Through All Generations

Reflection on the daily readings for Give Us This Day, June 21st, 2022, Memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga:

When I first started teaching high school theology, I was a mess. Arriving fresh from graduate school, on fire with a love for the Gospel and for social justice, I struggled to communicate what was in my heart and mind to my students. In my frustration, I was tempted to recall the infamous dogs and swine of today’s Gospel, as if my students were trampling upon the sacred things I tried to offer them.

This is a fairly common temptation in intergenerational dialogue: as soon as communication breaks down, it often devolves into a widespread denigration of entire generations, and Millennials or Boomers or Gen Z take the blame for all society’s ills.

But God speaks to each one of us exactly where we are at, and from there, leads us with compassion to find and follow our unique vocation. And when God’s tenderness overflows in us, we extend the same to others of all generations. From this, a fruitful intergenerational dialogue becomes possible. Like Aloysius Gonzaga, we learn something about zeal and passion from those many young people who resist the wide road of social conformity. And from our elders, we learn the lifelong art of following the long and winding way of wisdom, balancing zeal with prudence, and justice with mercy, just as Robert Bellarmine counseled the young Aloysius.

The future of our Church, our communities, and even the planet depends on all generations listening to one another and working together for a common goal: the recognition of our human dignity, both in those who listen to us and in those we struggle to reach.

“Through All Generations,” from the June 2022 issue of Give Us This Day, (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2022). Used with permission.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Camille Shaffer says:

    A lofty goal yet doable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maryanne V Tuite says:

    Michael your reflection on this day resonated so well with me. I, too, was excited to begin teaching theology to high school girls after spending several years teaching in elementary school. My mistake back then -in the ‘80s – was a disaster especially to the Seniors. I was going to teach them so much ‘good news’ but neglected learning who they were and meeting them there! Ah, wisdom does come to those who learn from their failures. Those students taught me much and were kind about it. God has his ways of helping us ‘balance zeal with prudence’ as you aptly wrote. Thank you for sharing your experience as it made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my own. I’m sure the apostles had to learn these lessons as well. Listen and respond in kind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Maryanne, for the kind words. I’m glad the reflection resonated! Yes, it’s definitely a learning curve.


  3. golfheader says:

    And when God’s tenderness overflows in us, we extend the same to others of all generations.

    I ♥️ this line!

    Liked by 1 person

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