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.
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.
"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