Friday, May 05, 2006

Time takes its cost, I'm still the same.

Today was the last day of my Long Experiment at St. Ignatius College Prep. Tomorrow, my fellow secundi and I return to the novitiate (Pat Fairbanks and his fellow tertians will be on hand to welcome us). Leaving SICP, I feel somewhat as I did when I finished previous experiments at Catholic Charities in San Jose and at the Windsor Refugee Office. I always find it hard to say goodbye to people and places I've come to care deeply about, but it's especially hard when I realize that I'm seeing some of the people I've gotten to know for the last time. Many times over the last few days, I've heard variations of the same question I always get at the end of experiments: "When will you be back?" Trying to be optimistic, I usually respond "as soon as I can," even though it may be more accurate to say "I don't know." Parting under ambiguous circumstances is one of the peculiar realities of religious life. When I take my leave at the end of an experiment, I often don't know whether "goodbye" will mean "farewell" or just "see you later." Tonight, as I prepare to say goodbye to the Jesuits I've lived with for the past four months and pack for the journey back to Berkley, I'll be praying for the grace to be at peace with the ambiguity of Jesuit goodbyes. AMDG.


At May 08, 2006 12:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Joe,
Christ is Risen!

I have been reading your blog off and on, and I would like to make a commment, perhaps comments, dealing with the liturgy as the subject matter. I am a Roman Catholic yet also attend an Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church on Sundays ( Do not worry; I still go to Mass on Saturday nights.
I went to a Jesuit school in the Midwest and must say that the liturgies did not manifest deep reverence as in our Eastern brother and sister's liturgy. One can see that at one time the school I went to took very seriously the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; now, at least daily Mass, it is as dry as one can get. I know the Lord is truly present however I am, as Miguel De Unamuno would say, a man of flesh and bone who shows love not only internally but externally. I once mentioned to a Jesuit about having a little Latin in the Mass and he was not eager about it. A little bit of Latin is not bad; it is a good reminder of the universality of the Church. Anyways, I really believe that soon the Western Church and Eastern Church will unite; however, we Catholics must celebrate the Eucharist with as much revernece (EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL) as our brothers and sisters in the East. In the East, the reverence of the Blessed Trinity is so much that every time there is a "glory be", one makes the sign of the cross. I know critics will think that type of person is too focused on externals; however I find a black and white distinction of that matter problimatic. The external and internal revernce, uplifiting unto the Lord (ad deum) ought to be unified, distinct; but one. Then there are those critics who do not take with great reverence the sacraments and liturgy and focus more on acts of goodness in the world; sadly, some of those critics judge those who love the sacramental life and liturgy as lacking in really doing acts for the Lord. In contrast, I see it rather as all unified; the beautiful liturgy (I do believe there is an objective beauty);sacraments; our response to the Lord's love for us and our love to our neighbor: distinct but unified. I think one important step in Eastern and Western unification is the sacred liturgy; as a Roman Catholic I walk into the Divine Liturgy and come out in a state of awe(I have even heard of an atheist visiting a Russian Orthodox Church and being brought to tears in the middle of the Divine Liturgy): our Eastern brothers and sisters ought to also come out of the Western church's Sacrifice of the Mass and have a similar state of awe, not questioning if people there truly believed in the true presence of Christ. There are many liturgies done with great reverence in the Catholic faith that do reflect our Eastern brothers and sisters, so do not think I am displeased with all the Catholic liturgies.

El Messieh Kahm! Hakken kahm!

At May 08, 2006 6:37 PM, Blogger Joseph Koczera, S.J. said...


Thanks for your comments. When I'm back from retreat, I hope to respond at greater length. Peace,


At May 18, 2006 9:36 AM, Blogger Karen said...

Some words of wisdom from your "elderly" friend (I turn 50 in 15 days, which is elderly enough.) The people you leave behind, you never really leave. They'll still be fresh in your memory several decades from now. And many of them, you will see again. I recently had lunch with my first L.A. roommate. We hadn't seen each other in 30 years and with the exception of bits of missing information, it was like no time had passed. We even still looked the same, give or take a few wrinkles. So take some comfort in that thought.


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