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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Framing Prayer 24-Jesuits and Movement

When I was in a community so long ago now, we were exhorted not to have a caravan, or even a little red wagon, but to be able to move freely, unencumbered to do God's will, The little red wagon represented "stuff", physical objects to which one could be attached and which take time away from prayer and God. Those who read my first blog may remember my article on this many years ago.

I see this daily in the States. Most lay people get too bogged down in things. One needs more than a little red wagon to move one's stuff; to be ready to move implies too much planning and anxiety.

One thing which appeals to me, and I shared some of my recent history on purpose earlier today to make the point, it the Jesuit history of movement. From the very days of St. Ignatius' own life, his travels to the Holy Land, to Paris, to his creation of the greatest missionary order the world has ever seen, one is struck by movement.

While the Benedictines grow in their vow of stability of place, the Jesuits grow spirituality by moving. I hope some of this spirituality rubs of on me.

Movement is the life of the missionary, especially one under obedience. A Jesuit is still told where to go for his ministry-as obedience is a vow taken seriously.

Look at the great missions in Europe. Look at the individual lives of the Jesuit saints. One can hardly keep up with studying their movements, such as St. Edmund Campion's moving from the leafy calm of Oxford to the bustle of Rome at the Venerabile, to the work in Bohemia, and, finally back to England for a relatively short mission and his murder in London at the hand of the Queen's butchers.

Movement marks the North American martyrs, the Asian martyrs, the South American martyrs.

Can we think of another such peripatetic order?

As I sit among the signs of moving, after a day yesterday of moving, I yearn for the stability of the monastery, the cell, but God allows me to go hither and yon with His message of love and freedom.

In order to teach freedom, one must be free, and only the free can move, quickly, peacefully.

When I was in my twenties, a long time ago. I heard that interior voice of Christ say to me "You are like the damsel fly, which moves here and there quickly. I love you for you respond quickly to me."

In my mind I saw the helicopter-like flight of the damselfly, an insect which is highly mobile and can change directions quickly, effortlessly.

One must be detached in order to do this. One must be free. The Jesuit vow of poverty allows them not only to be detached, but to be able to move, now, freely.

In these times, learn to move quickly in God. Listen to His Voice and be obedient to His call.

Learn to change directions, and not begrudge the call of God to leave all and follow Him.

We are all called to be disciples. And freedom marks this call.

I would love a house of prayer in order to contemplative and be a sign of contradiction in this world-a simple place of worship and intercession. But, God calls me forth, still, doing quiet things and remaining free. This is not an easy vocation, but the Jesuit example and prayer method can help me and you, especially in times of upheaval.

Yesterday was the feast day of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. Without the movement of the Jesuits, we would not have this lovely young saint. A good article is found here on her.