Day 23: Companions in the Work

Today’s readings

Today’s readings feel particularly difficult because the Good News seems to be overshadowed by hardness of heart. In the first reading, God says plainly, “Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people.” What greater source of consolation can there be than this? In the Gospel, Jesus drives away a demon and a man who is mute is able to speak. Is this not a time for rejoicing? 

In our polarized world, the temptation is great to see things in terms of “us versus them.” We are distrustful of people not of our tribe or group. The invitation in Annotation 22 of St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises is to assume the good and give the other the benefit of the doubt. This seems increasingly challenging in the current environment. We are often tempted to construct narratives that fit our preconceived notions of people because of the group(s) to which they belong. Absent a curiosity about the other, we fail to see who is really in front of us. We miss the gifts that they bring to a shared cause. In these moments, are we not turning our backs on encountering God? We mistake potential allies and companions for enemies and dissipate our energy on suspicion. If only we could draw energy from genuine encounters instead. 

I have the privilege of being in spaces where I am allowed to listen to colleagues, who often belong to seemingly-divided groups, speak of their deep commitment to the flourishing of our students. I see how their actions are guided by this commitment. I am buoyed by knowing that they are guided by a shared goal.

  • Who are the potential companions whose actions you may be misconstruing?
  • What might you do to bridge the gap?
4 replies
  1. Lisa Dennison
    Lisa Dennison says:

    What a beautiful and thoughtful reflection, Catherine. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and gentle challenge with us!

  2. Judith E. Erwin
    Judith E. Erwin says:

    This was so well put and just what I needed today. I have become so very concerned about our country and the political environment. I am trying to trust God and his plan: its something I struggle with and pray about daily.
    Thank you,

  3. Amelia
    Amelia says:


    It’s so hard right now, with so much hate being spread. I don’t care so much about myself, but I do worry about my loved ones & about the vulnerable.
    Lord help us.

  4. so
    so says:

    Yes when I recognise my bias judgment of others, I attempt to find out what they think and believe. In our hearts we are all the same, desirous of peace and safety for our loved ones.


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