Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Think For Yourself

Some of you may be familiar with the famous website: which is hosted by the Chicago/Detroit/Wisconsin Vocations Team of the Society of Jesus. My counterpart in Milwaukee and I have agreed to upgrade the site to include recent stories, more current podcasts and the same informational material to help men discern a vocation to the Jesuits. Think about it.

Of course it must be emphasized that a Jesuit vocation is not discerned merely by "thinking" about it. A man must first "pray" about his vocation and share that interior dynmaic with a spiritual director. The most authentic vocation is felt below the neck, as it were -- ergo the T-shirts. We also have hats, but those might suggest too much a rational or cerebral process.

Pay a visit to the site if you dare, and better yet, pass on the link to guys you "think" might make good Jesuits.

Gratia vobis et pax adimpleatur.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I've Just Seen A Face

A couple months ago (when I had intended to write this new entry) the media were in a buzz about the new statue of Ronald Reagan placed in the Capitol building. One commentator said something like, “Reagan is the only statue whose face bears a smile.” Then I thought about a message I received long ago while walking through the streets of Oxford, England. I was a tourist back in 1984, before my Jesuit days, on a three-week tour through the UK, and I loved visiting the two great seats of learning: Oxford and Cambridge. One afternoon as I strolled down a busy Oxford street full of small bookstores, coffee and souvenir shoppes, I noticed my face in the reflection of a store window. Woah! What a grouch. The expression on my face looked something like this one taken by my brother last month.

“What am I so mad about,” I asked. My brother replied, “Nothing, that’s just the way you normally look.” Sweet Mother of Pearl!

Hello, Patrick, are you happy? (yes) Well, why not tell your face!

So, I continued to walk down the Oxford street, forming a new commitment in my head, “Hmmm, I’ve just got to start smiling more.” How hard is that? I usually smile at myself in the mirror after I’ve shaved. And I smile at bank tellers, people in the McDonald’s drive-through, and flight attendants. I even smile at the dentist! So, why not more places and more often?

These thoughts all ran through my head as I walked along the sidewalk, until the store windows ended. Soon I found myself walking along a stone wall with a graffiti message scratched into it. I stopped and looked more closely. No way! A message for me, from … GOD! It had no be so. It was too weird. I pulled out my camera in disbelief and recorded the graffiti for posterity: “Smiling is good for you.”

Since I think this is what I imagine would be “posterity,” I present the photo in digital form today and hope that it brings a smile to your face as well. Tomorrow, my birthday, I will try to make another entry. But for now, keep smiling.