I had noticed Jim Martin’s piece before on the new site, The Jesuit Post, but Liam emailed it to me with this commentary:
An inspirational break from the dispiriting
Indeed. So I read “The Five Best Pieces of Jesuit Wisdom I’ve Ever Heard” with a little more attention this time. I commend it to any serious believer. After reading it, I also had to do my own examen because just in the last hour I’ve had battles with numbers one, two, and four. And the other two are still pretty lukewarm for me.
It never gets easy to deal with envy. I think Fr Martin is an outstanding writer. I actually caught myself thinking, “I wish I could write like him!” before realizing that I have other things I do better that don’t involve the internet or writing books and articles. Stick with what the retreat showed me, I thought gently.
Piece number four was sparked by a difficult fellow novice. Fr Martin:
At one point in my Jesuit training I lived with a difficult person in community. (Imagine that!) He had many good qualities, but he was also argumentative and combative. (Eventually he would leave the Jesuits.) Since I was always running into him, it seemed that I was slowly changing in response. I was always on guard – combative and argumentative myself – in order to protect myself.
The Jesuit community? Sounds more like the blogosphere to me.
At one point, I told my spiritual director that his personality seemed to be making me into a different person, someone I didn’t like. I was becoming someone in reaction to him.
Don’t let anyone prevent you from becoming the person you want to be. He has no right to do that, nor does he really have the power. God desires you to become loving and charitable. Don’t let him distract you.
It may only have taken fourteen years, but this piece seems very appropriate for the Catholic blogosphere these days, at least from my perspective. Maybe I stick too close to the flock just to make a point of not being part of it. There might be something to just going my own way for a time. It won’t be easy or overnight, and Fr Martin is wise to realize that …
It was hard advice to follow. But it was essential. Rather than let someone else’s problems mold you, become the person God wants you to become.
Sounds good to me. Thanks Liam.