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Tree of Life
St. Ignatius of Loyola in his book the Spiritual Exercise talks about two standards of two leaders calling us. One is Lucifer, the devil and the other is Jesus Christ. Lucifer who attracts us with promises of riches, honor and pride while Jesus promises us what offers us the opposite, poverty over riches, contempt over honor, and humility over pride. At first Jesus’ promises seem to be a paradox but after a deeper look Jesus’ way of suffering is the only way to find peace and joy with God.
St. Ignatius was a soldier of the court looking for riches, honor and pride but when after a battle injury he had a change of heart and renounced his weapons. He realized that to discover the true peace of God and to be a companion of the way of Jesus he needed to, like Jesus, be with the poor, suffer contempt and be humiliated.
Living as a companion of Jesus is not easy. It goes against the way of the world.
I worked quite a while in the gardens today and one of the things I did was plant seeds for pole beans along my trellis. It was the same in the garden as it is for us: the seeds needed to be planted and die before they will rise again.
Many of our institutions, structures and systems, like us, do not understand how hard we need to work and even sacrifice and suffer to find true peace, life and joy. The lure of Lucifer and the world for the quick fix, to find riches, honor and pride without suffering seems to the flavor of the day. Yet the way of Jesus, poverty, contempt and rejection and humility is the way of Jesus and Nature.