May 10, 2006

The Jesuits

Hat tip to Amy Welborn who beat me to this article in America.

Interesting. I have no doubt that the ideals expressed by the Jesuits may be taken superficially by some...but that wasn't my experience, nor that of my undergrad contemporaries with the Jesuits at Fordham, nor is the experience of my friends who attended Fordham Prep for High School. I found that many of us were taught these ideals in the strictest sense--challenging us in many ways and providing much fodder for our personal lives of prayer.

We were taught a good balance (in college, mind you) by both those in campus ministry and those in the classroom of both contemplation and community. AND it was emphasized that we needed both and furthermore, that integration between one's personal piety and the world we lived in was more than neccessary.

We live a life as prayer because we are followers of Jesus and Ignatius. We treat others a certain way because of our belief--our lives are changed once that belief takes firm hold in our mature selves. We are no longer children but men and women. And in maturity we do not simply exist for ourselves but rather we need to be for others.

Once I heard this in college, my faith radically changed. For the first time, I saw people who were truly living the gospel (not all mind you, but more than you might think--and certainly more than I had experienced in the church I belonged to up until my time at Fordham, which tended to be exclusivist, judgmental, and in more than a few ways racist and class restrictive).
The Jesuits made me see Christ and dare to become like him. Most importantly, they encouraged worship and contemplation daily. Setting time aside each day for an Examen, mass, and other sacramentals.

Everyone else just told me to worship Christ, punch my Sunday time card and forget about those outside the walls.

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