Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ours on St. Ignatius' Day.

Today the Church celebrates the Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. Though many Jesuit institutions mark this day with grand public liturgies, for me there's something special about celebrating today's Mass within the intimate confines of a Jesuit community chapel. When Jesuits gather for Mass in our own communities, with none but Ours in attendance, we enjoy a privileged opportunity to celebrate the bonds of companionship and communion that unite us as Brothers in the Lord. Distracted by the demands of work or study and the various tensions generated by personal and ideological conflicts, we often forget that we are most truly united when we gather to celebrate the Eucharist in specifically Jesuit settings. Gathering for community Mass on St. Ignatius' Day gives us Jesuits a chance to remember the common commitments that bring us together and animate all that we do as a group and as individuals.

I received a personal reminder of all this when I joined a group of around ten Jesuits for a quiet, prayerful liturgy this morning at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose. Looking around the community chapel at a group of men of various ages, origins and opinions, I felt strongly that despite our differences we shared a deeper unity as members of a particular Jesuit community, as part of the global Society, and as inheritors of a great tradition. As we celebrate the memory of the pilgrim saint who continues to urge us forward under the standard of the Cross, I pray in gratitude for the gift of being called to companionship - both with Christ himself, and with all those who have been gathered together in the Society that bears the name of Jesus. AMDG.


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