A note from our pastor: “You have given us your best and we promise to offer them the best education that we can give….”
What comes out of your heart?
“You have given us your best
and we promise to offer them
the best education that we can give.
But please remember, we can only
invite them into this experience,
we cannot force them.”
In 1989, at Georgetown University, Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach
(the 29th General of the Society of Jesus) spoke to Jesuits and lay colleagues who taught in colleges and universities. He reminded us all that any authentically Jesuit education must involve the mind, the heart and the hand. The mind is offered knowledge, information and ideas. The heart represents growth in kindness, hospitality, mercy and compassion. The hand represents service to those most in need.
During the last few weeks, young men and women have been heading off to colleges and universities across this nation. I spoke briefly last week with one father whose first child had left for his freshman year at college. Those of you have been through this can understand what a powerful jumble of feelings you have, as a parent, to see one of your children leave the nest—even for a good reason like a university education. What must be going on in your hearts even if you are only dropping your oldest off at St. Ignatius School to begin a year of Kindergarten? A jumble of thoughts and feelings, I suspect. And those young men and women who begin their college education at a University that requires leaving the comforting and known environment of their homes, what must be in their hearts? A jumble of thoughts and feelings, of hopes and fears, of sadness and joy, I suspect.
I have taught at two Jesuit universities—Santa Clara and Gonzaga. I have served on the Board of Trustees of Gonzaga University, the University of San Francisco, Gonzaga Prep in Spokane and Jesuit High School in Sacramento. This is the promise each of these Jesuit educational institutions, along with our own St. Ignatius School, makes to you: You have given us your best and we promise to offer them the best education that we can give. But please remember, we can only invite them into this experience, we cannot force them. We will invite them to become part of a wisdom community here at St. Ignatius, a community that investigates and discovers what is truly important in life, in the community and in our world. We promise to work closely with your sons and daughters to discover more and more the wisdom we need for thinking, acting and living wisely-how to act justly, how to love compassionately, how to discover God dwelling in all things, how to become men and women for others, people who put the common good over the privileges of the few. While we cannot make your sons and daughters wise or just in the next four or eight years, we promise to take the wisdom and justice that you have taught them and nurture that and allow it to grow so that together we can discover again and again the wisdom we so desperately need to live together respectfully in harmony and peace on this earth as God’s children.
The gospel this week invites us to examine our hearts and what comes out of them. What comes out of them when you discuss the results of the last Presidential election? What comes out of them when you comment on a politician, a teacher, a bishop, a priest, a neighbor or relative who thinks and feels and acts differently than you? What comes out of them when you hear the Catholic Church’s view of immigration or the death penalty?
I recently read a challenging article on how to lower the level of hate in debate on Social Media. The 5 Thoughts to Think Before Engaging in an Online Debate have healthy heart applications beyond simply Social Media. One—Listen before responding. Two—If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online. Three—No insults. Meet anger with kindness. Four—Find the common ground and goodness in others. Five—Consider you might be wrong.
“Create in us a clean heart, O God.” (Psalm 51:10)
August 31, 2018