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On the Eve of the Feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola

July 31, 2020
Statue of Saint Ignatius in the Church on the grounds of the University of San Francisco

As the church struggles to re-invent itself in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, there are many challenges and reckonings to face. In a day and age where life is all about the me-first and individual salvation experience, we need to go back to our roots. Those roots are found in worship in homes and the catacombs in the age before the church got into bed with the Empire. The church in Acts cared less about the individual experience and more about holding all things in common and caring for each member of the community as equals.

Thomas Merton had a great deal to say about the communal nature of our faith and the imperative to speak and breathe words of peace in a world Hell-bent on selfish destruction. In the preface to the Japanese translation of his autobiography The Seven Story Mountain he said the following:

By my monastic life and vows I am saying No to all the concentration camps, the aerial bombardments, the staged political trials, the judicial murders, the racial injustices, the economic tyrannies, and the whole socio-economic apparatus which seems geared for nothing but global destruction in spite of all its fair words in favor of peace. I make monastic silence a protest against the lies of politicians, propagandists, and agitators, and when I speak it is to deny that my faith and my church can ever be aligned with these forces of injustice and destruction. (p. 15)

Presently far too many in the church have forgotten the call of the prophet to Do Justice, Love Kindness, and Walk Humbly with God. Merton and Ignatius are calling out to the church today to be the voice of the voiceless.

If our church is not marked by caring for the poor, the oppressed, the hungry, we are guilty of heresy. — Saint Ignatius of Loyola

May our lives, dear reader, speak against the selfishness and greed of the Empire. May we indeed, heed the words of the late Congressman John Lewis: Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.

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