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THE WORD IS LIFE

The prologue to St. John’s gospel introduces God’s Son as the Word. This life-giving Word—spoken down through the ages—became flesh and lived in our midst. For all of Christian history, the Word is intimately connected with all of human life. It is the purpose of TWIL (“The Word Is Life”) to bring the gospel to life and to bring life to the gospel. This blog will feature reflections on the Sunday Scriptures from contemporary Catholic writers, words of wisdom for our Spiritual journey from saints and blessed, and thoughtful reflections on masterpieces of sacred art. We at Living with Christ hope that they will help you grow in your spiritual life and deepen your relationship with the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Well Wounded

Categories: The Word Is Life

This year, the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola has an extra sparkle. Not only is today Ignatius Day for Jesuits around the world, it also comes nestled within the Ignatian Year. Five centuries ago, while fighting willfully a hopeless battle on the ramparts of Pamplona, Ignatius fell seriously wounded. The wound was to save his life. Thanks to his brush with death, and his longer, bed-ridden tenancy with fragility and boredom, the headstrong soldier slowly turned to God. Out of destruction and suffering came a conversion, the impact of which still resounds through the Church and the world.

Wounds as keyholes for grace – such is the lesson of Ignatius’ conversion. A lesson we need most thoroughly these days. The ongoing depth of wounds suffered recently has been widespread. But if these lesions can help initiate conversion in the Church and civil society, the suffering does not remain all together senseless. When they work to increase our love and labor for justice, then the wounds of others can save us.

So, too, in the frightening realm of climate change and ecological injury. The damage done to Earth, if only we attend to it compassionately and contritely, can call forth our conversion to more peaceable ways of dwelling. Even when the destruction looks irredeemable, our faith in the healing power of wounds well cared for can draw us out of our harm and into our mission of gentle creativity with the rest of Creation.

The following are the lyrics to a song I wrote to commemorate the 500 years of Ignatius’ conversion.  You can listen to my rather patchy recording of it here:  https://youtu.be/btQxLkaiNdg

Well Wounded

He got to know his skin,

got to know it from within

and the more he touched on God

the more God felt like him–

a body beaten full of grace,

a body beaten full of grace.

One, Two, Three

catch the eye of the Trinity

looking down on our broken lives

discerning with a winsome smile

which of them will get to be

the saving earthly refugee

    the saving earthly refugee.

He got battered a thousand ways

and each break strengthened his faith

that the God of his deepest dreams

was the God of his clearest days–

a body limping full of grace

a body limping full of grace.

Glory has a sphinx’s smile.

Power is a force fragile

in our hurting, human fists.

Wealth and all the other wiles

in the foe’s big bag of tricks

are no question dangerous,

but a body beaten full of grace

a body beaten full of grace

knows how to convalesce.

 

Greg Kennedy SJ is a Jesuit priest working as a spiritual director at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph, Ontario. His prayer often takes the form of poetry. Care of creation is central to his vocation. His recent publications include Reupholstered Psalms: Ancient Songs Sung New and Amazing Friendships Between Animals and Saints.

 

Author: Living with Christ

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