Wednesday, June 3, 2009

30 day retreat e-mail reflection: Week 3

Week III

Hmm, is anyone still reading this??? I wonder...I guess this is me getting all of this out of me after being in silence. Well, I won't have a month of silence to write about again for quite a long time. The next time Jesuits enter into this month of silence after the novitiate is a few years after they are ordained. Maybe 14-15 years from now??? We'll see

Well, I spent an exhaustive two days just witnessing the Passion and Death of Christ using Ignatius' "contemplation of place," and spent one day ritualizing the death using incense. It was...truly graphic. I saw him scourged, beaten, pounded to the cross, and labor in agony until his last breath. God-Man, tortured and killed. The madness of it all. And, to think about where we continue to do this in our society today. The cross, the instrument of death, for us Christians becomes the instrument for our life due to our belief in the resurrection. The belief that Jesus became more powerful than ever because of his humbleness and submission unto death.

I was reading Gary Smith's book Radical Compassion again at this time. Something very powerful reading this again, both because I now recognize the places that he talks about in his book, but also in the context in which I am reading. Just reflecting on the suffering that continues to take place in our world, and, as I see it, it is as if Jesus continues to suffer along with them. His one story about a "leper," a term he used to describe his story with a man with AIDS, caused me to weep for 20 minutes after my one midnight meditation following Week I.

It planted the seeds for a possible experiment I am discerning about, which is serving in an AIDS hospice. We'll see... (this hasn't happened, 3 years since I posted this)

I find Gary's book so inspiring because he doesn't just theorize and make statistics of these marginalized people that he's encountered. He tells their stories because he's been with them. And they are painful. But, it burns me with desire for service for the least of our brothers and sisters among us, to tend to the deep wounds they have experienced. As I have often found in my service, though, they unexpectedly give me so much in return.

(to be continued)

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