By the way, I just wanted to thank all of you who commented on the need for Jesuit renewal and what forms it should take. I asked the question for very selfish reasons: because I wanted to know how I need to change in order to meet the needs of God's people. Nothing quite like having someone else tell you about yourself as a great way to learn a lot at least about how you come across. And Jesuits don't always come across very well.
I also think that all the other Jesuits who read this were probably both somewhat chastened, like myself, by your comments, and also heartened by your encouragement. We are trying to reform. I know this to be true from many many conversations. But we want to do it right, not accepting a shortcut as the real deal. The dangers of doing that are apparent in all simple solutions to complicated questions. Nor is an enforced external uniformity usually the best way to do things. Our uniformity should come, not from ourselves, but from the mission given to us by the one we serve. So thanks for the patience.
On the subject of the undivided heart, we have occasion to reflect and be afraid. The undivided heart is a good thing, as long as you love somebody. In fact, a divided heart that loves someone is better than an undivided heart that loves nobody – the latter would actually be undivided egoism. It would mean having one’s heart full, but with the most corrupting thing there is: oneself. Of this type of virgin and celibate, unfortunately none too rare, Charles Peguy has rightly said: ‘Because they do not belong to someone else, they think they belong to God. Because they love no one else, they think that they love God.
Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap, in "Virginity"
Nope, we're always serving someone. And too often we believe we belong to Christ, when we actually belong to "academia" or "the cause of justice" or "orthodoxy." None of those are people. And part of the problem is that the post-modern world has had as devastating an effect upon Jesuits as upon everyone else. The Order fragmented. But the best hope for the Jesuits is not a re-integration through external compulsion -- though correction from Rome is fine, of course. Lasting change will come simply by belonging to God again, and to nothing else. At the heart of Ignatian spirituality is freedom from all attachments. ALL attachments. To belong to God. So thanks for your help in pointing this out to us. I suppose I should move on to new topics now. Poor Mason has had to put up with my Jesuitical diatribes.
Nathan O'Halloran, SJ