Return to Campus

Visit our FAQ website for the latest information about health and safety.

Back to Top

Jesuit Values

Jesuit ideals

Remember the 12 pavers on the walkway to Monroe Library that exhibit the Jesuit ideals? They represent the tenets of a Loyola education and present a path to being our best selves. Although we can’t enjoy their message together on campus right now, we can still reflect on the meaning of these Jesuit teachings that help feed our souls and unite us in our mission.

We invited staff, faculty, students, and board members to reflect on their favorite Jesuit ideal and on how it translates into their daily life and spiritual path. You are invited to read their reflections below, and we hope these words ignite a spirit of hope in each of us.


Discerning Mindset: Finding God in All Things

 

Finding God in all things is something that you might not notice at first but when you look back at your experiences you’ll realize it. God truly is in all things. I recently was playing golf with a mutual friend and he asked me what I was planning on doing after school. I responded I’m trying to find a job in medical sales. Chris immediately put me in contact with his son who works for a medical sales company and has been for a while. I ended up getting his contact information and a lot of advice from him over the phone. The week prior to this I was starting to feel hopeless about finding a job after a long four years of school. While this whole week it seems like I keep meeting or hearing about more mutual friends who are in the industry who want to offer advice and help me out in any way. God truly does work though other people and it’s amazing to see how it happens.

John Dickson
Loyola senior

 

This is my favorite Jesuit value because God is everywhere and it is the core of Ignatian spiritual growth. I translate this into my daily life by seeing all God created. When I'm just sitting and watching the wind blow I see God at work letting me know that he is here with me. I always look for God in everyone and everything that I see because he created this world and everything in it.

Valencia Luke
Associate Director of Student Records

 

Since my office is in the Monroe Library, I have often walked the pathway where the Jesuit values are inscribed. Each statement is an inspiration, and they build in meaning as you walk by them. I would find that two or three of them would especially resonate with me at a given time.

Here, now, I am living a distilled life, as are we all. As I read these beautiful ideals today, it is especially difficult to choose just one. Our lives have shrunk to the walls of our living spaces, and yet grown to encompass the whole planet. At some moments I feel an anguish that weighs on my shoulders, my heart; a malaise shared by all humanity.

And yet… I have my yoga mat for my practice, and take classes from great teachers from throughout the country. I have my Victory Garden, a new grace; having never had a garden before, I now experience the daily growth, beauty, and mystery of it. I have my work, helping colleagues communicate with students and each other so that the important work of our university can move forward. I communicate with friends and family. And somehow, the very act of living feels more significant, more meaningful

For isn’t it always true that while we are physically confined, we are connected to the whole world? As I reread these ideals, I realize that they are all embodied in a Discerning Mindset: Finding God In All Things. I believe that somehow, we must make this heart wrenching experience a call to action, so that we may realize our connection to all people in a very deep and meaningful way, and turn that realization into action, and contribution.

Susan Brower
Media Services Coordinator

 

Some people look at a sunset and see only a burning ball of gas. Their scientific mind is at work. Some look at a sunset and see an awesome wonder of nature. Their aesthetic mind is at work. Some look at a sunset and see God, awesome and entrancing. Their religious, transcending mind is at work.

Some see a new born baby, and their minds turn to sperm and egg and gestation periods. They scientifically admire nature at work. Some see new human life and a nursing mother. They are touched by the mystery of human love at work. Some see this little person as a miracle. Their religious heart sees God at work.

We make an unnecessarily critical comment to someone. We say, “I’m sorry you got so upset.” Then we realize that we made the remark because of our pride. So, we say, “I am sorry that I hurt you.” Then we realize that we have abused one of God’s own children. Now we say, “Forgive me, God, for obstructing the smooth flow of your love.”

We can be discerning physicists or archivists or house cleaners, able to see aspects of the world that others overlook. We can be discerning historians or sociologists or mail carriers, able to see human life in its ever changing patterns. We can be discerning religious people, whose hearts look for and find God in all things.

Edward Vacek, S.J., Ph.D.
The Reverend Stephen J. Duffy Chair in Catholic Studies


International and Global Perspective

I regularly linger over the “Ideals of a Jesuit Education” on my walks to and fro across campus. As I savor this particular ideal, I notice the adjectives seem repetitive. Perhaps the repetition is meant to double down on the value of breadth of outlook, and that’s a good thing. Yet, perhaps, the adjectives are distinct. “International” suggests borders and cultures, both of which are human products that can divide and exclude. “Global” has more of a geological than cultural ring to it and suggests connections to other geological formations across the universe. These two adjectives then may be inviting both cultural sensitivity and scientific wonder.

The noun, “perspective,” suggests narrowness. “Well, that’s my perspective on the matter.” And it strikes me as valuable to acknowledge our limitations, our finitude, including in our perspectives. How shaped we are by our place of birth, where we grew up, the privileges afforded us! It is only in conversation—in person on campus and with interlocutors across time and space mediated online and in books—that we recognize our limitations and begin to broaden, though never fully, our horizons.

What a gift this ideal of a Jesuit education is!

Thomas F. Ryan
Director of the Loyola Institute for Ministry
Marjorie R. Morvant Distinguished Professor in Theology and Ministry
Associate Dean of the College of Nursing and Health

 

Loyola is a Catholic and Jesuit university. There are 1.2 billion Catholics living all over the world, and as part of its teaching mission the Church has founded colleges and universities in almost every country.

As a university founded and sponsored by the Society of Jesus, Loyola is one of 189 Jesuit colleges and universities world-wide. For these reasons, the Loyola community needs only to look around to recognize these connections, which give it a global and international perspective.

Christianity began as an off-shoot of Judaism in the Eastern Mediterranean. How and why did it spread? The simplest answer is the best: its founder Jesus Christ gave it a universal mission when he commanded his followers to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

When European Catholics learned of the millions of people in North and South America, Asia, Africa, Oceania who had never heard of Christ, they were moved to send missionaries to them with the goal to found a local Catholic church that was indigenous. Integral to the development of a local, native Church were educational institutions of all kinds at all levels. Among those founded were the many Catholic colleges and universities. Among the189 Jesuit colleges and universities world-wide, many were founded as part of the Jesuit missions to establish local Churches.

If this was the past, what of the present? How would we characterize global and international relations today? Means of communication make possible interchanges of all kinds. The mission era was one-sided in that the Catholic faith was brought from where it was established to where it was to be established. Now global relations are reciprocal, back and forth. So music files, cell phones, air travel, the internet, and migration enable Africans, Asians, South Americans to share their song, dance, food, film, literature, crafts, and so forth with Europeans and North Americans. Exchanges now go both ways. Nigerian films (“Nollywood”) and Indian films (“Bollywood’) are shown world-wide, and more than half of American films’ earnings come from distribution outside the USA.

I saw this up close when teaching young Jesuits in Zimbabwe. The film Titanic was distributed world-wide shortly after it was released. My students, all Africans, loved it and some saw it several times. On my first home visit the Zimbabwean composer/singer Thomas Mapfumo was playing at the House of Blues in New Orleans. At the same time Zimbabweans were excited by the rumor that Dolly Parton would appear in concert there. She was one of the most popular singers and her songs circulated widely in pirated audio tapes.

All the products of all cultures now seem to be available almost everywhere. Surely Loyola is connected to these global and international networks in addition to its long-standing links with other Catholic and Jesuit universities around the world.

Fr. Stephen Rowntree, S.J.


Special Concern for the Poor and Oppressed

I don’t have just one favorite Jesuit value, but I will mention one that is very close to my heart: Special concern for the poor and oppressed. I think we have a personal and collective responsibility to change the world. You can do it in many ways, from new and amazing inventions to leading a country. But nothing is more rewarding than helping others live a better life. Be aware of people’s suffering and struggles, and do the best you can to help. Use your knowledge, experience and creativity to eradicate poverty and oppression. We should strive to do it all the time.

Uriel Quesada
Interim Dean
College of Arts and Sciences

 

This past semester, I took a class with Dr. Alcazar - Our Environment and Spirituality class - in his classes, a lot was mentioned about the spirituality of the environment. We reflected on Jesuit values during that class. Special concern for the poor and oppressed, I think, is an important one and we talked about how the poor are trapped, you know, like it's not their fault. They're in those situations. And if we actually care, we would do more for them, and we would try to create more of an equal ground, and make sure everyone is taken care of in terms of basic living necessities. Yes, I'm a big fan of the Jesuit values. I think that even if you're not religious, they speak to you, and those are good morals to carry with you.

Zach Boylan
Sophomore


Linking Faith With Justice

At the core of this Jesuit value a question is raised, "How does our Faith influence the way we treat others and assist in the advancement of causes that aren't our own?" In my daily life, this value translates into how I utilize my faith to treat others better and develop a more socially conscious self.

Freedom Richardson
SGA President Elect

 

Because I firmly believe that "Faith without works is dead," and that we are called to embody our spiritual values in this human world. I do my best to support just causes on a daily basis through anti-racism, progressive politics, and reparations.

Tonya Jordan-Loht
Office of Alumni Engagement

 

This last weekend our Jesuit Community gathered in our backyard — not for a BBQ but for a prayer vigil. Why not the chapel? Well it’s summer and we have a beautiful garden so we borrowed an idea from our neighbors who frequently project the Saints games with their family and friends in their backyard. So, with our borrowed concept and makeshift screen and projector, we gathered to pray with Jesuits and friends from around the globe for a series of testimonies, music & dance, combined with interactive moments that invited participants to share prayers and points of gratitude.  Some of us had participated in the George Floyd peaceful protests earlier in the day so the prayer service was a welcome activity to renew ourselves and welcome the Spirit to renew the face of the earth.  Prayer and community truly is the fuel that allows for the continued pursuits of justice. You can watch the service here.

So, on a day that felt like so strange, due to the suffering and injustices being exposed all around us, a few of us gathered, with more gathered in over 100 countries, where Jesuits are collaborating with lay men and women across the globe with so many different ministries, cultures and across such great geographical distances. Despite the barriers, thousands of people throughout the world speaking in their own native tongues gathered. Through the Spirit, we were able to understand and see no differences amongst us giving a sense of hopefulness. The testimonials and images spoke of gifts, gratitude and graces.  And all of these various gifts and graces, pointed towards the goodness of a generous God, rich with love and mercy, who bestows every gift needed through the Spirit.

It is evident that we need many good gifts during these challenging times in our fractured nation and hurting world. So, we turn toward our good God, to ask for the gifts we need as individuals and a community of faith. What is the gift you hope for this day? How might you use that gift to bring healing and hope to our fractured world? 

A faith that does justice is a project of life that uses our unique gifts to transform ourselves and the world more according to God’s vision of the Kingdom for love, mercy and justice. The tragic death of George Floyd exposes the systemic racism that threatens our prosperity as a nation and our ability to advance God’s vision. 

If our faith isn’t compelling us to help address the injustices around us, we might want to consider if it is really faith at all. Clearly, the time is now, for us to challenge ourselves and our Loyola community to pursue a faith that does justice which elevates the human dignity of all people.

Even though there is no clear solution right now let us trust that God will bestow upon us every gift we need at this time—guiding us through the Spirit who will reconcile all to God’s goodness, in God’s own time in God’s own way—renewing the face of the earth. Will you lend your hands, head and heart to the project?

Justin Daffron, S.J.
Vice President for Mission and Identity


Appreciation of Things Both Great and Small

I believe that taking the time to see the beauty and value in something, no matter its size or meaning, can foster feelings of gratitude. With gratitude, all that we have becomes enough and we can experience and appreciate the joys in our world around us without wanting for more.

Samantha Pollard
Accessibility Counselor

 

I love the Bible stories of Martha and Mary because they teach us that both attention to the details (Martha) and to be present to who is in front of us (Mary) are important. I'm tasked with a lot of details and if you've ever been to my office, you'll see an image of Martha hanging over my desk. She reminds me that the details can wait and the student or person who comes to my office - either in person/on the phone/on an email is the most important person to me at the moment. I don't know much about St. Ignatius, but I do know he was attentive to the big picture of moving his ideals forward but also planned his great Spiritual Exercises with great detail and yet allowed flexibility for individual circumstances. He also kept in touch with his missionaries to encourage them to be attentive to the culture around them but advised them on specific circumstances.

Diane Blair
Manager of Admissions and Student Services
Loyola Institute for Ministry 

 

Sometimes a grain of sand in my shoe seems bigger than an entire beach. Sometimes a student's bonus point for sharing a picture of "with and for fellow classmates" seems bigger than any assignment grade. Other times being part of a value-driven-university-community gives me a seed of hope and the spark that let's us set the world on fire with love and learning.

Kendra Reed
Barry and Teresa LeBlanc Professor in Business Ethics
Professor of Management

 

Last month I was riding my bike while the moon was setting behind me and the sun was rising in front of me. I felt strongly consoled by the solar and lunar energy—literally making me feel lifted up. I felt deep gratitude for the Glory of God which surrounds us through the created world each and every day. I got off my bike and looking to the left towards the sun and then to the right towards the moon, I recalled the words of Psalm 148:

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.

And then I felt, the Psalm expanding in my own heart with the following words:

Praise God from your place on this beach;
praise God from your small place in the vast Universe.
Praise God through your work at Loyola;
praise God in the City of New Orleans.
Praise God, with all the faculty, staff and students;
praise God as the Loyola Community.
Praise God through appreciating both things large and small;
praise God through gratitude for every good gift.

Grounding ourselves in gratitude for the large and small gifts of each day has the potential to draw us closer to God and each other. So, let us continue to pursue gratitude for every good gift, as we enjoy the warm glow of the sun and moon throughout the days of summer.

Justin Daffron, S.J.
Vice President for Mission and Identity 


Critical Thinking and Effective Communication

 

Answering which Jesuit value is my favorite is like asking me which spider species is my favorite. Do I have to pick only one? If I do, Critical Thinking And Effective Communication is my favorite because I value the science that I am passionate about as much as I value teaching others why the science is important and applicable to them. I love how the interconnectedness of environmental science allows me to study issues that have potential economic, political, technical, cultural, social, and ecological implications.

Aimée K. Thomas

Assistant Professor of Biology

 

I write this reflection from the perspective of the College of Law. One of the first surprises that first-year law students experience is contradictory decisions. The typical student’s reaction is that a proposition is either true or it is not. We law professors spend a lot of time teasing out subtle factual differences between the two cases to conclude that both were correctly decided. Of course, it is possible that one of the cases was incorrectly decided. In one of the courses that I teach, Constitutional Law, I spend a significant amount of time explaining the historical setting of a decision. For example, the infamous Dred Scott decision, which held that slaves were not citizens and so could not sue in federal court, was an attempt by the Supreme Court to stem off the abolitionist movement which was rapidly dividing the country. Similarly, in the early Twentieth Century the Supreme Court issued a series of decisions striking down wage and hour protections for laborers. These decisions flowed from a combination of Social Darwinism and laissez-faire capitalism.

I will never forget a conversation with a student whose final exam we were reviewing. In exasperation, he announced, “You are just arguing about words.” I responded that the written and spoken words were the only tools we lawyers have. Words matter. First-year law students write a series of memoranda and an appellate brief. Each assignment is subject to careful scrutiny both as to the substance of the argument and the quality of the writing. For most first- year students the most demanding experience is an oral argument before a panel of judges. The other oral experience that most law students find challenging is being called upon in class, with no advance notice, to summarize a case. That is often followed by the professor changing the facts slightly and asking whether the result would be different and why.

Lawrence W. Moore, S.J.
Professor of Law 


Development of Personal Potential

Educating the whole person. Yeah, that one is, that's probably it. Honestly. I mean, that shows up in so many aspects of my education here and just me as a person. Part of the reason why I wanted to come here in the first place was because the Pop Com program was like, “educate your whole musical experience.” You need to be able to do everything, so we're going to teach you how to do everything. It really heartens me that that's not just a value written on the sidewalk.  

Values alignment is so evident to me everywhere that I go on this campus, right? In every relationship that I have here and every conversation that I have with people here, that's just simply so evident within the way our courses are designed, within curriculum, within professors that the college chooses to employ.

Aidan McDaniel

Loyola Transfer Student

 

Development of Personal Potential. These are three interesting words.

Personal. This word belongs in an armoire of memory. I hear : "Behave, Captain Jack! Or I shall put you in my pocket !" That is my first grade teacher talking, Sister Clothilde. Put me in a pocket… Imagine! Take me away from my friends…just a few minutes later, she would pull out the record player and have us dance. Now the memory armoire assumes another voice: "How can we know the dancer from the dance?" A line from the poet Yeats, "Among School Children." From one classroom to another, from one teacher to another. My personal development of potential has relied upon the good words of others, those of the Louisiana nun that sings softly still and those of the teacher whose love of poetry taught me to listen. In both cases, my little potential encountered something different or was challenged by a different step, tempo, and direction. I owe much to my classmates of yesteryear and to more recent ones. These are my students: Walla Jeanne, Caroline, Smythey, Carla, Noah, Mali, Claire, Tenia, and Isaac. They are also my colleagues: Alice, Tom, and Cassandra. The exchanges that we experience are the grand part of development. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum, some empty space, or in a circumscribed world. Were that so, none of us would dare speak of Our Father. 

Peter S. Rogers, S.J.

Rector of the Loyola Jesuit Community 
Loyola French Professor at Loyola


 

Pursuit of Excellence

Excellence means doing everything to the best of one’s ability; for me, that means as a musician, administrator, teacher, wife, and friend. It encourages me to consider if my actions are benefiting or harming the people around me, and to keep working through frustration and difficulty.

Meg Frazier
Professor, Director of the School of Music

 

Not so long ago, touting “Pursuit of Excellence” as a bedrock value of the university—any university—would have sounded like a no-brainer. At Loyola, where we find the phrase literally carved in stone in front of Monroe Library, along with other cherished ideals of a Jesuit education, the commitment to intellectual rigor and holding students to a high academic standard are foundational principles that hearken back to the very first “humanistic school” founded by the Society of Jesus nearly 500 years ago. Citizens across Europe (and eventually in North and South America and Asia as well) lobbied the early Jesuits to open schools in their cities and towns precisely because they knew the education their children would receive would be first-rate, setting them up for lives of both personal success and generous civic engagement. No doubt that’s why during a visit to New Orleans in October 1909, President William Howard Taft congratulated students of Loyola’s predecessor, the College of the Immaculate Conception, “for being where you are.”

Recent studies, however, report that promises of “academic rigor” and “excellence” can aggravate students’ already high levels of anxiety. Being held to a high standard sounds to some more like an emotional threat than an inspiring challenge. Yet, like every Jesuit university, Loyola is also committed to another ideal, cura personalis, “care of the [whole] person,” which means attending not just to a student’s intellectual growth, but also to their physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being. “Pursuit of excellence” cannot be understood apart from Christ’s mandate to love. Not at Loyola. If we graduated only academic superstars who were otherwise selfish, narrow-minded, and heartless, we would be failing in our historical and sacred mission. At the same time, though, this university (and every other one worthy of the name) must esteem the intellectual life and encourage students to embrace learning as a life-long endeavor—not to crush their spirits, but to enrich their lives and to aid them in becoming the marvelous, fully-realized human beings God calls them to be.

Gregory Waldrop, S.J., Ph.D.
Rector of the Loyola Jesuit Community, Assistant Professor of Art History

 


Respect for the World, Its History and Mystery

The Jesuit values inscribed on the path in front of Monroe Library resonate with me in different ways at different times. As a historian, this is one to which I'm frequently drawn. It makes us look in three rather different directions. First is the world itself, the physical reality in which we live. We are part of that reality, and our actions affect it, but we can't really control it, at least not fully, so we must respect its power over us. Second is history — that is, the ways we as humans seek to find meaning in that world. That meaning is continually changing as we learn more about the world, and about ourselves. That leads to the third element: mystery, or an acknowledgement of what we cannot understand. That recognition actually begins the cycle again, as we are led to a respect for what lies beyond our understanding.

Another way to see these three elements is embodied in each of us: body, mind, and spirit. Ancient and medieval writers spoke of musica humana, the harmony of elements within the human being, as a microcosm of heavenly harmonies, and today people often refer to body, mind, and spirit as the three pieces of the "whole person" of Jesuit education. So, just as we seek to balance a respect for the physical world, an understanding of its past and present, and a reverence for what is beyond our knowledge, we also seek to balance our own body, mind, and spirit.

Alice Clark
Professor of Music History
Coordinator of Music History and Literature

 

Contemplation of history and the part it plays in the world has been my life's vocation.

Mark Fernandez, Ph.D.
Chair and Distinguished Professor of History

 

Strange as it may seem, Ignatius fostered a rather revolutionary shift in Spirituality. Much ancient and medieval spirituality presupposed that the world, after Adam and Eve’s Fall, was full of sin. The best spiritualities often counseled: “Flee the world.” Furthermore, the only really important moment of history was thought to be in the past: the death/resurrection of Jesus. Meanwhile, the role of a Christian was to wait for the end time. Jesus came to save souls, not the world and not history. Mystery had to wait until heaven, if we were lucky enough to get there.

Ignatius’s spirituality began a shift. Do you want to find God? Then look to the world. Do you want to contribute to God’s activity? Then get involved in history. Do you want not just to know about God but also to love God? Then, as with all love relationships, enter into the Mystery that envelops and deepens and attracts. For a passionate man like Ignatius, the heart knows.

God spoke and the world became God’s creation. The Word became flesh, and our history became God’s history. The Spirit descends, and the mystery that is each one of us becomes part of the Mystery of God.

Edward Vacek, S.J., Ph.D.
The Reverend Stephen J. Duffy Chair in Catholic Studies

 


Learning from Experience

Learning from Experience is my favorite Jesuit value from the Monroe Library pathway because I firmly believe that ‘experiences’ are the most important form of learning.

If you think about it, the memories, emotions, and knowledge we pull from our brain are based on the experiences that we endure during our lifetime. Each person on the planet has a completely different experience every single day. I might watch a video based on ballet technique, which I would then try to complete a quad pirouette without hesitation. While you read an article that shared information on how to bake ‘the perfect cinnamon roll’, which you baked and then shared with your family at home. Both persons gained a different type of knowledge that would eventually lead them to gain a new set of skills that offered a new and completely different experience than the other person.

We also know how to be kind to one another because we’ve experienced someone else be kind to us – and it feels good. Of course, experiences can also be negative. A student who fails a test after a long night of partying instead of studying, now knows what not to do during exams. This is how we learn.

Experiences help us become our own individual person, which in return teaches us to make our own decisions. Loyola prides itself on caring for the whole person, or cura personalis, where each person’s experiences play an intricate role on this exact foundation.

Brandon Garza
Customer Service Specialist
Student Records

 

Shortly after Vatican II, I spoke with the Dean of the theology school where I was studying. He said that he was going through a conversion. Nothing explosive, just a quiet, but real sense of the presence of God. Up to that point, the basis of his Jesuit life had been a blind faith. He believed whatever the official Church told him to believe. No experience of God was necessary or even possible. But, now, when he prayed, he was listening to what God might be telling him in his daily life.

In his pre-Vatican II training, the Dean had been taught that God’s revelation ended with the death of the last apostles. It was considered a heresy to say that God had anything new of importance to say. But now, he learned that God often speaks through human experience. And he gradually learned that he could hear God, if he listened with a religious heart.

In this time after Vatican II, he began to encounter God in the yearning of future priests and in the excitement of new theologies being created almost daily. He also let go of old obstacles: some older teachings said that non-Christians and even non-Catholics would not be saved. Ecumenical experience taught him differently. My dean listened and he changed.

Can we hear God in the laughter of children and the whispering wind in the trees? Can we see God in the outstretched hands of the homeless? And for those of us at Loyola, can we hear God beckoning us to look to the future with hope? God is there, and God will be there.

Edward Vacek, S.J., Ph.D.
The Reverend Stephen J. Duffy Chair in Catholic Studies


Contemplative Vision Formed By Hope

Contemplative Vision Formed by Hope may seem like an odd choice for a woman whose professional identity centers around being good at “Pragmatic Actions Formed by Data.” But, I have treasured the opportunities afforded to me by Loyola to become a more reflective person — whether it is taking a few moments while crossing campus to reflect on the values noted in the pavers or the week long silent retreat I was able to attend as part of the Ignatian Colleagues Program. The Loyola community also gives me reason to be hopeful every day as I see students achieve things they may have never even considered possible before coming to Loyola like earn Fulbright fellowships and get dream jobs. This is possible through tremendous mentorship by faculty colleagues and support from administrators and staff across the university.

When I find myself suffering from self-diagnosed “generalized rage disorder” or eye-rolling the entire world Liz Lemon-style, it is extraordinarily helpful for me to remember to take a step back and use a tool like the Ignatian Examen to understand why I am feeling the way I am feeling and to articulate what troubles me (desolations) and what gives me hope (consolations). Doing this has helped me avoid sending emails that I probably would have regretted, has improved my relationships with the people with whom I often disagree, and reminds me each time I do it of the tremendous gift it is to work at a mission-driven institution like Loyola.

Carol Ann MacGregor
Vice Provost

 

Our natural tendency is not to discern our behavior but rather to allow our raw emotions to drive us. When we feel frightened, we flee. When we feel angry, we fight. Saint Ignatius of Loyola calls on us to be more reflective about our behavior. Instead of asking “What do I feel like doing?” Ignatius would have us ask ourselves, “What is God calling me to do?” Perhaps in a frightening moment, God might ask us to stand strong, even at grave risk for ourselves. In a moment wherein we feel angry, God might ask us to seek reconciliation instead of lashing out. To have a contemplative vision is to discern God’s will for us at any given moment. But our vision is formed by hope. We believe that creation is made in God’s image and that — if we work at it — we can find God in all things, all situations, and all people. Hope gives us the courage and the strength to discern our behavior with an assurance that God will lead us all to a new heaven and a new earth.

Mark E. Thibodeaux, S.J.