Reflection for Friday, October 19, 2012: 28th week in Ordinary Time.

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Shirley, Nancy
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Today marks the Memorial of Saint John de Br and eacute;beuf and Saint Isaac Jogues, priests and martyrs, and their companions. These Jesuit priests worked extensively with the native people in the New World particularly the Huron Indians and were the first martyrs of the North American continent officially recognized by the Church. They were among a number of Jesuits who suffered greatly and sacrificed their lives to bring Christianity to the area. Father Jogues was tortured and his hands mangled yet he was able to escape and return to Europe. So impressed by his great sacrifices, Pope Urban VIII allowed him to continue to say Mass even with his mangled hands. Yet rather than just focus his energies in this safe haven, he traveled once more to fulfill what he believed was his missions among the Hurons. Similarly, Father de Br and eacute;beuf was expelled from Quebec when the English captured the city yet he, too, returned to fulfill his mission. He composed catechisms and a dictionary in Huron, and saw 7,000 converted before his horrific death. These priests (and their other companions) truly lived the basic teaching of St. Ignatius, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (AMDG): "For the Greater Glory of God.|The American Catholic website in their Saint of the Day writing included this quote: My confidence is placed in God who does not need our help for accomplishing his designs. Our single endeavor should be to give ourselves to the work and to be faithful to him, and not to spoil his work by our shortcomings (from a letter of Isaac Jogues to a Jesuit friend in France, September 12, 1646, a month before he died).|The first reading fits these Saints perfectly. We are reminded that we are chosen and our purpose is to exist to praise God - something that is done in our everyday lives - how we live, how we work, how we live our mission. Consistent with the Jesuits' motto to do everything For the Greater Glory of God (and similar to those of other religious orders), this first reading emphasizes that our focus needs to be on this concept and this relationship with God:|In Christ we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.|This begs the question: are we willing/able/excited to live that wholeheartedly and continue what these martyrs started and for which they gave up their lives? In many places, we do not worry about the threat of torture that they endured but most of us will have to go out of our comfort zones.|As the responsorial psalm proclaims, Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own, we are both chosen and challenged. That blessing carries with it responsibility for each of us. Further, the gospel warns that we not be hypocritical in our lives and beliefs. As we think today about our own lives and those of the martyrs being remembered, the words of the gospel echo so true: . . .do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. These martyrs knew that courage and did not fear the earthly pains rather looked forward to the heavenly rewards. Would that I could be so brave and faithful.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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