“Wherever there is jealousy and ambition, you will also find discord and all that is evil.”

James 3:16

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

James 3:13-18

St Ignatius Loyola came to see that his desires for honour, power and success left him feeling discord. He was restless and empty. Slowly he becomes aware that, in the midst of his discord, God is inviting him to something new. God is inviting him to conversion. Ignatius learns new wisdom and recognises, as James tells us, that he has been living from his false wisdom.

St James tells us today that wisdom which “comes from above is pure and peace-loving”. St Ignatius, like so many before and after him, who have answered the call to conversion, discovers this: when they say yes to God their discord is calmed. They experience a “wisdom from above”, and the disposition of their hearts is “peace-loving”.

We will find that too. When we are pursuing “worldly wisdom” we will see that our hearts are in discord, and they are restless. There will be layers of bitterness, jealousy and ambition. It is precisely, as James points out, when we notice these that we are also invited to change, to conversion.

St Ignatius saw this in his own heart when he responded to God’s invitation to conversion. The impetuous and restless Ignatius becomes a person of wisdom, showing understanding and listening to advice. He becomes a man “full of compassion and good works”. He becomes a man who sows peace and reaps a harvest of justice.

God invites us to explore the root of the discord in our hearts. It is often in and through that discord that we discover what needs conversion, where we need to change. Is there bitterness, jealousy and ambition lurking in your heart that causes you to feel restless? What ‘earthly wisdom’ do you subscribe to that leaves you feeling dissatisfied. Ask God for the grace to adopt the ‘wisdom from above’.

Lord God,
Grant me the grace to see the layers in my own heart. Help me to let go of those that are rooted in worldly wisdom and leave me restless and dissatisfied. I want to embrace your wisdom, the wisdom from above.


Listen to this reflection in Sotho and Zulu

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Institute and is interested in the impact that communications technology has on society and spirituality. He regularly comments on South African Politics and various issues in the Catholic Church.

director@jesuitinstitute.org.za @rpollittsj
See more from Russell Pollitt SJ
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