Scripture Reflections

May 4: Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 4, 2020 at 6:05 AM PDT

A deer in a forest at golden hour.

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Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum,
ita desiderat anima mea ad te Deus.
As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you, O God.

In my first year of high school, I auditioned for a regional honors choir singing Palestrina’s “Sicut cervus,” one of many musical settings of today’s psalm. I had only begun singing in choirs that year but was quickly discovering that it was my “thing”—I was good at it and, more importantly, I loved it. I longed to be selected for this particular choir, and so I spent the better part of my evenings for several months singing along to a computer-generated practice track until I knew the alto part like the back of my hand. Come audition day, I was so nervous that I was literally sick to my stomach. As my audition time approached, I teetered toward panic as my body weaved me in and out of nausea, threatening to undo the months of practice I had put in.

Such is longing. I certainly didn’t realize at the time how I was being thrust into the very experience the psalm itself describes, gripped by a longing that manifested in a very real way in my body and propelled me to impressive, if somewhat frenzied, dedication. Now, as I think back on this chapter of my life, I see how that experience of longing can serve as a window into that deeper longing named in the psalm, the longing of my soul for God.

The mystics across faith traditions are familiar with this longing beneath our longing and have long insisted that our desires might be guideposts pointing us toward God. During his own chapter of forced social isolation and uncertainty, cooped up in a remote castle recovering from a battle wound, St. Ignatius of Loyola began to formulate his own thoughts on our longings and desires. He concluded that our desires, when approached with the tools of discernment, are trustworthy indicators of God’s desires for us. James Martin, SJ captures this when he says that that “[the] deep longings of our hearts are our holy desires.”

I did end up making the choir, but all that’s not to say that God’s desire for me was so straightforward as being selected for that particular choir. Neither are all of our longings always so dramatic as my desire to be chosen for the choir. Longing shows up in the patterns of our day-to-day, smaller desires, as well. As I reflect back on this experience of desire and my many experiences before it and since, I might ask, “What does this reveal about the deep longings of my heart?” Perhaps it says something about my deep desire for self-expression, a love for beauty, a longing for community...

What if, as the deer longs for flowing streams, so the flowing streams long for the deer? Perhaps God longs for us just as much as we long for God, and our desires are God’s way of coaxing us back to her. Today, notice the shape of longing in your life. What do your desires reveal about the deep longings of your heart? Where are you parched, and how is God coaxing you toward her flowing streams?

 

Anna Robertson, Campus Minister for Retreats

May 3: Fourth Sunday of Easter

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 3, 2020 at 6:05 AM PDT

On the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Fr. Colleen Nsame, S.J. preaches on the Sunday readings. 

Listen to the songs we would have sung at the Chapel today, including songs from our Chapel Choir CD, Light & Shadow (2017)

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May 1: Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 1, 2020 at 6:05 AM PDT

an image of hands outstretched, palms up, covered in dirt

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On May 1st the Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker, the father of Jesus and patron of all workers. Around the world today many countries celebrate Labor Day.  Over the past week there has been extensive news coverage on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on workers, including dangerous working conditions, unfair wage practices, and record unemployment rates. On this day we remember that one of the foundations of Catholic Social Teaching is the Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers, which is rooted in the scriptures and in our tradition of Catholic thought and action.

So on this day I offer a prayer for workers:  

Creator God,
you made the earth and all that is in it, and declared it good.
You have made us in your image, and invited us into partnership to care for the earth
and for every living thing that shares this planet with us.
Our world that has been impacted by coronavirus cries out to you.
Remind us today Compassionate One, that you look at us and call us good.
Remind us that we are called to work and to rest like you:
to use our gifts with care, with pride in our work, to bring life to all,
and to offer to you with thanksgiving the fruit of the earth and work of our human hands.

Jesus our Friend,
you were the child of Joseph the carpenter, who taught you his trade,
be near now to all workers, who need your care:
Bless those who have work, in every field today,
may Your grace bring success to the work of their hands and rest and renewal to their lives.
Bless those who are out of work, laid off, and furloughed today,
may Your guiding hand bring new opportunities and peace to ease their fears.
Bless those who have to risk their lives at work today,
may Your protection guard them from danger and energize their work.
Bless those who are mistreated and exploited at work today,
may Your power uphold their rights and dignity and bring them justice.
Bless those who do not receive a fair and living wage today,
may they receive what they need through Your abundant care.
Jesus, you came to proclaim good news to the poor,
open our eyes to the suffering of our neighbor,
those treated as disposable and dehumanized during this pandemic (and always),
and help us all to strive together for the protection of all workers and all your people.

Spirit of Life, You labor among us,
pour out Your wisdom to guide our leaders at every level and institution in their decision making.
Give those in power the grace to understand
that budgets are moral documents, that reflect the values of our community,
and that the economy should serve the people, not the people the economy.
Turn our hearts away from the idols of money, power, prestige, and consumerism,
towards reverence and awe for Your abundant goodness and to love for all your creation.
Change our hearts Holy One, and grant that we may have the fortitude
to strive for the common good, the protection of the dignity of all workers,
and the care for the most poor and vulnerable,
so every person may have the capacity for fullness of life through You.

Amen.

JoAnn Lopez, Campus Minister for Liturgy and Resident Minister

April 30: Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

Posted by Campus Ministry on April 30, 2020 at 6:04 AM PDT

a canoe sits in the water next to a dock  with mountains and water in the background

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Upon first read for today's scriptures, I was astonished by Philip’s willingness to listen and follow through with the command that he was given by the Holy Spirit —there was no huge questioning, he just set out, knowing that it was good and that he would be taken care of! Yes, there may have been confusion and worry but it seems that Philip also trusted that the Lord would make sure he was prepared to carry out the task at hand. 

Philip’s readiness makes me ask myself: what is stopping me from pursuing what I need to do or want to do when the opportunity is right in front of me? Sometimes getting started might be the hardest part because what is before us might not be fully planned yet or we might think we are not prepared to carry out the task, but that is okay. Philip’s experience in the first reading reminds us that God provides for us along the way. As soon as Philip encountered the Ethiopian eunuch, familiar words reached Philip’s ears and he was able to continue with what he had been assigned to do with confidence through God’s grace. This reading reminds me again to just set out to do what I need to do, even if I might not feel fully prepared, trusting in God’s care for us in our journey.

This reading gives me an unexpected easygoing feeling. This same feeling can come to us amid the current conditions of the world when we’re going through the day-to-day. I have experienced, and heard from others, about the sense of gratitude that has started to rise to the surface in our lives, as more people are starting to take notice of the small moments. It is certainly difficult times for many people, but at the same time I find new kindness around me. I have also been grateful for how flexible many people are with the changes that have taken place while we adjust to this time. Our capacity for flexibility, creativity, gratitude, and connection every day reminds me that we are still receiving life from the Father on our journey. We are all learning a lot at the same time and hopefully, experiencing joy in a new way.

Today, let us try to be like Philip, listening attentively to the Spirit speaking in our lives, and setting out with confidence to live according to God’s ways, trusting that God is with us and will provide for what we need.

 

Karina Comes, Student Campus Minister for Liturgy, Class of 2021

 

April 29: Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church

Posted by Campus Ministry on April 29, 2020 at 9:04 AM PDT

Pink petals scattered over a sidewalk, evoking the cherry blossom petals that can be found blanketing the ground in Seattle spring.

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The readings for the Easter Season land differently for me this year. With almost every aspect of life being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and spending most of our time confined to our homes, I cannot help but draw parallels to what the disciples must have felt in the early weeks after Jesus’ death with their fear and uncertainty of what is to come. The first reading says “all were scattered,” which struck me as I thought of how much of the global Church is also scattered now as we are celebrating, worshiping, and praying within our own homes, just as the early disciples were. Amidst the fear of my family becoming sick, the worries about loved ones who are essential workers, concern for all of those who have lost their jobs or are financially struggling, it can be hard for me to maintain my faith and see beyond my own feelings at this moment. I imagine that the early disciples felt fear, worry, and concern, too.

That is why I am encouraged by that latter half of the first reading that speaks to the work that needs to be done in order for joy to come. The first reading states “those who had been scattered went about preaching the word,” and then, “unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured.” I am reminded of the work the early disciples were called to do, to bring about the kingdom of God on earth and grow the early Church, and how we, too, in this time of uncertainty, are called to bring about the kingdom of God in our midst today.

There are many ways we can be Christ-like during this global pandemic and time of social distancing, whether it is donating food and money to those in need, picking up groceries for someone who can’t, donating blood, calling to check on those who might be lonely, or advocating for those who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic to your elected officials. The final line of the first reading says that “there was great joy in that city” after the disciples did their work; the rest of the readings have a beautiful focus on hoping for the joy that is to come as a result of being Christ-like. We must put in the work now, perhaps more than ever, to achieve a healthier, more just world. Surrounded by the chaos of today, we must anchor ourselves in hope of the joy that is to come, and witness to Christ’s abiding presence with our lives.

 

Kate Hannick, Class of 2019