Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Feeling the Love Today

I am very grateful for all the phone calls and emails I received on this 456th anniversary of Ignatius of Loyola's birth into eternal life. Jesuits, friends, colleagues in mission, and the whole internet world are touched by his prayer. The Ignatian/Jesuit family is united because of the diverse ways Ignatian spirituality and his Exercises have brought people closer to the Lord. I am still in awe of the name of our religious institute. It is humbling to know that our prayer and faith makes us "The Company of Jesus."

 Twenty-four retreatants just finished the 30-day retreat known as The Spiritual Exercises on Sunday. I was proud to listen to their stories as we shared the fruits of our prayer at the retreat's conclusion. I could hear the surprising ways their relationship with the Lord was deepened. I know one thing for certain: We must find new ways of bringing these Exercises to other people. Others can benefit from finding a prayer style that fits them and their state in life.

 I'm also very grateful for the many friends who have been generous to me when they took me out for dinner, lunch, or coffee to say goodbye as I get ready to head to Jordan in September. I've received so much love and affection recently. I will miss many good friends. I'm comforted that I will remain in touch through email, Skype, and possible visits. My heart feels like the Grinch's after his conversion - for it keeps get larger as I hold so much goodwill in my soul. Thanks everyone, and Happy Ignatius Day.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Photo: Summer 30-Day Retreat

To see photos of the final dinner of the Summer 30-Day Retreat, click on the link below:

Pics of Closing Dinner

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Inaugural Trip to Jordan

These are emails I sent a couple of friends during my inaugural trip to Jordan in mid-June.

I am reporting that I have safely arrived in Amman, Jordan. It was quite something to approach the country by air because vast areas of the land is desert. One can see occasional small bushes dot the landscape, but vast areas are sand dunes. However, the city itself is impressive.

While the airport is small and relatively efficient, I am impressed with the road infrastructure. It is quite good with wide lanes and clearly marked road signs. Some houses are quite beautiful and they are sometimes next to ones that have decay. Entering the city from the airport is quite something. It is a breath-taking array of sand-stone colored buildings with complementary earth-tones edifices. It is quite nice. The city has enormous building that are being erected. The place keeps expanding. Some foreigners arrive here to live, but most of Syrian, Palestinian, and Iraqi refugees. It is a place that has lots of money and people of destitution.

The Jesuit Center is impressive. We house the JRS who are doing a great deal of work on the Syria issue. Aside from many offices, large-scale classrooms and function hall facilities serve a whole host of Christian purposes. We have four guestrooms for visitors. This week, we have two Brits on holiday, a Filipino Californian Jesuit, and the interim pastor. The guest list shows that we are not isolated.

The Jesuit community lives on an intersecting road near the Jesuit Center. It is quite a good apartment. If there is a drawback, it is a top floor apartment that takes the beating from the sun. The down-side is that we are in the midst of a  heat-wave. It is to break either tonight or tomorrow, but it makes me wilt. The community building is in a decent neighborhood. I have not been able to venture out as I'm getting used to the heat, the way of life, and an altered sleep schedule because of travel. I'll rebound tomorrow and I'll start to see the city.

There's lots more I can say, but I'll do it over the next few days because when I think I have energy, I feel the need for a nap.

Peace, and I'll write more soon.

 A few days into my stay, I provided another update.

The last few days in Amman have been more tolerable. The 100+ degree weather did break. I was not sure I could believe it. The temps at night settled down around 70 degrees. Most people put on sweaters while I'm still perspiring. But temperature swing of 12 degrees is most noticeable. I still avoid direct sunlight and I'm covered from ear to toenail tip.

We were to Mount Nebo where Moses remained behind as the nomadic Israelites finally crossed the Jordan into the promised land. We then went to the Moabite town of Madaba to see the Mosaic church (not the church of Moses, but mosaics that are made with tiles.)

Yesterday we went to the birthplace of the prophet Elijah. It is a cool place - off the beaten track and then we went to the 12th century castle that Saladin used to fend off the Christian crusaders. I'll post those photos later today. We were in an arable land when vegetation was plentiful. We even had a rainstorm followed by hail. I loved it. The Kenyans who were with us were freezing, but it was the time I had the most energy because of the cooler temps.

I was glad for the day because my adjustment was not easy. On the sixth day, I finally was able to go to bed before 3:30 a.m. I had a few adjustment maladies, but I am almost fully recovered from it. A night out at Popeyes then the French Le Mirabelle restaurant (casual dining) helped put me right.

I return on Monday. I actually leave here tomorrow night (Sunday) at 2:45 in the morning. I'll catch an 11:30 taxi to the airport, but with much less luggage. When I return on Monday, the 30-day retreatants will have beaten me to the retreat house as I arrive at 8:30 p.m.

Miss you all and I hope to see you soon.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Video: Fr. General on Ignatian Spirituality

To see a video of Fr. General speaking on the strength of Ignatian Spirituality, click on the link below:

Video of Fr. General