Reflection for Tuesday, March 21, 2006: 3rd week in Lent.

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Furlong, Beth
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I write this from the town of Nyiregyhaza, with a population of 110,000, in the northeast plains of Hungary near the Ukraine and Romanian borders. This influences my reflections in nuanced ways - by the spiritual reading books I brought with me for the four month journey, for the application of these readings to the daily television news I watch in this part of the world, etc.| One of the books I brought with me is Dean Brackley, S.J.'s book, The Call to Discernment, which I received because of my participation in a Cardoner at Creighton project. I highly recommend it as it has greatly further educated me on the Ignatian Exercises.| The First Reading of today partially reads - 'but with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received' - integrates with some of the content in the above book. St. Ignatius writes of the Kingdom Meditation which Fr. Brackley designates as individuals considering the 'call' Christ makes to us. The First Reading continues - 'so let our sacrifice in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly' - this strongly resonates with what St. Ignatius was teaching with the ideas of desolation and consolation in one's daily life.| Sometimes, one feels like one has wake-up calls, experiences that 'hit you over the head', etc. I had that feeling when I discovered which Gospel Reading I was to reflect and write on - the story of forgiveness. Was this merely coincidence - or a God-moment? In my spiritual journey, forgiveness is one of the behaviors I struggle with. I have a long way to go to be where I need to be. In recognizing this about myself, one of the spiritual booklets I packed with me is a booklet on forgiveness (The Heart of God: A Call to Forgiveness) by Sr. Joan Chittister. Since being in Hungary I have had the opportunity to attend Mass at St. Stephan's Basicila in Budapest, the main Roman Catholic Church in this town, and also the Greek Catholic Church in this town. And, while I am observant of and participate in the liturgy, there are also times when the language barrier provides time for my reading and reflecting on Sr. Joan's words on forgiveness as I take the booklet to Mass with me. In summary, her thoughts are also derived from the important Gospel Reading of today. |I write this on February 24th and the television news daily tells of conflict, violence, struggles, death, etc. - whether that be the recent elections in Haiti and Uganda, delayed arrest of a former Serbian leader, torture of Iraqi soldiers, sectarian violence in Iraq, change of government in Palestine, etc. And, we know the need for forgiveness. 'not seven times but seventy-seven times.' But, can I forgive one times 7 people in my life? We are called to forgive. We are called to remember and to follow Christ's last words on the Cross - which were words of forgiveness. To quote Sr. Joan Chittister - 'Clearly, to be everything we can become, we must learn to forgive.' (p. 16).
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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