"Let him desire and seek nothing except the greater praise and glory of God our Lord as the aim of all he does. For every one must keep in mind that in all that concerns the spiritual life his progress will be in proportion to his surrender of self-love and of his own will and interests."
St. Ignatius of Loyola, SJ
“Thus, the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.”
by Anne Hansen
We have heard these words countless times, yet they take on new meaning as we continue to slog through an increasingly difficult period in our national history.
The pursuit of power, money, and individual freedom supplant the pursuit of the common good. The least among us, defined by powers beyond our control, suffer injustice that is impossible to ignore. The COVID 19 pandemic continues, taking more lives than expected while many choose to ignore sound practices about masking and social distancing. The story has not changed in months. It is wearing on the psyche and the soul.
How did we get to this point of confusion, fear, and rhetoric that a few years ago would have shocked even the most callous among us? The list of things that might help answer this question is long, but the more important question is how can we bring calm and peace to our families and our communities? Few of us have the power to bring about significant change, yet collectively we can garner a voice that will make a difference.
In the spirit of bringing positive change to local communities Ignatians West has joined with other ministries within the vast Jesuits West Province in seeking justice for the least among us, those excluded, maligned, and treated unjustly. From a six month’s long discernment process across the ministries of the province CORE, Collaborative Organizing for Racial Equity, was born. CORE offers practical resources that include theological reflections, ideas for public action and resources for personal development as well as strategies to help institutions realize racial equity. Ignatians West is committed to post carding and phone banking to remind people to vote. Loyola High School is offering an online retreat for racial equity Spiritual Exercises for Our Time. This is a start, not an end game. There are countless issues that render so many as the least among us begging for attention.
In turbulent times we may question God. We want a cure, an end to violence, rational discourse over policies that affect citizens, justice for those so deliberately ignored or wrongly pursued, so we pray daily for all these things and others. Yet, it seems chaos increases, and prayers go unheard. God’s way is not our way. God gave each of us the gift of intellect and free will. God is not going to magically eliminate all the injustice, the poverty, the racism or the coronavirus, however, God gave us the ability to bring about change if we are willing to work for the common good of neighbors we know and those we will never know.
Ignatians West is committed to prayer and action to bring dignity, peace, and justice to our communities. We pray for leaders who are perceived to be among the first, given their status, but perhaps are in fact the least, as wealth and power do not guarantee compassion or happiness. As my 100-year-old father often says, “We are all children of God, even those we do not like or disagree with.”
09/06/2020 "Ignatians West Volunteers: Servant Leaders"
08/23/2020 "Introducing María Behn and Roger Burg"
08/02/2020 "Introducing Ann Holmquist and Joel Andryc"
08/01/2020 "Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola"
07/05/2020 "Introducing Cathy Grove and Tony Fadale"
06/08/2020 "Introducing Fr. Randy Roche, SJ"