Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

29 August 2006

On Retreat

This afternoon my fellow primi and I head to Manresa retreat center for a brief silent retreat. I'm looking forward to some quite time for spiritual reading, long walks, and a chance to reflect on the activities of the past few weeks. Be back Friday.


28 August 2006

St. Augustine

Happy Feast of St. Augustine.

At the risk of sounding gloomy, Augustine was a figure who dealt brilliantly with a civilization in decline, especially in his famous 'City of God'. This great saint and doctor of the Church has been a light for centuries and now in a time when our own civilization finds itself at a crossroads, we would do well to heed his wisdom all the more.

"et quomodo invocabo deum meum, deum et dominum meum, quoniam utique in me ipsum eum vocabo, cum invocabo eum? et quis locus est in me quo veniat in me deus meus, quo deus veniat in me, deus qui fecit caelum et terram?"
-St. Augustine, Confessions

25 August 2006

One Week In

Today marks my first week of religious life, so far so good. After a morning of manualia (the Jesuit word for house jobs), my brother novices and I drove to Columbiere, the retirement center for the Detroit and Chicago provinces. Today was a special celebration of all those priests and brothers marking important anniversaries in their lives as Jesuits.

Essentially Columbiere is a nursing home, though by far the nicest nursing home I have ever visited. It was originally built as a novitiate and juniorate for the Society in the 1950's and has been used for many purposes over the years. Both the building and grounds are immense, part of the grounds are leased by the Society as a golf course. The section of the building modified to act as a nursing home is lovely and far less institutional than most nursing homes I've visited. My initial impression is that the Society takes excellent care of its older members. I'm looking forward to working at Columbiere beginning in October.

What impressed me more than the physical surroundings of the center was the spirit inside. Granted today was a day of celebration and thus cheerier than normal, nevertheless Columbiere did not have the hopelessness I've found in the other nursing homes I've visited. These men seemed to be peacefully awaiting the resurrection rather than mourning the end of their days.

As a man just starting out in this Least Society, I was overwhelmed by the stories of those celebrating, 50, 60, even 75 years in the Society of Jesus. Some of their resumes were impressive indeed, one of the men celebrating 75 years in the Society is working on his ninth book! These men leave a lot for lowly novices like myself to live up to. Throughout the celebration, I found myself in awe of what God had done through these men.


24 August 2006

Feast of St. Bartholomew

Today is the Feast of St. Bartholomew. Unfortunately not much is known about him, and those stories which do exist often conflict. Despite the lack of material, one of the older Fathers in the community managed a brilliant homily from what little information there is, I was duly impressed and edified.

St. Bart is also the patron of my paternal grandparents parish. My grandfather has always been a source of inspiration for me. The oldest male in a family of nine, he dropped out of school in seventh when his father died during the depression and worked to support the family. Throughout his life he continued to selflessly put his family first until his dying day. He also had a remarkably, simple faith with special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Blessed Mother. When in my studies, I've found myself getting too cerebral, I reflected on his simple but powerful faith and trust which speaks more eloquently than fine words.


22 August 2006

First Probation

Today is my fourth day as a Jesuit novice. The first days of novitiate have been much more low key than I was expecting. We've been attending short meetings introducing us to Jesuit life and history, though most of our time has been spent trying to form a community. After an awkward first couple days, we're beginning to gel into something of a community, though certainly developing a strong community is a long process. I've appreciated the slow pace of things, as it has left a lot of time for reflection.

I've also learned to play a game called 'Cornhole' from one of my brother novices and nearly achieved the 'golden sombrero'.


19 August 2006

The first post of the rest of my life.

Today I entered the Jesuit novitiate. I'm rather overwhelmed at the moment, so I don't have much to say save, this is big. More cogent updates later.


17 August 2006

One Last Day

Tommorrow is my last full day at home. Very Surreal.

Lao-tzu the chinese philosopher said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Though this maxim is a bit cliche it nonetheless rings true, at least to me.

Time to lace up my boots and take the first step.

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13 August 2006

Glorious Day

Today was unbelievably gorgeous: blue skies, a slight breeze, temperatures in the mid-seventies, no humidity. This type of day is rare in Northeastern Ohio which is one of the cloudiest parts of the country and very often humid. When such days do arrive here it is incumbent upon us to enjoy them.

After Mass with the story of Elijah and his 40 day journey, always a favorite, we decided to have a big breakfast in celebration of the beautiful day. A got a bit of packing done then Dad and I set off with his friend Mike for a bikeride. The original plan had been for a day of sailing, but since today was so calm it would have been a day of floating in the middle of the lake, far less amusing. We decided to try a biketrail a half-hour south of here. Go much south of my suburb and things get Appalachian very quickly, which is both charming and unsettling. The little towns are frozen in time about 50 years in the past. Just try to buy gas with a credit car in Lisbon, Ohio for instance... cash only. After some searching we found the trail, a charming little path through woods and farmland about 8 miles long with enough rolling hills to make life interesting. After biking 8 miles up and 8 back I felt sufficiently accomplished for the early afternoon.

12 August 2006

One Week

Tomorrow the second year novices from Detroit and Chicago provinces take vows, a week from today the new men, including yours truly, enter.

St. Aloysius Gonzoga, SJ
Pray for Us

10 August 2006

Very Heavy Van

Today I found myself in the unusual position of trying to push my grandmother's van out of her garage. The van has been sitting there unmoved for over a year now; neither of my paternal grandparents have been in a position to drive for quite some time. We made arrangements for it to be towed away tomorrow and were trying to make life easier on the towing people. After struggling with the van for half an hour, I found myself confronted by a hard truth: I was not designed to move heavy things. When I try to move heavy things: One, the heavy thing does not budge, and two, I walk funny afterward. Even the join efforts of my father and I were unequal to the mini-van of doom. So that was a pretty lousy moral, but what do you expect, it was a pretty lousy story.

In other news, I spent last weekend in DC visiting friends. I was great to see CUA people, even though I've only been gone for a few months it seems like much longer. What I returned to was a new world from what I had left. In May, we were all carefree college students. In August, I returned to find people with a bit more responsibility on their shoulders, the pressures of a 9-5 job and rent. While this is a natural progression, it was still a bit shocking how much can change in so little time.

02 August 2006


I admit it, I love getting new shoes. There are only two types of cloths I enjoy shopping for hats and shoes. The ends really interest me for some reason, the middle is comparatively dull.

Today was an interesting, we went to Reyers, which claims to be the "World's Largest Shoe Store". I don't know what methodology is used to determine largest. The place is grocery store sized, I assume they go by square footage. Though conceivably the title largest could be claimed by having the most pairs of shoes in stock or perhaps dealing in the largest volume. Regardless, they have a lot of shoes, it's shoe heaven.

Reyers is located about 45 minutes from here in my Dad's hometown. We, my parents, aunt and grandmother, were heading out that way to visit my other grandmother in the nursing home and decided to shop for shoes since we were in the neighborhood. My mother, aunt, and grandmother decided to look for me instead of themselves. Shoes coming at me from every direction. I ended up getting two pair, black priest looking shoes, though nice ones, Ecco's, and new tennis shoes.

Besides the selection, the salespeople at Reyers are remarkably knowledgeable. Booker, our favorite salesperson at Reyers, and yes after many years going to Reyers we know many of them and seek certain ones out. Booker took one look at me standing there and noticed a put slightly more pressure on my instep then normal. Within seconds he produced the perfect tennis shoe for me, it was a footwear miracle.


"I am a deeply superficial person." Andy Warhol (1928-1987)