Friday 9 March 2018

The Intersection of Giving and Gratitude

This week I was in Melbourne for a meeting of Directors of Advancement from the Jesuit schools. We talked about the spiritual dimension of fundraising and how central giving was to Saint Ignatius, our patron and the founder of the Jesuits. For a large part of his life, Ignatius was radically dependent on God to provide everything he needed: money for studies, books, a place to live, food, clothing; you name it, Ignatius had to beg for it. God provided everything Ignatius needed in the form of large-hearted people who understood him and believed in him. Interestingly, it was a group of women who were the most generous to him and who really enabled him to become the person who started the Society of Jesus. There are vast numbers of letters that Ignatius wrote to these women who supported him that we still have today. For 30-plus years, he wrote to them to express his gratitude. At the intersection of giving and gratitude, it should be no surprise that we find women who could see the saintly potential of someone on a journey and were moved to support him. Celebrating International Women’s Day, we should be grateful for all the women who move the world forward and get us where we’re going.

This week’s reflection:

I shot this a couple of years ago with a Duke of Edinburgh group of students on the Overland Track. We were lucky to have a window of about 5 hours where we were able to reach the summit of Mount Ossa, the highest point in Tasmania. This was taken on the way up and that’s Meika, one of our guides as we stopped to rest on the ascent. There was a lot of that for me. But you could already see the weather starting to shift on the way up. I was ready to turn around several times on the way up, but Meika kept me in the fight. Talking. Distracting me from the climb. Letting me rest when I needed to. Who are those people you count on to keep you going when it’s tough? Can you be grateful for them today?

Fr Jack McLain SJ