The Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola
On this feast of Ignatius of Loyola we have wonderful imagery presented to us in our readings, lively images that fill us with hope, on the one hand, and a bit of caution and trepidation, on the other. We have potters and we have sorters!
First the potters! Have you ever had one of those days when you’ve felt like a cracked pot? I certainly have. Those are the days when nothing I try to do goes right and it feels as if everything is just going wrong and I don’t know why! I am sure you know the feeling only too well. Just as we read in the passage from Jeremiah, we wish we could rise up and be off to the potter’s house, hoping that he can quickly fix this broken pot of ours or reshape and remold us all over again!
Unfortunately, in real life, we don’t have the potter’s house right around the corner where we can go to get everything fixed. Not in real life. In real life we have something even better!
If you follow Jeremiah’s beautiful passage about the potter hard at work at his wheel, we learn something very hopeful about potters and clay. Jeremiah tells us,
Whenever the object of clay which he was making
turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making
of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased.
What do we have that is even better than the hard working potter? Why, we have the Lord! We have the Lord who never gives up on us, his creation! We have the Lord who will faithfully take us up into loving hands and reshape us, refashion us from a cracked pot into something that is once again useful and beautiful!
And thank God for that because, as we read in Matthew’s gospel, we have sorters out there, too, angels who will collect fish of every kind and put the good ones into buckets while the bad ones are thrown away only to be tossed into a fiery furnace!
So dear friends, while we might be fearful of those angelic sorters who only keep bucketfuls of the good ones, we know we will always be able to resort to the infinite mercy of our faithful, loving God who will never give up on us. And like the divine Potter that he is, will continually reshape us, calling us back to the original goodness and beauty with which we were created.
Fr. Pat Brennan, C.P. is the director of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.