Sunday, July 31, 2016

St. Ignatius' Heavily-Used Cookbook -or- Ignatian Reflections Part 1

Today is the Feast Day of St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), one of my favorite saints and the focus of much reflection in American Catholic education. This attention surfaced as a result of Vatican II's call for religious orders to recover a sense of their roots.  In the United States, no religious order has a bigger footprint--albeit not the oldest--in Catholic higher education than the Society of Jesus.  Thus this year starts off what hopefully will be an annual tradition of Ignatian reflections on the spiritual sub-universe within Roman Catholicism that is "the Jesuit tradition."  With that in mind, here's my first take, my latest at the St. Joseph's Theology blog.  Please enjoy and share!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Marian path to Christian Environmentalism

A recent post detailed some Trinitarian foundations for Christian environmentalism.  The very creedal profession of the Trinity--not just that we believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--but how we state those beliefs, all of which illuminate the Trinity's creative relationships suggests a renewed appreciation for the world itself but importantly how we care for it, too.

Confession time:  that post came about through reflecting on the Creed as it kickstarts the Rosary, usually as I drove to work through the geological oddity of eastern upstate New York, Albany's Pine Bush.  Google images montage here;  lots of scrubby pines and sandy soil, much of which now lies underneath sub/urban development and, problematically, the area's largest landfill.  Still, much natural beauty lies within, as this cathedral-like trail attests.

Anyway, the point: the Trinitarian foundations for viewing the environment come to us, in this case, through the Rosary, that most Marian and Roman Catholic of prayers.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God,
pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

I suppose the easy route would be to draw an analogy between the Blessed Mother's fertility celebrated by the prayer and the fertility of the natural world itself.  While superficially helpful, such a connection might obscure deeper, more authentic and vital, relationships.  After all, the Catechism (#773) asserts that the Church's Marian charism--its interior holiness--precedes the Petrine, the external, authoritarian charism.  Keep that in mind whenever you hear complaints about Vatican intrusiveness or the Church's unwillingness to change or the old canard "I'm spiritual but not religious."  Because of Mary, the Church is spiritual before it is "religious," and so, too, is the natural world.