Narrow door

Dear brothers and sisters!
In Dubrovnik there are some very narrow and small streets and passages. Because of mercilessly strong wind in winter, and because of the hot shining sun as it is today. In front of such a narrow street one would wonder if it is possible to go through there. And yet there are houses and flats on the other side where people are living. This is a concrete image Jesus gives us for our spiritual way.

Many people come to Dubrovnik. Here you can feel that the Word of the Lord is not only a symbolic one or something far away. Every summer in this Old town one can not only find rest, an enjoyable sight and a comfortable new inspiration for his own life; here one can discover the God's Majesty gathering the nations of every language. Here you can feel already the power of the Creator awaiting the peoples from east and west, form north and south. Even the big door – the grand entrance of the Old town become often a narrow one.

It is not enough to see the picture or video of Dubrovnik. Everybody wants to come here to discover it personally, to see the walls and the streets, to touch the stones and the buildings, to enter the churches… It is the same in our faith. It is not enough to look to Jesus from far away, to admire him from a distance, or to hear his teaching as a nice entertaining story. It is important to get to know him personally, to experience his mysterious, divine presence.

It is not enough to have holy memories form the childhood; to say: "O yes, I have been through all the sacraments". A profound, devoted, relationship is needed! There is a need for the sacred time to let God know who we are intimately – as we do it in the Eucharist.

This beautiful church is the church of St. Ignatius – the founder of the Society of Jesus and the great master of western spirituality, particularly known for his  "Los Ejercicios Espirituales" – Spiritual Exercises. In his advices there is a special answer to the demands of the Lord. St. Ignatius tells the Christian to feel, to touch, to see with his entire soul; to hear and to taste in his meditation. St. Ignatius defines the one and only purpose of every spiritual exercise: it is to get to know deeply and interiorly our Lord, to love him more and more, so that we may follow him. And the great results of this proceeding we can see in the picture up here, above the altar of this church. St. Ignatius is to receive Lord's cross and his crown. He is admitted to the joyful and loving glory of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

On a touristic journey during holidays there can be sometimes lots of hardships. But we are prepared to take it only to come and enjoy the end of the journey, to come to the proposed and chosen destination. It is the same in our spiritual way with God. We have to recognize his real intentions. We have to discover the hard times of our faith as a fruitful education. It is the Father's discipline given to us. It is the Father inviting us to his school (cf. Hebr). It is the Father making us – now last to be the first ones. Amen.

Prayers of the Faithful

Priest: Let us state our needs and longings before God who is calling us to the feast of his Kingdom.

1. For our Pope Benedict, grant him spiritual light and your support to lead all your church to the narrow door of your Kingdom, Lord hear us

ALL: Lord, graciously hear us

2. For this old town of Dubrovnik, where people come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, may they see your glory, Lord hear us

ALL: Lord, graciously hear us

3. For all those who need your discipline and school, show them your love and help them make their paths straight, Lord hear us

ALL: Lord, graciously hear us

4. For all of us hearing your word and having place at your table, help us to know you ever more, Lord hear us

ALL: Lord, graciously hear us

5. For our beloved who came to the end of their path, unite them with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the prophets in your Kingdom, Lord hear us

ALL: Lord, graciously hear us

Priest: Almighty Father, you gather nations of every language. You make last be first. Hear graciously all our prayers. Through Christ our Lord.

August 22nd 2010

Fr. Niko Bilić SJ