Friday, May 20, 2005

Forever Leaving.

Today was my last day at Catholic Charities, and tomorrow I fly back to Detroit and the novitiate. There’s a lot that I’ll miss about my time here. Above all, I’ll miss the people I’ve gotten to know both through my work and in the Jesuit community at Santa Clara. I’ll also miss various aspects of life in the Bay Area that I’ve come to love. Saying goodbye to people and places I’ve come to care deeply about may be difficult, but it’s also something that I’ll have to do a lot of during my life as a Jesuit. Whether an individual Jesuit spends two months or twenty years engaged in a particular ministry in a particular place, he must be willing to accept the possibility that the needs of the Church and the Society of Jesus may require him to pack up and move on to another ministry and another place. In a sense, the Jesuit is a man always on the go, forever leaving one place to travel to another. The Fourth Vow taken by solemnly professed Jesuits bears witness to this aspect of the Jesuit vocation, summoning forth a commitment to go wherever the needs are greatest. Though it will be many years before I am eligible to be called to Final Vows, in my life as a novice I’m already called to the practice of mobility emphasized by the Fourth Vow. As longtime readers of this blog will have noticed, in the novitiate we do an awful lot of moving around. Though novices shift ministries and locations a lot more frequently than most professed Jesuits, the frenetic pace of our life gives us a lot of experience in how to negotiate transitions – experience that will hopefully serve us well in our lives as men committed to an ideal of mobility.

As I wrote above, saying goodbye can be difficult. Indeed, saying goodbye should be difficult. The sadness I feel in leaving Catholic Charities and Santa Clara is a sign that my time here has been beneficial for me and for those I have come into contact here; if I wasn’t sad at times like these, I’d have to feel that I had done something wrong. In this context then, sadness can be an occasion for thanksgiving. I thank God for the rich graces I have received during my time in San Jose, and I pray that these graces stay with me as I move on to the next stage of the novitiate. AMDG.


At May 23, 2005 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reflections, Joe.

As someone who has lived in over half a dozen cities in less than a dozen years, I have left behind many, many close friends and beloved sites.

I have found that this experience has heightened my awareness of my "pilgrim" status on earth and has increased my longing for heaven, where we can hope to be in the company of our friends and family (among others!) and such separations as we experience now will be no more.


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