“The church exists in departure and its destination is the world.” —Eugene Schlesinger, Lecturer in Religious Studies, Santa Clara University
St. Ignatius Loyola definitely would agree with Professor Schlesinger. Ignatius instructed the early Jesuits to “hurry to any part of the world where the needs of the neighbor should summon them.” These days most of us aren’t hurrying anywhere.
We’ve all experienced the frustration, anxiety and loneliness of the pandemic lockdowns. We shelter at home and try to carry on — despite academic disruption and economic loss. To protect ourselves and our neighbors, we forgo hundreds of the little and big interactions that give life meaning. My heart breaks when I think of the weddings indefinitely postponed, the empty classrooms and churches, the layoffs and diminished paychecks. Yet we buckle down. We do our best to do what’s needed, always grateful for the sacrifice and dedication of front-line and essential workers.
For our part, the LMU Jesuits have been largely unable to do the things that drew us to the Society in the first place: ministry. We’re trained to be contemplatives in action, focused inwards and directed outwards, finding God in all things. The truth is, although we’ve had plenty of time for contemplation lately, the “action” part of the equation has been sorely lacking.
So, here’s my Christmas wish: that the vaccinations hasten the day when all of us can be free from containment and isolation, when we can rush out into the world and hurry towards one another.
God bless us everyone!
Eddie Siebert, S.J., M.A. ’02 is the rector of the Jesuit community at LMU and senior lecturer in the LMU School of Film and Television. Siebert is also the founder and president of Loyola Productions, a media company based in Los Angeles.