Fr. Tom, 07-23-17

Dear Loyola Parishioners & Visitors:
Vacation with my novitiate classmates was great once again. We know and have known one another for 27 years now, so it is easy to get together. Yes, we did fun activities; but, we had some terrific conversations too. While talking about what people have brought into the confessional and how we have responded, one said: “ I find myself increasingly in awe of the suffering people carry and less judging of how they carry it.” In addition to marital and non-marital relationship difficulties, issues around physical intimacy, harsh self-judgment, illness (mental, physical and/or spiritual), various assaults, one brought up the real presence of evil experienced by some and how we are generally ill-prepared to talk about it with a person or to respond appropriately. Generally, the possibility of the real presence of evil in our life world is a topic many Jesuits are uncomfortable discussing and accepting as a legitimate ministry.
We talked about the Exercises and the latest Congregation’s comment that there is a certain sadness that they have not been as transformative in the lives of Jesuits as the Congregation delegates would hope. What is this transformative effect for which they would hope? The Exercises cannot be expected to solve all the personal problems of Jesuits or others nor the corporate problems of our lives together in community or
households. Families have dysfunctional members;organizations have dysfunctional leaders; and, so will our Jesuit communities, apostolates and provinces.
Finally, one shared that while recently walking the Camino for 5 weeks, he was overwhelmed each day with gratitude for his Jesuit life, including the disappointments and struggles. We agreed that we were grateful for our Jesuit lives, recognizing the experiences we have had and the people who have passed through our lives—some becoming lifelong friends—were granted us because we were Jesuits.
Fr. Tom