This semester we have two Jesuit novices assisting in campus ministry on Wednesdays until October 17th. To kick things off yesterday, we set up in the quad with an invitation to "Ask a Jesuit a Question". There were some great inquiries and some silly ones, all of which I'm about to share. But what came of the conversations that followed back at the CSC is what I really want to highlight (starting at question 9). Simple yet inspiring authenticity came from the stories of faith and discernment as we dove deeper into questions about our Jesuits' journeys and how they relate to our own. Here's how it happened:
1) What is a Jesuit?
Jesuits belong to the Society of Jesus which is an apostolic religious order. "Contemplatives in action" as they loosely refer to themselves due to their intense focus on missions rooted in a process of prayer. Their name almost literally means to be like Jesus, so of course that's how they aim to live.
2) Where are the Jesuits from?
If we're talking about the founder, that's St. Ignatius of Loyola and he's from Spain. If we're talking about our novices, Chi Nhan comes to us from Texas and Justin from Florida.
3) Where is the monastery?
Grand Coteau is home to the novitiate for the Central Southern Province out of 4 provinces.
4) Do the Jesuits have an order for women?
The short answer: no. But! There are several orders for women religious that have taken after the Jesuit charism or constitution and an Ignatian spirituality.
5) Why do you wear black?
"It's slimming" - Justin
6) How's the weather?
Hot. Sweltering. Any other word to describe the uniquely Louisianian heat. I take it our sweat and sluggishness sparked this question. And although Chi Nhan and Justin aren't strangers to the south, the weather for them here has been.... something.
7) How does a student from LSUE become Pope?
8) Are there opportunities for lay people to live like a Jesuit but without taking vows?
Check out JVC (Jesuit Volunteer Corps) http://www.jesuitvolunteers.org/
9) What made you want to join the Jesuits?
Chi Nhan attended a youth retreat lead by Jesuits and Justin went to a Jesuit high school in Tampa, FL. I'll save the details they shared of their lives leading up to those points (you can come ask them any Wednesday at the CSC!), but they both felt God's call for them to draw closer through the lifestyle they saw on display in the Jesuits they encountered.
10) Do the desires for other vocations (like marriage) dissolve when you make a commitment to become a priest?
We have to understand that our desires for intimacy, especially in the form of a spousal relationship, are part of human nature. Our nature doesn't change and therefore those desires remain present. However, desire forms in layers. It is through the discovery of our root desire that we find our calling that then requires a choice for action. For Chi Nhan and Justin, a desire to serve Christ was at the core and they chose to commit their lives to Him in this special way. And just like any other relationship takes sacrifice and a daily re-commitment, a commitment to Christ requires the same. The other desires don't disappear or dissolve, nor is it required to suppress them. Rather, we counter those desires, as in the case for our Jesuits, with service and integration of chastity.
11) If you are like a husband and the church is like your bride, what is it that you love about her?
"She opens my eyes to the needs of the poor. She also offers an avenue for me to utilize my talents to serve others in their need."
- Chi Nhan
"She knows me more intimately than any other person. She knows my desires and fears and gives me the love and support that I need through prayer, consolation, and the graces of religious life. In the church, I am more human, more alive, a better man through ministry. To explain: sin makes us less human because it is void of love. In the sense that we strive to imitate Christ, the more we give of ourselves the more we become alive."
NOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!! A question FROM the Jesuits to YOU!
12) What 3 consumable things would you choose for eternity in Heaven? No negative side effects.
Kassie - Potatoes, Cheesecake, Fresh Figs
Hayden - Steak, Fruit, Coffee
Jordan - Grapefruit, Tomatoes, Green Apples
Comment your answers below and/or come hang out and share at the CSC any time (especially Wednesdays)!
P.O. Box 1129
2048 Johnson Highway
Eunice, LA 70535
We are eager to assist you in your journey home. If you are interested or you would like to learn more, please call the parish office at (337) 457-8107 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org