,

Shooting up slowly, grasping the ground like

Fingers gripping flesh in the throws of love.

*

Communing with the muses of water,

He hears the current cleansing the sickness

Of his soul, beat down by intense passion,

Stricken with the sorrow of abandon,

Seared by cauterizing torrents of flame.

*

There is a wind that chills the sinews of

Broken bones and rattles cold to the core:

The mystic revels in this solemn breeze,

A callous crack like a swift slap across

A face of existential expressions.

*

Always alone, never alone, never…

Music, epic music, a serenade

Plays from the harp strings of the pastor king,

Resounds from the crystal halls of heaven,

Matches the rhythm of the mystic’s heart.

 

Best wishes,
David J.W. Inczauskis, SJ

Bardem Mother

This week I wrote a review of Darren Aronofsky’s recent film mother!.

Here’s an excerpt:

In a world that is increasingly indifferent to religion, Aronofsky’s movie is like a slap across the face that says, “Wake up! There’s something serious at stake here.” In a generation of “nones” and “mehs,” mother! puts the viewer face to face with the primordial, stunning, and eerie truth: “If God exists, then everything changes.”

Check out the full article here.

Best wishes,

David Inczauskis, S.J.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Lawrence Films of the Flickr Creative Commons.