Spiritual Reflections for all Seasons

These "seasonal reflections" can be enjoyed at any time of the year. Included with each reflection is some background on the author and an opportunity for you to offer your feedback.

Back to School

“It’s summer vacation!” are the words that you might expect to hear students cheer as they burst through the school’s closest exists.  To my surprise, however, this was not the scene this past May at Red Cloud High School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. 

Red Cloud Students head back to SchoolCertainly there were a few students who burst through the exits with great excitement.  But most took their time exiting and when they did, they went forth into summer vacation with a fair amount of sadness and reluctance.

Fast-forward to August and the back to school season is upon us.  As I prepare to return to the classroom, the May scene keeps playing through my mind.  I know of many students eager to come back, an eagerness that a number of them have carried with them since summer vacation began.

But why are they so eager? For the students of Red Cloud High School, school is the place where they get to see their friends.  Many of our students live 50 miles apart from their friends, which makes school the only time that they will see each other.  For some, school is a safe place.  For others school is a place where they are intellectually engaged.  And for a few, it is just something to do. 

Do these students always remember that they will miss school over the summer?  If the start and end of a week is any example, they do not.  A typical Friday, for example, is met by much excitement.  Why wouldn’t there be?  The week is coming to an end.  Yet Monday is also welcomed with excitement because the weekend has come to an end.  When I ask why, my students respond, “Because I was so bored.  There was nothing going on.”

Would they be as excited for Monday if the weekend had never come?  I doubt it.  They need to experience the boredom of the weekend to create the excitement for school to begin again.  Just as the course of the week needs to wipe out those members of boredom so that there is something to look forward to in the weekend.  My students demonstrate the vital role that forgetting and remembering has in our human lives.

I am often reminded on retreat how much I have forgotten about how the Lord works in my life.  A retreat causes me to recall how the Lord labors and I will very likely forget some of those same things in the weeks and months after I have emerged from the silence.  Yet, at points over those same weeks and months, I will be reminded of how the Lord is at work and how God works with me.  I am reminded through prayer and Eucharistic.  I am reminded through my students and my Jesuit brothers.  I am reminded by the Lord: the God who allows me to forget so that I might remember that He is always there.

Brad Held, SJBrad Held, SJ, is in his second year of Regency and is a teacher at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Seasonal Reflections

Living with our Neighbors
by Ron Seminara, SJ

Record the Graces of Fall - Seasonal Reflection
by Paul J. (PJ) Shelton, SJ

Spring and First Communions
by Fr. Phil Hurley, SJ

Can We Have Fun Now?
by Fr. James Kubicki, SJ

Ignatian Spirituality: Why Excercise
by Fr. Christoher P. Johnson, SJ

Seasonal Reflection
Just Ask Jack

Look and Listen - reflection by Fr. John P. Daly, SJ
Fr. John Daly's Reflection for October - Look and Listen when you pray

Dependence - reflection by Fr. John P. Daly, SJ
Independence and Dependence

Seasonal Reflection: What Makes Mary Great?
by Frank Majka, SJ

The Examen - reflection by Fr. John P. Daly, SJ
The Daily Examen by St. Ignatius

The Spiritual Exercises - reflection by Fr. John P. Daly, SJ
Ignatian Spirituality

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