Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 30 • JUL 28 - AUG 03, 2018

01 Cover

posted Jul 25, 2018, 11:20 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 26, 2018, 11:58 PM ]


03 Index

posted Jul 25, 2018, 11:19 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 25, 2018, 11:19 AM ]


04 Engagements

posted Jul 25, 2018, 11:18 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 25, 2018, 11:18 AM ]


05 Editorial - St Ignatius - Patron of Retreats

posted Jul 25, 2018, 11:13 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 26, 2018, 11:59 PM ]

On July 31, we celebrate the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola, the soldier saint and founder of the Society of Jesus. A passionate Spaniard, who was after vainglory, to win fame in war as a soldier of his earthly king, broke with his past to become a Soldier for Christ. Two books—The Life of Christ and The Life of Saints—which he read during his convalescence, while recovering from his battle injuries, transformed his life to a career of holiness.

From the age of 29, Ignatius started his pilgrimage with God—a friendship with God. He prefers to call himself a pilgrim, as he was a constant seeker. He became aware of his interior world, and names the two prominent feelings as 'consolation' and 'desolation', marking the beginning of the spiritual process of which he would become a renowned master over the years. It is through his spiritual journey from self-centredness to God-centredness that he would learn the art of discernment of spirits, and would guide many, as a lay person, to live in God, because of which he is acclaimed as the patron saint of Retreats.

He allowed himself to be guided by the Spirit, and led a life of prayer, austerity and penance, by which he was able to find God's guidance. With his personal Trinitarian God experience at Manresa Cave, for ten months he wrote the famous Church-approved 'The Spiritual Exercises' - the one-month Silent Retreat formula, which would eventually invite many for a deeper experience of God, resulting in the radical commitment to Christ in a charism of service to others.

Thus, the first apostolic Order, 'The Society of Jesus', was founded by him with his like-minded companions that he had gathered during his Master's studies in Paris, whom he called the 'Friends in the Lord'; St Francis Xavier was one of them. Ignatius was convinced that it was fundamental to the growth of the Society of Jesus to be able to easily find God in all things. The ultimate goal for Ignatius was the Greater Glory of God and the good of the other, for which he offered himself completely.

We can learn two things from St Ignatius: Examination of Conscience and Discernment. St Ignatius underlines the importance of Examination of Conscience as a non-negotiable prayer. The Five steps: 1. Thanksgiving and gratitude 2. Petitioning and trust in the Divine Providence 3. Review and constant awareness 4. Forgiveness and contrition 5. Renewal and resolving to improve are the structure of the examen.

St Ignatius, with all his experience, had devised a method of awareness to be vigilant and ever abiding in the presence of God, and to be ever attentive to the promptings of the Spirit. Examination of Conscience is also an indispensable tool to evaluate, and to renew and rejuvenate our actions and attitude to be in conformity with that of Christ's mind and heart. "Spiritual Practices, with all their riches, benefit greatly from periodic renewal." It is a means to course correction and ongoing conversion.

To be a discerning person is to be interiorly free, and to always focus on the will of God as our priority. We speak of freedom as an ultimate right of the human person. How free are we and how conditioned are we? What am I doing? Why am I doing it? Why am I doing it that way? How do I succeed in doing that? What is success, according to me? Am I doing what is right? Are our decisions humanising us? Can I do it rightly?

At every juncture in life, St Ignatius would ask "What ought I to do?" It is a very important pause and reflection we need in our life when we are faced with situations filled with choices. Our interior strength and enlightenment will help us make a proper choice. Following the interior movements and becoming aware of our self and of the world, we will be able to assess the situation well. The more we are liberated and enlightened, the better our choices will be. And the more we are God-centred, 
the more humane we become.

Fr M A Leo Anand sj has worked with Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) in Afghanistan.

06 From Imitation to Identification - Fr K. John Cyriac S.J.

posted Jul 25, 2018, 11:11 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 25, 2018, 11:12 AM ]

St Ignatius of Loyola grew up steeped in the tradition of imitation. Born in 1491, in Spain, the youngest among thirteen children, he followed in the footsteps of his brothers, who became soldiers for local Spanish rulers. Schooled in the legacy of his forefathers and local folklore, he desired to be a knight. Like a traditional knight, he was filled with total unbridled loyalty and commitment to a king. The 30-year-old "Inigo" was surrounded by the garrison of the French troops. This cost him his leg, but his imitation of a valiant knight won him the admiration of the French troops who escorted him to the castle of Loyola.

While recovering at the castle, desiring and looking forward to imitating courtiers at the court, he discovered that his leg was not set straight. Like a brave knight, clenching only his fist, he allowed the doctors to break his leg once again, and reset the bones. During the long and protracted convalescence, he wanted to while away the time by reading books on Amadís de Gaul. This was not to be, as the castle housed only two books – The Life of Christ and The Life of Saints. While reading these books, he found that the thoughts of chivalry no longer gave him sustained delight. However, the more he read the lives of saints, and the more he sought to imitate them, the more joy he experienced.

Inigo, the knight errant who served an earthly King, left home in 1522. He was now to become a Pilgrim, with his eyes set on doing great things for God by outdoing the saints in their acts of penance. He began with a night vigil at the Shrine of Aranzazu, like other knights who kept similar vigils while embarking on something new. The neophyte pilgrim was then slowly schooled in spiritual matters by God at Montserrat and Manresa. As he watched his plans of imitating the Saints being shattered, he felt and understood that God was leading him to something bigger. Inigo would begin to experience interiorly the process of mystically identifying with our Lord. Imitating the example of other pilgrims, he soon embarked for the Holy Land. There too, he found God calling him to serve Him, not through the path of imitation, but through the path of academic learning. In the subsequent years, through schooling at Barcelona and the universities of Alcala and Salamanca, and finally at the University of Paris in 1535, Inigo the pilgrim would become 'Master Ignatius'.

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07 The Jesuit Ethos - Fr. Errol Fernandes SJ

posted Jul 25, 2018, 11:09 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 25, 2018, 11:09 AM ]

The Greek word 'ethos' has been defined as "the characteristic spirit of a culture, community or institution as manifested in its attitude, aspirations and way of proceeding." In other words, Ethos means the guiding spirit and beliefs or what an institution stands for. Of the many guiding beliefs that make up the Jesuit Ethos, I will choose four, which I think are fundamental for any Jesuit, Jesuit institution and any one associated with the Jesuits.

The overarching characteristic which encompasses all others is the MAGIS. The word Magis has often been rendered "More". It is, in fact, the adverbial form of the adjective "maior," and can be translated "to a greater extent" or "more nearly" in addition to "the more."

In the life of Ignatius (and so in the life of any Jesuit and those associated with the Jesuits), however, the Magis was more than a word or a term; it was an attitude. Ignatius possessed this attitude, even before his conversion from knight for king to knight for God. He always desired to do better; to do more. He was never content with the status quo, with the tried and tested. For him, mediocrity was never an option. This attitude showed itself in his bravery, daring and courage, both in battle and at other times. In the initial years after his "conversion", the Magis was about DOING MORE. After his "conversion", however, it was not merely "doing more," but "doing more for God the heavenly king." He believed that if the saints before him could do so much for God, he too could do it and even better. Thus, he was constantly searching for newer, better and more challenging ways of doing things. This desire to do more sometimes led to extremes, in the hope that he would be considered as one who had gone beyond, who had done more.

Soon, the Magis became not so much a quality, but an attitude. It became an attitude that permeates all that an individual is, and therefore does. The man or woman of the Magis is constantly driven to rediscover, redefine and reach out for the more, the newer, the better, only because that is what God wants for him or her. Then, the good becomes better, the better become better still, and the better still becomes still better. The man or woman of the Magis is one who is bold, with a holy boldness which has its roots in Jesus and in Jesus' relationship with the Father. Everything that such a person does flows from this relationship.

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09 When the Jesuits returned to Bombay - Fr. Myron J. Pereira SJ

posted Jul 25, 2018, 11:07 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 25, 2018, 11:08 AM ]

This year, 2018, two famous Jesuit institutions, St Xavier's High School, and St Xavier's College, both located at Dhobi Talao, will be celebrating 150 years of their establishment. It's a good occasion to reflect on the significant contribution of the sons of St Ignatius Loyola to education, both secular and religious, in this cosmopolitan city.

Bishop Hartmann's request

In March 1850, Bishop Anastasius Hartmann, a Swiss Capuchin (who had been assigned to Bombay as its new Vicar Apostolic) arrived to take charge in the city.

Conditions in Bombay during the terms of his predecessors, the Carmelite Vicars Apostolic, were so dismal that they have been called the "dark ages" of the Church. This was because of the continuous in-fighting among the various Catholic groups. Briefly, the Archbishop of Goa asserted his rights under Padroado as the sole legitimate Church authority, and most of the Goan Catholic community supported him.

Against the Padroado faction were the supporters of Propaganda, the Carmelite Vicars Apostolic, who disputed this claim. It was into this situation that Bishop Hartmann was thrust.

It did not take him long to see that what the Catholic community needed was social uplift, and that could only come about through education.

It is true that there were a few schools, set up by pioneering laymen in the island city – Barretto Charity School (Cavel, 1778), Antonio de Souza School (Byculla, 1797), and other small schools attached to parish churches. There was even a seminary lodged at Medows Street in the Bombay Fort, though it was in a poor condition.

Bishop Hartmann's plans were clear. He wanted to open a college (actually a 'high school') and for this, he realised that the Jesuits were the best people to run it (and the seminary as well). So Hartmann wrote to the Jesuit General, Jan Roothaan, but Roothaan had no one to send, and turned him down. Still, Hartmann persevered, and in 1852, Roothaan's successor, Peter Beckx accepted this mission, and entrusted it to the German Jesuit province.

Jesuit Schools: the beginnings

On January 5, 1853, the Jesuit, Fr Walter Steins, a native of Holland, landed in Bombay. He was soon followed by another four Jesuits. There was initial disagreement as to where the college and the seminary should be started; Hartmann had wanted it in Bandra, for the orphanage of St Stanislaus and its church, St Peter's, had been offered to the Jesuits. But Steins was adamant that the location should be in Bombay island.

And this, in fact, is where the educational work of the Jesuits started.

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10 The Battlefield Within - Wesley D’Costa S.J.

posted Jul 25, 2018, 11:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 25, 2018, 11:06 AM ]

The march of St Ignatius" is a hymn popularly sung on his feast day on July 31. It boasts of St Ignatius as a noble knight and a brave soldier. These two words, a saint and a soldier, being used to describe one person seem rather contradictory. The characteristics associated with a saint seem very different from those associated with a soldier. St Ignatius was able to reconcile the differences between these two profiles—a saint and a soldier—because he shifted his focus from the battlefield that was outside to the battlefield within.

The Battlefield Outside: In his autobiography, St Ignatius claims that during the early years of his life, he spent most of his time and energy in the pursuit of what he calls "vainglory"; in other words, honour, fame and riches. During the battle of Pamplona, his army was struggling, and the soldiers felt the need to retreat. However, he refused to go back, stood his ground and fought, even if it meant certain death. He was grievously injured in the battle. The enemy was fascinated by this man who fought so bravely, and they ensured that he could receive the necessary medical treatment. Through these events, we see the type of person he was, a person who was highly ambitious, and who generously gave of himself in the service of the king and his country.

The Transition: When we consider the life that St Ignatius lived before his search for God could begin, it is difficult to comprehend the transition, the conversion or the transformation in his life. What could be the odds that a person whose whole being was geared to leading armies in battle, winning honours and earning a great reputation would suddenly turn to a lifestyle that meant a life of prayer, fasting, service of the poor, rejections and humiliations? A lifestyle that proclaimed values quite contrary to what he sought all his life.

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11 Facta non Verba - Deeds, not Words - Philip Dias

posted Jul 25, 2018, 11:03 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 25, 2018, 11:04 AM ]

The Society of Jesus started by St Ignatius is, perhaps, the first Order to undertake officially, and by virtue of its Constitutions, active works such as the education of youth of all classes, the instruction of the ignorant and the poor, ministering to the sick, to prisoners, etc. This was a notable and significant movement away from the contemporary monastic type of living that had come to be identified with religious life. Therefore, 'action' is the hallmark of Jesuit spirituality. While prayer, piety and religious devotion are an essential part of our lives, noticeable in Jesuit parishes is 'action-oriented' spirituality, with a constant effort to translate our spirituality into a tool for 'reaching out' and putting into action St Ignatius' words, "Love ought to consist of deeds more than of words."

A simple study of the works of St Ignatius points to a basic Christian teaching that love of God cannot be separated from love for others; the two will always go hand in hand. Piety must be accompanied by acts of reaching out to our neighbour. In one of his letters, this is what St Ignatius has to say, "Friendship with the poor makes us friends of the eternal King. Love of poverty makes kings even on earth; kings not of earth, but of heaven."

The Ignatian spirit of praxis seeks to combine reflection and action, and to put theory into action. St Ignatius himself performed his healing work, not by standing detached from the poor, but by dispensing support to those who needed it in a very practical way. St Ignatius' teachings have given a great thrust to the empowerment of the marginalised – uneducated, tribals and women. Missionaries have faced the wrath of landlords and of the land mafia, but the zeal of mission has been a driving force against odds and obstacles.

In our parishes, also, there is a constant effort to live by the Ignatian spirit of mission. In my own parish, over the last few years, we have adopted an Outreach Programme that has been very successful. The programme starts with stalls that are set up in the parish to generate funds for the work intended. Each community, around the season of Advent, visits rehabilitation homes, large slums, homes for orphans, for old age, for destitute women, for street children, and so on. While talking to them and entertaining them over a few hours is a given, this programme goes beyond. Needs of the groups are identified through dialogue and discussion, and such needs are met through healthy financial assistance, and sometimes through repeat visits. The communities do not limit themselves to Christian groups, but any one in need, especially neglected groups. What is most gladdening is that the entire programme happens at the level of lay persons, under the guidance of the Parish Priest. And this is evidence that Ignatian Spirituality is not just a domain of the Parish team, but has percolated down to the Community and individual levels, and is bearing fruit.

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12 Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam - Raymond Pinto

posted Jul 25, 2018, 11:02 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 25, 2018, 11:02 AM ]

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing [Stephen Covey]. For the Jesuits, the main thing is to keep the main mission the main thing. However, the main mission for the Jesuits is a very flexible thing… that is to say, to do anything so long as it is for the greater glory of God! Yet, such a flexible idea surprisingly came, if I dare say, from quite a rigid person – St Ignatius of Loyola. His life was extraordinarily focused, and even after he was wounded and in the recovery phase in bed, he kept probing to know God's will, and as to what shape his main mission is to be. Ignatius transformed himself from a 'Glory be' individual to doing 'more for God's Greater Glory'. Thus came into being the Society of Jesus with St Ignatius as its founder.

St Ignatius formulated the 'Spiritual Exercises' which is the template of the widely popular 'Ignatian Spirituality' or 'Silent Retreat' conducted all over the world, and experienced not only by Jesuits, but thousands of lay people, especially in Jesuit parishes. During his lifetime, Ignatius finetuned the Spiritual Exercises, and while doing so, he gave the Jesuits a brand new four-letter word – "A-M-D-G". One will find these four letters inscribed on walls and portals of Jesuit churches and institutions. You will also find it written on the top or bottom of Jesuit letters and documents. The AMDG is an Ignatian Force Multiplier. The four letters stand for Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam—the Latin phrase meaning "To/for the Greater Glory of God" and it guides the main mission for every Jesuit. This phrase is easy to remember, and probably understood as a concept. But ask a Jesuit, and he will silently tell you, it is much more than a simple four-letter word, and this is true. Do we not all believe that the prime motive in our lives is to do God's will? That our thoughts, words and actions are directed in promoting the glory of God? Stop just now, pick up your mobile phone and check for yourself if the WhatsApp forwards or messages you indulge in promote the glory of God. And this is only one of the Actively Mundane Daily Grind for many of us—a secular pitfall in the times we live in! We engage and encourage others in this type of a 'secular AMDG', because our fast-paced lives leave no time for silence, contemplation and to seek God's will in matters that constitute our daily grind. It's only then that we can know what gives Glory to God. Let us then, look at what is "God's Glory" and why "Greater", so as to make AMDG our very own force multiplier.

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