Exploring Faith Together
During Alumni Reunion Weekend on a steamy July day, a lively couple who graduated 30 years ago told the poignant story of their lives and the choices they made at various twists and turns: when to marry, where to seek jobs, whether to live in the city or the suburbs, where to send their children to school. They mused that something would always happen when they made the big decisions that gave them a sense they had chosen wisely and prudently. Though everything was never perfect, they eventually came to a sense of peace and a yearning for the newness of life that would blossom from their choices.
In the past months, casual conversations with students, alumni and faculty indicated that Marquette family members are excited about the choice that brought Rev. Scott Pilarz, S.J., to serve as the university’s 23th Jesuit president. His selection was the result of a community-wide discernment that involved people on many levels.
Moving in a new direction with new leadership is one of those life twists and a bold undertaking; one always wonders if a decision is right. Such changes do not come without at least a little anxiety. It is perhaps in the nature of believers to wonder: Is this God’s will? How do we know?
In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius invites us to “be attentive” to the movements of our spirit as a confirmation of good discernment. He writes “... it is characteristic of the Good Spirit … to give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and peace. This He does by making all easy, by removing all obstacles so that the soul goes forward in doing good.” (n. 315)
Talking with the alumni couple reminded me that individuals, couples, families and even universities face myriad choices at every stage of life. The wisdom of St. Ignatius teaches us to pay attention to what draws us deeper into being the people of faith, hope and love in which we find God’s peace and direction.
Dr. Susan Mountin, Jour ’71, Grad ’94, director of Manresa for Faculty, helps us till the soil of faith in a quarterly column on Ignatian values.