February 3, 2022
by Nicky Santos, S.J.
Creighton University's Jesuit Community and Heider College of Business
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 326

1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12
1 Chronicles 29:10, 11ab, 11d-12a, 12bcd
Mark 6:7-13

Praying Ordinary Time

Prayer for the Blessing of Throats:

"Through the intercession of Saint Blase, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. "

In the first two years of Jesuit formation, what is called the novitiate, we have a number of experiments. These experiments are meant to test and verify the existence of God’s call to this way of life and our own maturity and freedom in responding to this call. One of these experiments is called the pilgrimage experiment. Today’s gospel reading and the phrase “take nothing for the journey but a walking stick” reminded me of my pilgrimage experiment. Traditionally this experiment involves being sent out in pairs for about two weeks with a one-way bus ticket and a paltry amount like $5 or so. The novices are meant to ask for food and lodging each day, presenting themselves as simple pilgrims. The experiment is meant to help us grow in trust of God’s providence.

During my novitiate, which was in India, we had a slight adaptation of the experiment. Instead of being sent out in twos, we were sent out individually to a remote village with a one-way ticket and nothing else (not even a walking stick). In the village, we were to be hosted by a family who were only told that we were pilgrims. I was sent to a remote tribal village in the northern part of the state that I grew up in. The people in that village spoke a dialect of the state language but I could not understand it. And, neither could they understand my rendering of the state language. So, it was two weeks of communicating through the language of love and signs. But these two weeks were two of the most beautiful weeks of my life. The family I was staying with did not have much. They had a small plot of land and a small house. I slept with the menfolk under the tree at night while the women, children, and animals slept inside the little mud house. There was no attached bath or toilet. We bathed in the nearby river and went to the fields for our toilet needs. For those two weeks, I abandoned myself totally to the care of my hosts and in doing so, I experienced the love and care of God for me through them.

Those two weeks, though an experiment in the novitiate, continue to shape who I am today, and to reinforce my total trust in God’s care for me.

What is your experience of abandoning yourself to God’s care?

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