A Reflection for Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Find today’s readings here.
I remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I remember your wonders of old.
And I meditate on your works;
your exploits I ponder.
There was one Jesuit professor during my first year of studies that I disliked. The only problem was he taught all the courses I was most interested in.
I found myself attending another one of his classes on the Second Vatican Council, slouched and pouting in the back of the room. Over time, the beauty contained within the documents captivated me, so much so that I moved from sitting in the last row of seats, to actively visiting him during office hours to discuss what I was reading. One of those principles put forth by the Council that deeply resonated with me is found in the declaration on the relation of the church to non-Christian religions, Nostra Aetate. The document states that, “The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men.“
In our day-to-day moving between tasks, let us stop for a moment to meditate and ponder God’s many exploits.
I vividly recall one conversation with my professor when I was going through a crisis of faith in the church. This crisis was spurred on by what I found an unproductive silencing of a prominent theologian whose book discussed the relation of Christ, Christianity and the world religions. “You are too young,” he said, “to have been part of the Second Vatican Council, but what happened there was nothing short of miraculous. I witnessed the Holy Spirit moving and working in our church. The Holy Spirit still moves in our church.“
In moments of desolation—when I feel an absence of God’s presence—I often return to his words in this conversation. It reminds me of what today’s Psalm response encourages us to do:“I remember the deeds of the Lord.” Like Israel, who witnesses the great deeds of the Lord but is still tempted to idolatry, Moses in our first reading also reminds Israel to remember the deeds of the Lord.
In our day-to-day moving between tasks, let us stop for a moment to meditate and ponder God’s many exploits (Ps 77:12-13). For you this might be pondering the miracle of the universe, or the love received by a parent or a child. For me today it’s a conversation from 13 years ago, with a Jesuit professor whom I now deeply respect and admire.