GeE 153: On Memory

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This paragraph is not about the forgetting of painful memories, but the opposite. God has worked and continues to work for the good of people. Christ is advocate and redeemer, and it is good to recall his works. Even if specific miracles weren’t accomplished for us particularly, the stories of the Bible and of the saints are relevant to us today. It isn’t disrespectful to suggest that because God worked well for others in the past, might God not do the same for us in the here and now?

153. Nor does history vanish. Prayer, because it is nourished by the gift of God present and at work in our lives, must always be marked by remembrance. The memory of God’s works is central to the experience of the covenant between God and his people. God wished to enter history, and so our prayer is interwoven with memories. We think back not only on his revealed Word, but also on our own lives, the lives of others, and all that the Lord has done in his Church. This is the grateful memory that Saint Ignatius of Loyola refers to in his Contemplation for Attaining Love,[Cf. Spiritual Exercises, 230-237] when he asks us to be mindful of all the blessings we have received from the Lord. Think of your own history when you pray, and there you will find much mercy. This will also increase your awareness that the Lord is ever mindful of you; he never forgets you. So it makes sense to ask him to shed light on the smallest details of your life, for he sees them all.

We can look closely at our history. Another Ignatian-advocated discipline is the Daily Examen, in which we look to very recent history to discern God’s presence amid our human activities. Even the most insignificant points might blossom into some insight that drive us forward in holiness.

You can check the full document Gaudete et Exsultate on the Vatican website.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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