At the Friends Listen Assembly on Wednesday, we were privileged to hear from two of our student leaders, Jack Farhat and Tom Hamer. They both spoke about different struggles they have experienced and how, through the help, love, support and encouragement of others, especially their families, they have been able to grow and come to a place of peace. They both spoke about the importance of friendship. Will Martyr, our College Captain, told us about St Francis Xavier and how his roommate from the University of Paris helped him see the world in a different way – so much so that he became one of the greatest missionaries in the world. Francis’ roommate was Ignatius of Loyola.
Yesterday we ‘celebrated’ the 500th anniversary of Saint Ignatius being injured by the cannonball in the Battle of Pamplona. This important anniversary marks the beginning of an Ignatian Year that will run until 31 July 2022. The other key event in this Ignatian Year will occur on 12 March 2022, which will be the 400th anniversary of the canonisation of Ignatius, Francis Xavier along with Saints Teresa of Avila, Philip Neri and Isidore.
Over the next 14 months, Jesuits and all of our different ministries across the world have been invited to reflect upon the transformation that took place in the life of Ignatius following his injury in this battle. During the Ignatian Year, we are encouraged to consider the life of St Ignatius through three lenses – as a pilgrim, as a patient and as an ascetic. In reflecting upon the life of St Ignatius, we are invited “to seek all things new in Christ”. Reflecting upon his injury and the different experiences of adversity he encountered, we are encouraged to consider how God helped Ignatius to imagine a new way of living, a way that focused on helping others as an expression of his love of God rather than seeking worldly honour, wealth and fame. In launching the Ignatian Year, Fr Sosa SJ, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, said to his brother Jesuits the following:
“The Ignatian year is a new call to draw inspiration from Ignatius, the Pilgrim. His inner struggle and conversion led him to a very close familiarity with God. This familiarity, this intense love, allowed him to find God in all things and to inspire others to form together an apostolic body, full of missionary zeal. We are heirs to that charism and responsible for its legitimacy in the times we live in.”
There are a number of resources available on the Ignatian Year, including a weekly reflection email about integrating Ignatian spirituality into our everyday lives. These can be accessed here as well as a number of events that will be celebrated within Australia – see jesuit.org.au.
On Sunday we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, the beginning of the early Church with the gift of the Holy Spirit coming to the disciples. The Acts of the Apostles records this event in the following way:
When Pentecost day came round, they had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and then something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.
As we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit this weekend, I invite you to remember and savour the fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness , generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).