Category : Pastoral Counseling

The Stars in Your Eyes: A Lenten Reflection from Kevin O’Connor

March 26, 2017, The Fourth Sunday of Lent

Reading 1

1 SM 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A

The LORD said to Samuel:
“Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”

As Jesse and his sons came to the sacrifice,
Samuel looked at Eliab and thought,
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel:
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because man sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse replied,
“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
“There—anoint him, for this is the one!”
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed David in the presence of his brothers;
and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.
Responsorial Psalm PS 23: 1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Reading 2 EPH 5:8-14

Brothers and sisters:
You were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light,
for light produces every kind of goodness
and righteousness and truth.
Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness;
rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention
the things done by them in secret;
but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,
for everything that becomes visible is light.
Therefore, it says:
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”
Verse Before The Gospel JN 8:12

I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
Gospel JN 9:1-41

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered,
“Neither he nor his parents sinned;
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.
We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day.
Night is coming when no one can work.
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When he had said this, he spat on the ground
and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him,
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent—.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, ”
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”
So they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”
He replied,
“The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes
and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’
So I went there and washed and was able to see.”
And they said to him, “Where is he?”
He said, “I don’t know.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again,
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”

Now the Jews did not believe
that he had been blind and gained his sight
until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight.
They asked them,
“Is this your son, who you say was born blind?
How does he now see?”
His parents answered and said,
“We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.
We do not know how he sees now,
nor do we know who opened his eyes.
Ask him, he is of age;
he can speak for himself.”
His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews,
for the Jews had already agreed
that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ,
he would be expelled from the synagogue.
For this reason his parents said,
“He is of age; question him.”

So a second time they called the man who had been blind
and said to him, “Give God the praise!
We know that this man is a sinner.”
He replied,
“If he is a sinner, I do not know.
One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”
So they said to him,
“What did he do to you?
How did he open your eyes?”
He answered them,
“I told you already and you did not listen.
Why do you want to hear it again?
Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
They ridiculed him and said,
“You are that man’s disciple;
we are disciples of Moses!
We know that God spoke to Moses,
but we do not know where this one is from.”
The man answered and said to them,
“This is what is so amazing,
that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.
We know that God does not listen to sinners,
but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.
It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind.
If this man were not from God,
he would not be able to do anything.”
They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said,
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him,
the one speaking with you is he.”
He said,
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.
Then Jesus said,
“I came into this world for judgment,
so that those who do not see might see,
and those who do see might become blind.”

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this
and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”
Jesus said to them,
“If you were blind, you would have no sin;
but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.

Meet Mike McCauley


 Meet Mike McCauley, in coming to IPS, he’s actually training for his third or fourth career. He’s worked as a journalist, communication professor and health communication researcher. Now Mike is in the IPS Mdiv program.

Why did you decide to come study at Loyola?

While I was good at my past jobs, they did not allow me to work as directly as I’d like with other people – in terms of being a one-on-one helper. Over the past few years, I’ve been captivated with the idea of becoming either a chaplain or pastoral counselor. So, I’m here to begin a new journey!

What do you do outside of class?

I like to run, and enjoy nice meals with friends. I also enjoy movies and books, and will sometimes sneak away to a club to hear great blues or jazz.


Talk a little about a class, professor or mentor who inspired you.

Jack McLeod, my first grad school mentor at the University of Wisconsin, is a wonderful man who’s had a huge influence on my life. Every time I went to Jack’s office with a question, he gave me two or three more questions to think about. That’s the mark of someone who really understands mentorship – a teacher who wants to know, with all his heart, that his students will surpass him one day, in the name of greater knowledge and understanding for all.

Any spots on campus or in Chicago that you like the most?

I spend lots of time in Highland Park on the weekends, and enjoy many of the restaurants, pubs and shops there.

What is your favorite quote?

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”   ~ Howard Thurman

A favorite book, or one that impacted you and why?

Illusions by Richard Bach. If you want to know why, just read it yourself!

What is the best compliment that someone has given you?

That I think about ordinary things in really interesting ways.  😉

Tell us about your volunteer/service work and what it means to you.

I spent last summer working as a CPE Intern at Aurora Sinai, a medical center In Milwaukee which serves traditionally marginalized population groups. I’ve never met a group of patients who were so deeply in need of care – and so grateful to the people who cared enough to provide it.

Any advice you would give students about how to get the most out of their education?

Spend enough time discerning your path, working to better understand just what, and who, you’re called to become. Once you can see this path (at least for now), dive into your studies head-on!


And finally, what do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?

Working in a role where I can use my life experience to help other people find their way. This could mean working as a chaplain or pastoral counselor, or it might involve some sort of job that I haven’t even thought of yet.

Meet Elesha West


Meet Elesha West, she’s a recent grad of Baylor University in Waco,Texas. During her undergraduate career she studied Medical Humanities and Religion. Over the years she has been actively involved in outreach and evangelism ministry in the capacity of running a summer outreach program for the south suburbs of Chicago for six consecutive years. She did Mission Work in Haiti, Croatia, Washington, D.C. , and Detroit and worked as Assistant Director for Chicago Urban Outreach.

Elesha is currently a first semester grad student in the dual Master of Divinity/ Master of Pastoral Counseling Programs.

I am so excited to start this new journey with the Loyola community. While in undergrad I was enrolled Church History and Old Testament. So, I have some knowledge of the history and the Bible, but I am eager to learn more on a greater level.

What do you do outside of class?

I love traveling, going to plays and culture events, and anything to do with water (I love the beach!).

Any spots on campus or in Chicago that you like the most? 

If I had to pick a spot in Chicago I like the most is anywhere sitting in front of the lakefront. Often times I will go up north and sit by the water for hours. 

A favorite book, or one that impacted you and why? 

The Healers Calling- Daniel Sulmasy- focuses on professionals administering healthcare from a holistic perspective . I enjoy topics such as health care from a Christian perspective, end of life care, suffering, and medical ethics.

Any advice you would give students about how to get the most out of their education? 

Ask a lot of questions and submit yourself to someone bigger and better to you! Learn from those who are doing what you would like to do.

What do you do outside of school?

I currently work part-time at Arrupe College of Loyola University and Cornerstone Christian Center.

What is your favorite quote? 

Proverbs 31: 17-18 – She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] And makes her arms strong.18  She sees that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out, but it burns continually through the night [she is prepared for whatever lies ahead].

What are your plans for after graduation?

When my program is over, I aspire to open up my own counseling practice focusing on family counseling and adolescents. My desire is to see other young people lay their life down for the church, unashamed, unhindered, and free to do what God has called them to do. Also, to be on pastoral staff at a local church as an evangelism/teaching pastor.