Beloved Community, Jesus’ message in this week’s Gospel could not be clearer.
“The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments…You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind….You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
I have noticed that in these last months I have spent a lot of time asking: What should I do, what can we do, to respond to the injustice that plagues our country and world? These questions wake me up in the middle of the night and leave me with a good bit of anxiety. It’s nearly paralyzing. There’s so much to be done, where do we even start?
This week I realized I have been asking the wrong questions. Instead of focusing on the doing, the question is more about who do I need to become and who do we need to become at this time in the history of our world? As we, the Ignatian Family, continue our mission of being people for and with others, this question can be our guiding principle. As we journey together through life, our greatest desire, as St. Ignatius says in the first principle and foundations of the Spiritual Exercises, is I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening God’s life in me*. Embodying this desire in our daily lives will unfailingly and continually reveal to us our identity in God.
As we experience and witness God in our own identity, in the identities of all people and all of creation, then the “what should we do” piece will too be revealed. So, my sisters and brothers, reserve a moment today to contemplate, with God and your neighbors, and ask, who am I becoming? Who are we becoming? From here, the path, the what to dos and God’s dream will become clearer and clearer.
As we continue to discover and discern who we are becoming, I want to share with you a provocative question that was presented this week to a group of over 300 clergy, faith leaders, and tribal elders gathered in Indianapolis, Indiana for a Prophetic Resistance Summit hosted by the PICO National Network. Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews and Ben McBride ask us this: Are you a chaplain to the Empire or a prophet of the Resistance, a midwife of a new Divine Creation?
Ignatian Family, who are we? Who is God calling us to be? I believe it is to be prophets and midwives. May the Holy Spirit impart on us the wisdom to know, live, and breathe what “the whole law and prophets depend on.” And that, Beloved Community, is Love.
*Translation, David Fleming, SJ.
Natalie Terry is director of the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center, a ministry of St. Agnes Parish in San Francisco, CA. She has a Masters of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California. She is currently working on her thesis for a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in the area of sacramental theology. She graduated from John Carroll University in 2010 with Bachelor of Arts in religious studies and served as a volunteer with the Sisters of the Humility of Mary in Pulaski, Pennsylvania. Natalie has been a facilitator and prayer leader with the Ignatian Solidarity Network, and she serves as a lay preacher, lector, Eucharistic minister and presider of Communion services and Liturgies of the Word. She is also currently serving as the Director of Children’s Faith Formation at St. Agnes Parish. She is originally from Wynantskill, New York.