Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Jesuit Presentation and Discussion

This past Tuesday I attended a presentation and discussion about Jesuit ideals and values, and how these play a part in your life. The motto of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuit’s, is Ad maiorem Dei gloriam, “For the greater glory of God”. This means that everything that you do in life should be for God and in turn bring you closer to him. I find this to be a very interesting principle and one that I sometimes struggle with. As a biology major it is easy to get caught up in all of the new information you are learning and for it to place a boundary in between you and your beliefs. Through the discussions that I took part in I was able to come to the realization that learning this knew knowledge is really bringing me closer to God, the study of life, is really a study of the many things that God has created. This was a concept that the Maori people in the novel Whale Rider had trouble understanding. The new things that they were discovering did not have to drive a wedge in between their beliefs and traditions and how the viewed the world around them. The changes that happened could have allowed for a strengthening of values, learning and discovering new things about these animals could have allowed for a greater respect for these creatures. The Maori people, especially Koro, needed to learn that you can not separate the magical form the natural, and the spiritual from the practical, you need to combing all aspects to create a true and whole person, understanding one is not enough, you need to accept and combine all in your life. This brings me to my next discovery about Jesuit study, and that is that you must look for God in all things and establish an oneness between your spirituality and the way you live your life. God is actively playing a role in the lives of you and others, and it is our duty to pay attention to this. If we are able to relay this then we will have a better chance of become a unified person, God has provided us with the resources to live a complete life and through reflection we are able to determine what this is. An important part of the Jesuit practice is the Examination of Consciousness; the first step in this calls you to remember that you are in the presence of God, that you are his creation and that he is active in your live. The second and third steps require you to thank God for all that he has given you and to see how God has helped you throughout the day. Finally, you should examine how you lived during the day, what brought you closer to God and what took you further from him, and ask for forgiveness form your transgressions. This is a very important concept of the Jesuit teaching, it asks you to examine yourself and you practices on a daily basis. I find this difficult for it involves admitting that at times I was wrong and that I ignored the call of God in my life, through the Examine, I am able to focus my thoughts and determine how I should be living my life. The Jesuit teachings are something that plays a large role in all of our lives because it indicates that God is a constant and active presence, and like in Whale Rider we must allow for all aspects of our lives to function as one.

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