5 Reasons Jesuit Teachings Apply To Your Life

5 Reasons Jesuit Teachings Apply To Your Life

How we can all apply Jesuit values to the modern world.

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Oh, the acclaimed Jesuits. The Catholic order renowned for their emphasis on education and their attention to social justice. Jesuits (or the Society of Jesus), however, also promote specific values that are applicable in the changing times we live in. After four years at a Jesuit high school, I took away these lessons from what I learned in the Jesuit tradition.

1. Discernment

It is so necessary for everyone - children, teens, and adults - to have a solid foundation for a decision-making process. Today, we are faced with more choices than ever and can become so caught up in the short-term results that we lose sight of important factors along the way. The Jesuit value of discernment aims to take into consideration each possibility and to truly reflect on each option as honestly as possible. This decision-making process of recognizing and reflecting is an essential step that not only advocates for Ignatian spirituality, but also for a healthier mindset.

2. Finding God in all things

Often, we become so lost in our media-centered world that we disregard the good that is all around us. In the United States, it is so divided that, many times, it is difficult to see any good in others who disagree with us, but it is so crucial to recognize the need for love in every community. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, we can take this value and use it to remind ourselves to always acknowledge this necessity. To even attempt to find God in all things can go a long way in solving issues that plague our society today.

3. Magis

"More." To be magis is to be above the status quo - which may be hard, especially for young people in the social media age we are in, however it is so heavily pushed in the Jesuit tradition because it is a call to not only be more, but to love more. It is so easy to find fault with others, but the Jesuit idea of magis pushes for us to look past our differences and reflect on our own need for love. We must keep in mind this mission to love more in all that we do.

4. Cura personalis

"Care for the Whole Person." In the society we live in, we often forget to keep in mind our need for health - and not just physical. We forget that our mental, emotional, and spiritual health are just as important. In our social media and political-focused society, it is important to remember that we must, first and foremost, take into consideration our personal health in mind, body, and spirit in order to fully engage in our world.

5. Men and women with and for others

Most, if not all, organized religions strive for this concept: serving the less fortunate. The way Jesuits differ in this ideal is that even though we are called to serve those who are less fortunate and give to those who need it, we are also called, at the same time, to stand with these people in their struggles. And while many religious orders present this common theme of solidarity, Jesuits make it a point that it is not enough to give to charity and look at "the poor" as people to throw money and volunteering time at, it is imperative that, by standing with these groups, we reflect on our own lives and how we can fix social structures to make life better for everyone.

"Go forth and set the world on fire." - St. Ignatius of Loyola

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When God Says, “Not Right Now.”

“God give me faith to wait and not manipulate. To trust You fully, no matter how my circumstances may appear." — Lynn Cowell

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One of the most frustrating yet beautiful things is when God tells us “no" or “not right now."

At the time, you may have agony or desperation for this one thing to work out in your life, but it slips away from you. You may ask God why. Why does He want you to be unhappy? Why does He want to take away your dreams?

At the time, you cannot see how much God truly is working in your life, but He is. In my life, every time that I was disappointed that a plan or dream didn't work out, I was devastated. I didn't want to be in a position where I was challenged and tested. I wanted all the blessings to flow and to fulfill what I thought was my plan in life. But that's exactly what it was: my plan.

I did not see at the time that that is not what God intended for me and that He actually had far greater plans than I did for myself. He needed to mold me into who I am supposed to be today. Along the way I have met the most amazing people that have had a huge impact on my life, have gone through the most amazing experiences with God, and I wouldn't trade going through all the trials because it has truly made me into the woman I am today.

“What God does in us while we wait is as important as what we are waiting for." – John Ortberg

God is continually, endlessly, working in our lives.

We may not see it, but He is. We may blame God for all the things that are going wrong in our lives, but we never see that in the end, we were supposed to go through the low valleys to get to the high, amazing, and beautiful mountains in our lives.

I truly believe that it's when you're at the bottom of the darkest pit in your life that you can actually see the light of God shining brightly upon you. During these times, pray to Him to lead you to understanding that this is all a part of His plan for you.

It hurts God to see that His child is suffering, but in order to carve out just the person that you are supposed to be, you must go through challenges. Where you are today is no accident. God is using the challenge you are in to shape you and prepare you for the place He wants you tomorrow. When it comes to God's plan, timing is absolutely everything.

Looking back on all the events that I had to endure before getting to where I am now, I know that I had to go through the trials in order to be just who I am today, which is happier than I have ever been because I know God and His plan for me. Waiting is the most difficult job of hope, but you must remain faithful and know that God is guiding you.

“When I wait, you strengthen my heart." Psalm 27:14

When you are waiting for God's righteous plan, don't lose faith in His goodness. He only wants the best for you, and in the end, you will look back and see just how much He truly was working in your life. Be patient and the blessings will flow.

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Poetry On Odyssey: Ego

Years later, we can still learn something about ourselves and our morality from Freud.

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I'm studying Freud now for maybe the 5th time

So I'm familiarized with his notorious line


It starts off as ID, ending at SuperEgo

Which helps you gauge if you're good, and hopefully not evil


It's the impossible goal to balance Ego in the middle

I think back on myself, trying so hard to fiddle


The morality dial to a place to that felt right

Where my mind was peace and my soul could feel light


I think now that I've made it, but I hadn't at first

So my earlier years were understandably the worst


My first day of grade school I was instantly smitten

Well aware that my guidelines had already been written


I was taught that fulfillment could be found in God's Word

His love the incentive with which I was lured


But she was just so damn sweet, with long hair and dark eyes

I hated myself for thinking same as the guys


Adam would never have lain down with a man

So to make it to Heaven, she was not in the plan


Later in life I was leaving high school

Taking dick, smoking pot and breaking rules to look cool


When on a contemplative car ride one night with my friend

My SuperEgo delusion came to a startling end


I asked, "Have you ever felt like you were missing a penis before?"

Her expression told me not to bring that up anymore


That night sent me deep into a pit of self loathing

I could pass as pure to my church, but felt absolutely nothing


I was shrink wrapped in guilt for the secrets I held

Taught that my kind were all children of the Angel that Fell


I felt I had failed, too wrapped up in desire

Postmarked now for down under as a fag, tranny and liar


Even though I would spend just two more years with God's son

I had denied who I was till the damage was done


All those times that I'd judged queer folks with disgust

Held me down like a freight train infested with rust


I internalized all the hatred I'd spread

Every comment placed pea-like in my soft Christian bed


That was the past, I breath easier now

But not without finding my "who" and my "how"


The person I'm now is so earthquakingly free

I mourn the years without girlfriends and the pronouns "him/he"


Pretty Boy is all honest, and that's pretty much "how"

I was able to end up at "who" I am now


It seems that its easy to find your Ego on the line

When your ID and your Super are authentically defined


But not by a god or a priest or a book

Right and wrong will come out if you're willing to look

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