Adapting prayer to the work
41. Praying the Office in Common.
By and large Ignatius had got on well with the first two Popes who were in power while he lived in Rome; Paul III and Julius III. He always tried to provide men for the missions that the Popes had in mind. The Popes too had understood Ignatius’ new Religious Order and its style of operation.
But with the death of Julius III in 1555, a new and very different Pope took office; Paul IV, formerly Cardinal Carafa.
Where Ignatius believed in bringing Protestants back to the Catholic fold through reasoned arguments and good example, Carafa instituted the Roman Inquisition to bring them back by force. Where Ignatius provided support for poor Jews, Carafa built a ghetto to imprison them. As papal nuncio to Spain, Carafa had grown to hate the Spanish. As Paul IV he set about reforming the Church in a harsh and sometimes violent way.
A traditionalist, Paul IV insisted the Jesuits follow the same pattern as other religious orders and came together many times daily to pray the Office. This was very disruptive of the work they were doing, as they had to keep returning to the community to pray. The Jesuit way of prayer is saying the office individually, an hour’s private prayer and communal prayer usually at the beginning or end of each day.
Ignatius tried to reason with the Pope to no avail, so then prayed intensely for his change of heart.
The change of heart never came, but Paul IV died after four years in the papacy without ever officially promulgating his ‘reforms’ of the Jesuit Order, so his ‘reforms’ died with him.
A thought to ponder
There is sometimes a fine line between struggling for justice and accepting what you cannot change without letting it eat away at you. Ignatius was never one to accept meekly what he felt was wrong.
He encouraged his men to clearly state their case and try and get wrongs righted. But when they had failed, accept this as the will of God and move on. He never lost sleep over his failures to change the Pope’s mind.
Do you have things in your life that you can’t change, but are eating at you?
Hand them over to God.
Scripture for the Day
As a way of praying today’s Scripture we suggest Lectio Divina
Hebrews 13: 1-5 & 14-16 NRSVACE
Let mutual love continue.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,
for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them;
those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.
Let marriage be held in honour by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled;
for God will judge fornicators and adulterers.
Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have;
for he has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’
For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
Through Jesus, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is,
the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Music for Today
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