Eucharist in Dahlgren Chapel of the
Sacred Heart, Georgetown University,
August 4, 1996
“FOR I AM CERTAIN,” St. Paul tells us today in the Epistle to the Romans, “that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor powers, neither height nor depth nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:38–39).
Looking out over contemporary culture with John Paul II, we probably do not carry around with us the consistent sense of consolation that these words of St. Paul express. I doubt that John Paul II himself does. In fact, his experiences as the universal pastor are probably all too similar to our own more modest ones in the classroom, the confessional, the pulpit, or, for that matter, the haustus room. At times they can provoke in us a sensation quite opposite to consolation. They can fill us with that Ignatian sense of “desolation,” which manifests itself in turmoil of spirit, in restlessness, in self-feeding doubts, and in thoughts that we are becoming ever more separated from the love of God.1 Indeed, as we look out over our world, we might again view it through the lens offered by the meditation on the Incarnation in the Spiritual Exercises. There we are told to wonder at the ingenuity of human beings applying their energy to a vast panoply of dark banalities: to swearing, blaspheming, wounding, killing; to the deeds that lead down to hell, as Ignatius himself says.2
1 Ignatius Loyola, The Spiritual Exercises,ed. Louis J. Puhl, S.J. (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1951), s. 317.
2 Ibid.,ss. 107–08.