Archives For February 2015

The High School Tour: Jesuit Update for February 27th, 2015 A.D.

TennisEveryone knows that it is easy to speak to high school kids about religion… Not. Nevertheless, for the last week I’ve been traveling around Chicago on the Jesuit “vocation tour” to encourage high school kids to reflect on who God is calling them to be. The responses, much to my surprise, were actually really positive–with a few minor exceptions. In this post I’ll go through three of the most popular questions that I received during the tour, and I’ll make an attempt at some answers.

  1. How do you know what God is calling you to do with your life?
    1. Every now and then God chooses to speak to us in a very direct way. For example, some Jesuits I know received their calls to the Society in very “tangible” ways: audible messages from God, visions, and miracles. For other Jesuits (probably most of us) it takes more time: we have to pray with the various options that God places in front of us. We might spend one day thinking and praying about one option (let’s say to married life) and the next day considering the other option (let’s say to the priesthood or to the sisterhood). After this two-day experience, we might ask ourselves, “Which option produced feelings of deep spiritual joy as I imagined what it would be like? Which option left me feeling dry on the inside?” We can use our feelings to pick up on the direction in which God wants us to move. In sum, however, I think that finding a vocation is a lot like falling in love with someone: when you find the right one, it just feels right.
  2. Does God actually talk back to you when you pray to Him?
    1. Once again, different people have different experiences of God’s voice. Some have “heard” Him; others have not. Let’s imagine a society in which EVERYONE physically heard God’s voice ALL THE TIME. This society would be a lot like a dictatorship–the Creator of the universe would be telling us what to do and how to be in a forceful way. He would be directly manipulating us. Rather than modeling the universe after a dictatorship, God prefers to model it after true love. It isn’t forced, and it is subtle when it is at its best. God’s love is FREE, so it shouldn’t surprise us that He isn’t coercing us into believing Him by pulling stunts for us 24/7. However, when we do hear His voice in a direct way, we are grateful for the fact that He chooses to give us a little help along the way to eternity.
  3. Are you Jesuits allowed to have fun?
    1. Absolutely, I’ve probably laughed more in the last few months than ever before in my life. We have card games, play sports, and share stories while sitting around the fireplace. Don’t let anyone lead you to believe that being religious and being “cool” can’t go together.

It is easy to see that these high school kids are a lot like the rest of us. We all have big questions. The real question is whether we are willing to search for the answers.

Best wishes,
David J.W. Inczauskis, n.S.J.

Vocation Tour and Hospital Experiment

FLower

(Springtime in Wales)

Hey all!

After a brief two-week stint in St. Paul, we novices are heading out for the vocation tour and the hospital experiment. For the vocation tour I will be visiting various high schools in the Chicagoland area to share the story of how I came to realize that God was calling me to join the Jesuits. The hospital experiment, for me, will take place in Canada, where I will live and work with people with intellectual disabilities. I’ve never engaged in this type of ministry before, so I am a little nervous. However, there is no doubt that our Lord will help me along the way. Lately, I’ve been simply praying that the people I will meet will be a blessing to me and that I will be a blessing to them.

Best wishes,
David JW Inczauskis, nSJ

Winter and Spring / Lent and Easter

The Catholic Church has a knack for coordinating Her holidays and liturgical seasons with the cycles of nature. Aren’t Lent and Easter wonderful examples?

Winter Pond Lithuania

(Pond in Vilnius, Lithuania)

Winter is a time of death, reflection, and patient suffering: so is Lent. During Lent we Catholics revisit Jesus’ 40 days in the desert when the devil subjected Him to testing (Matthew 4:1-11). Lent is also a time for inner “death”: death to the old self. Hence we practice prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Prayer leads us to trust in God. Fasting reminds us that our ultimate satisfaction comes not from the temporal offerings of this world but rather from the life that only God can give. Almsgiving teaches us to empty ourselves in order to reflect God’s self-emptying in the Incarnation.

Spring Flowers in Mass

(Garden in Salem, Mass.)

Spring, on the other hand, is the season of rebirth and renewal. For Christians, this rejuvenation stems from Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection. Though Jesus rose for us long ago, we can appropriate His rising in a real way right now through baptism. St. Paul writes, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4). Springtime! Newness of life! The sprinkling of the springtime rain corresponds to the sprinkling of water at baptism. Thus, we renew our baptismal vows each year at springtime in order to remind ourselves of Christ’s work, which we appropriate through the Sacrament of Baptism. 

May God bless you this Lent and Easter! May this time bring meaning and joy to your life as it brings healing and life to the earth herself.

Best wishes,
David J.W. Inczauskis, n.S.J.

SUMMONS UNHEEDED

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(La Alhambra de Granada)

*

There is a palace high

You never dare to go.

Perhaps you wonder why

The answer comes out “no.”

*

It sits upon a hill

Whose name you can’t pronounce.

At daybreak you sit still

As voices there announce:

*

“All drowsy souls, draw near:

Contained within’s a quest.

To face head on your fear,

You must arise from rest.

*

“A task you will receive

Should you knock at our door.

The mind cannot conceive

Exactly what’s in store!

*

“A few sand grains remain

Within the funnel clear,

So to you we proclaim

‘Make haste and gather here!'”

*

Each morning thus they call.

The message you heed not.

The leaves begin to fall.

Your soul begins to rot.

*

The echoes from above

Distant and faint they grow.

False peace not from the dove,

The only peace you know.

*

Though, much to your distress,

You contemplate the hike.

At times your lips confess,

“I wonder what it’s like.”

*

When below the tombstone,

The torment will not end.

The call you did not own

From my dear king and friend.