Dear Friends of Loyola Institute:
Our annual Lenten journey towards Easter often seems more like a race than a prayerful pilgrimage. So it's good to stop and catch our breath.
Pope Francis asks us to do just that this month when he urges all Christians to be better prepared to discern "between the voices of the culture of death and the voice of God propelling them to live and contribute to God's mission - the Kingdom of God." See Formation in Spiritual Discernment.
The Pope has repeatedly called us to be a discerning People of God with a special predilection for the poor, the immigrant, the abandoned. In all this he is simply preaching the Beatitudes and applying them to our urgent needs today. As a Jesuit, his call to discernment is not surprising.
Discernment lies at the heart of the Jesuit vocation, and it provides the core for the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. What better way to be shaped and formed in discernment than to undergo the dynamic, potentially transformative effect of the Spiritual Exercises?
Of course, that mission is dear to the Loyola Institute. It's our life blood, it's our passion. And for those who participate, it leads on precisely to the discipleship in mission, namely evangelization, that all three popes-John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis-have called us to embrace.
Let's pick up the pace and trumpet the coming of Easter.
Fr. Patrick Howell, S.J.