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You have heard me mention quite a lot over the years about Saint Ignatius of Loyola.  It was shortly after I was ordained when I came one day for a bit of Spiritual Direction to Fr. Joe Boland.  As I was starting out on my priestly journey, I was looking for something, some prayer method, which would help my daily routine.  Joe suggested that I might like to do the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and over the next year I did that: through an hour’s daily reflection, I began to see two important ideas of St. Ignatius that would help me through the next many years: imaginative prayer; and ‘God in Everyday life.’  St. Ignatius invited his followers to use their imagination in prayer so that, by imagining what Jesus did and said, they might get closer to him, love Him more and serve Him more.  Another key point of St. Ignatius was that people should find “God in everyday life, in every experience of every day;” there is no experience to high and happy nor too low and sad that is not part of God’s Creative Plan.  For the last almost thirty years these phrases and ideas have been ever present to me but also to those whom I have guided through the same Spiritual Exercises, to the Parish Councils I have prayed with and to the young people I have led on retreats.  The reason I mention this just now is that in ten days’ time – as part of a holiday in the north of Spain – I will visit Loyola town for the first time and sit in the house and chapel where he lived and prayed 500 years ago.  It will be a Special Hour when I will sit in the very house where Ignatius lived and where I can reconnect with a driving force in my life.  A special Hour of engaging with my roots.

 

 

 

Each of us has a special hour, a special place, special moments, special people that help us reconnect with the best of our hearts.  A Special Hour when we reconnect with the best of our hearts.  And in today’s Gospel Jesus is talking about His Special Hour.  “Father,” he says “the hour has come, glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you.”  This idea of “Jesus’ Hour” was one of John’s big themes in his Gospel.  All through his Gospel we see John talking about various Hours: the first, of course is the Hour when Jesus changes water into wine.  After that, John talks about different ‘Hours of Jesus’ culminating, of course, in the hour when Jesus gives himself in the Cross.  For John, each of these Hours are moments when God’s presence is felt most clearly, when, as John would say, we can feel that the Word has indeed been made flesh and is living amongst us; and, when as we hear in another Gospel, our hearts can burn within us.

 

 

 

Today’s Gospel takes place within the context of the Last Supper.  In chapter 13 of John’s Gospel, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples; now, several chapters later, Jesus addresses his Father in prayer and prays that the Hour that he is about to experience in giving himself on the Cross will be shared by the disciples.  As Jesus comes to the end of the public ministry, he prays that the disciples will be filled with the Holy Spirit and will see themselves as sharing in ‘The Hour’ of God.  Now God’s Creative Plan will continue in them.  They will be the people who will make God’s Hour known.  And how will they do this?  Not by the physical presence of Christ among them but by allowing the Holy Spirit into their hearts.  With the Holy Spirit in their hearts, the disciples will be transformed and will have the courage to go out from Jerusalem, spreading the Word through Asia and onto Rome.

 

 

 

The Good News today is that you too can share in ‘God’s Hour.’  The Hour of God wasn’t reserved for first century Palestine.  The Hour of God is now.  You can allow God’s Hour into your family life and workplace.  World leaders can allow God’s Hour to be seen when they negotiate peace instead of war.  Communities can allow God’s Hour in when they break down division and promote harmony.  And you can allow God’s Hour to be seen in your own heart when you allow God’s presence into your everyday life.

 

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