Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Looking twice

I took this photograph in the public square outside the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris over the summer with my disposable camera. The centre houses among other things a collection of contemporary art. Just outside, an apartment block overlooking the square houses ordinary Parisian's. Their building is transformed into a public expression of something hidden, waiting to be revealed. As I looked at this I began to see the urban environment around me with new eyes...

if you look at something twice,
it changes.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Eyes to see...

I stumbled across this video-clip after school hours. It is entitled 'Infinity'. For me it shows how everyday reality can become a fascinating encounter for those who have eyes to see. Isn't this what faith does to us?

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Energized by teaching

After first studies Jesuits are asked to do some apostolic work. Since three weeks I am active in a school in Belgium teaching Latin and Religion. The thing that energizes me the most in my new job is the enthusiasm of the kids for what I have to bring, be it the Latin for "Hello, how are you?" or the question on how to live a good life and how to make a good choice, two of the central themes of the curriculum I need to teach. Teaching is not a one way street, I have discovered. Without my enthusiasm for what I give the pupils will soon lose interest. And without the enthusiasm of the pupils I find myself drained. We both energize each other. That for me is the sign that I am doing well. It is a sign of consolation, as Ignatius would call it, a sign that the good spirit is at work.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Transcending Mission

All of us have a mission. There is something each one of us is called to do with our lives. You might have already discovered it. You might have been given it, or some situation may have drawn it out from you. It might have remained hidden from you for years and years, and perhaps it is still a secret to you. But for each one of us, there is a mission, one thing each of us has been called to do with our lives.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

God of Freedom: The Grand Inquisitor's Fear of Christ's Message

The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoevsky

I felt sick. I was at the British Library when I finally reached the part of this novel known as the Legend of the Grand Inquisitor. I sped through the dialogue, taking up chapter 5: Pro and Contra. Engulfed in the doubt that is a common occurrence in my life, I felt deadened by a relentless assault of painful accusation against the Roman Catholic Church, and specifically against the Jesuits. Several cups of coffee and a good amount of prayer were needed to bring any feeling back, but let me describe the work that brought about such an existential crisis.

Monday, 5 September 2011

God of Smallness: The Little Way in Literature

by Georges Bernanos

I was only slightly surprised when one of my superiors said that they "didn't like" The Diary of a Country Priest, despite its status as a "Catholic classic". After all Jesuits are meant to do great things, aren't we? Jesuit saints go out and baptise the Indies, die in the most gloriously gruesome manners in the Americas, or bring back to the faith to heretic Europe. It is a spirituality of the Magis, "the more" that inspires people to do great things for God. So the diary of a simple parish priest in a French backwater is just less interesting than the lives of many of our brothers in Christ. And I suppose that is the whole point of The Diary.