“Take care never to close your heart to anyone” (St. Peter Favre, S.J.).
(Photo of Los Angeles from Loyola Marymount University)
Los Angeles was the location of the 2015 meeting of all the U.S. and Canadian Jesuits who are being formed for the Catholic brotherhood or priesthood. We gathered as more than 300 men dedicated to the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in order to imitate Christ, who Himself was poor, chaste, and obedient to His Father in heaven. The topic of conversation was “Global Mission in a Digital Age.” Jesuits have always been at the forefront of the technological wave (from use of the printing press to the development of the Big Bang Theory), so we considered how to maintain our tradition in the epoch of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Big Data, and beyond. We heard and responded to presentations about social media, television, blogging, and written modes of communication. As a result of this meeting, I am feeling very confident about our capability to use technology in a Jesuit way, which is, namely, for the greater glory of God.
One of our most prominent efforts at cultural and technological engagement is The Jesuit Post (https://thejesuitpost.org/). This site combines essays, blogs, and short articles that relate to the trends of our day. We are also really proud of America Media (http://americamagazine.org/), which provides high-quality commentary on the Church and the world.
In the end our goal relates to St. Peter Favre’s quote above, “Take care never to close your heart to anyone.” We, as Jesuits, want to engage all aspects of reality, for whatever is human is Christian. God, after all, has taken a human form! Currently, this outlook on the world means that we want to be part of new media to reach new audiences. We are not closed off to digital encounters and relationships but rather affirm them as meaningful opportunities for dialogue and for information gathering. As long as people use new media, we will be there alongside them.
Now, those of us who are in our first two years of study have moved on to Denver for a month of classes and conversation on the history of our organization. Our time in Denver will bring us together to reflect on how an understanding of our storied past can propel us into the future with both identity and creativity.
David J.W. Inczauskis, n.S.J.