Since I can remember I have been going to church with my parents. My mom is the most religious person I know, one who attends every week and novena masses on Wednesday nights. For her, it is a quiet, personal relationship with God that is never imposed upon others or even, for that matter, really vocalized at all. Her faith never waivers and, in times of difficulty and heartache, she leans closer and relies more heavily upon her Roman Catholic upbringing. The most religious propaganda she’ll suggest to me when I call home for advice on something that I can’t handle alone is something to the effect of “Why don’t you just go sit in the chapel for a few minutes to clear your head. It really is beautiful down there on your campus.” This quiet appeal towards a dependence on God is what I believe Kolvenbach to be making for the Jesuit order. He writes that their aim was “not to impose our religion on others, but rather to propose Jesus and his message of God’s Kingdom in a spirit of love to everyone” (26).
I have had periods of doubt with my own beliefs about God but I always rationalized that it was a natural process to question the things that carry the most meaning and value in one’s life. At Saint Peter’s Prep, a Jesuit preparatory school in
Kolvenbach argues for this type of service exceptionally well when he states, “Fostering the virtue of justice in people was not enough” (27). He believes that justice cannot be merely fostered or pondered over but rather that it must be physically acted upon. Justice cannot be substantiated through thought alone but rather through acts against injustice. One’s faith or one’s convictions in right from wrong should, he seems to believe, coexist with actions to correct it. He furthers this sentiment when he continues, “Only a substantive justice can bring about the kinds of structural and attitudinal changes that are needed to uproot those sinful oppressive injustices that are scandal against humanity” (27).
The one service opportunity I had that applies to Kolvenbach’s argument stems from my time in Glenmary farm in
Each night when the kids would leave, we would sit around a campfire behind the retreat house and talk about different things that had gone on throughout the day. This one particular night after spending much of the day with the children, nearly every person harped on how genuinely good the kids were and how big their smiles could be. They should be limitless and bound by nothing yet we all knew they were unless changes could be enacted quickly. I remember one of the girls from a