Sunday, September 6, 2009

A New Year at Ciszek

Our community this year welcomed 10 new Jesuits into the fold. We are 28 altogether under 1 roof spanning 13 different provinces (my province, for example, consists of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska). 4 comes from outside the United States - 2 from Jamaica, 1 from Indonesia, and 1 from Mozambique. We all have different backgrounds, stories, ideologies, interests, etc. But, what unites us is our faith, our vocation, and our desire to serve and to love in Christ's imitation. We are human beings marked by our failings and weaknesses, but we all believe we have been touched by the grace of God in our lives -- God who calls us into the world as we are, remaking our shortcomings into places of strength and hope.

Except for our two eldest brothers (who are most excellent formators, by the way), all of us have been asked to dedicate a majority of our time here towards our studies in philosophy -- called, in Formation, First Studies. One of our documents on formation describes philosophy as: "one of the principal means by which the Society forms men, who have reflected on the essential questions which challenge man, who have formed the habit of critical and positive reflection on these question and upon the answers given to them formerly or given today, and who have some understanding of the history of ideas and can relate these things to present cultures." As Jesuits, we have the phrase "Finding God in All Things," and at this time of our formation, we are challenged to seek God in our studies. Hopefully, through these studies and through critically engaging the type of questions that philosophy asks, we become better Jesuits formed to see the world in a different way than when we first began First Studies.

I am taking three courses this Fall - Kierkegaard, History of Christianity I, and Classical Modern (studying philosophers somewhat around the time of Descartes and Hume). Practically 2/3 of our community is in that History class, which should make an interesting dynamic in the classroom. I'm actually looking forward to this semester and think it will be good times all around (crosses fingers). As last school year, I sometimes bring what I have been studying into my blog, so don't be surprised if I use my blog to process what I have been learning.

As a side note, I've decided to be a little more judicious with my writing for the time being. That means I would like to write with some sense of regularity, but probably not the 4-5 times a week like I had been doing at one point in time. I'm aiming for once a week, maybe twice. However, I have been known to do "theme weeks," and if I'm feeling it, I'll throw those in every so often. I have had one request by one of my fellow Jesuit brothers which might show up soon.

By the way, if you couldn't tell, I'm the brown one in the middle =p There's also one who had the audacity to be in the picture even though he would be away at England for the year! We talked about the possibility of photoshopping, so you may see a revised picture in the future (see 2nd row, far right in bright yellow). Shame. /end tongue-in-cheek

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