Today I remember Michael Kavanaugh, who served lepers in India, and offered Mass for them in graveyards, the only place where people would not try to kill them. I remember Jack Carboy, who dying of cancer and giving thanks to God for his disease, gave spiritual direction to a prostitute dying of AIDS and who wished to give thanks for her disease—their respective maladies forced them to decide what was worth living and dying for. I remember Clarence Martin, who was imprisoned, starved and almost executed in Japanese death camps in the Philippines, who never lost the joy of the Lord, and spent his last years, old and blind, recalling and savoring the graces God had given him.
I know that all those men, my Jesuit brothers, are with us now, interceding for us, in the hopes that we might hear and answer the call of Christ the King.
Henry David Thoreau said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Not so for good Jesuits, who, on fire with love for Christ the King, always have something important to do, and always have a good reason to live and a good reason to die. Good Jesuits, striving always to distinguish themselves in the service of Christ the King, always have more to give, and always have a most urgent purpose.
Young men, if you want to find out how good your best can be, if you want to know truly how amazing is grace and how vile is sin, come clear-eyed, open-hearted, eager-minded, and with ready hands to the high heroism Saint Ignatius intended for his companions in the Society of Jesus.
With thanks to all for who have been good to me, with apologies to all whom I have disappointed, and with hope that God Who has been so faithful this far will bring me from this life to eternal life, among my victorious Jesuit brothers and the whole Company of Heaven, I ask for a special remembrance in your prayers as I mark this Saturday my Silver Jubilee in religious life.
Next week, I will offer advice to parents whose children are leaving for college for the first time. Until then, let’s keep each other in prayer.
Father Robert McTeigue, S.J. is a member of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. A professor of philosophy and theology, he has long experience in spiritual direction, retreat ministry, and religious formation. He teaches philosophy at Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, FL, and is known for his classes in both Rhetoric and in Medical Ethics.