Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.
Today is Tuesday the 5 November, The Feast of All Saints of the Society of Jesus.
St Ignatius recommends beginning every period of prayer by asking God for the grace to be completely open to him during this time. I can make that same prayer now, as a group of Jesuits from Colombia sing a setting of these words of St Ignatius: ‘Grant, Lord, that all my intentions, actions and operations be directed purely to your praise and your service.’ Pray as you go is a work of Jesuits in Britain, and today we give thanks for all the people in the Society who have been declared Blessed or canonized a Saint. These include very famous saints, like the Founder of the Society of Jesus, St Ignatius Loyola, or the famous Jesuit missionary St Francis Xavier, both of whom are well known by lots of people. But like All Saints’ Day, which we celebrated last week, we also remember the lesser known saints, who don’t get their own special day. Today we thank God for their example and, ask them for their prayers.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of John.
Perhaps the place to start with this challenging saying of Jesus is with the idea of fruitfulness. What kind of fruit do you think God wants you to bear in your life? Can you sense the beauty and goodness of whatever fruit that might be?
Jesus shows us a way of not clinging to life, but of living fully. Is there some aspect of his life that really appeals to you? Some aspect that might also be your way of being fully alive?
Love requires that we give of ourselves. Where in your life are you being invited to give generously without counting the cost?
As you listen again to the reading, remember that Jesus is not giving a lecture here - this isn't just talk - as he says this, he is preparing to give himself totally for you and for me.
Whatever reactions you've had to this reading, take a moment now to notice them, and to speak to Jesus about how hearing his words has moved you.