Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Jesuit Presence

The article by Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education, establishes the modern ideas and goals of the Society of Jesus. In regards to the discussions of home, this entire article brings me home. I attended McQuaid, an all-boys Jesuit high school in my Rochester area. The ideas discussed from the 32nd General Congregation involving the service of faith and promotion of justice have been present in my schooling due to McQuaid’s Mission Statement and the education I received there.
Every time I hear the phrases such as men for others and AMDG, I instantly think of home and the memories of high school. These memories include the sense of brotherhood and the camaraderie that I felt at McQuaid. Although one could agree this was simply because the people were good natured, while this is not false, I attribute it to the Jesuit presence and the ideals that were expected from us as students. In order to graduate, I had to accumulate at least 100 hours of community service. Kolvenbach speaks of the necessity to go out into the world, learn, grow and experience the lives and needs of others. McQuaid helped me to recognize and consider the lives of others and the importance of helping to improve those lives.
In regards to being a man for others, I heard this statement almost every day. I think it represents the ability of people to step outside and away from their own needs, wants and desires in order to help those less fortunate or those who need a helping hand. My understanding is that the phrase means to help anyone at any time with anything, whether big or small, important or unimportant. Not only in a physical sense, but also in the emotional and spiritual sense, I believe that this phrase applies.
Another important and related phrase that I learned in high school is “Ignem Mettere in Terram” which means to “Go Forth and Set Fire Upon the Earth.” This latin phrase is one I particularly like because it is a fantastic metaphor to represent the result of a continual dedication and awareness towards others. Like fire, the attitudes and ideals of the Jesuits in action can grow and multiple to affect the entire world. By continually being a man for others, performing service, and acquiring a better understanding of the world, the goals of the Society of Jesus can be realized. The metaphor, for me, also represents the spirit or fire within every man and to go forth and touch others in a positive way, this spirit catches on in the souls of every man and as a result, can improve the conditions of the world.

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