Good and evil, light and dark, Missy Franklin and the Sikh Temple shooting. Given that this dyad is so tangled up in the world we share maybe we shouldn’t feel so stunned to find them tangled up in what we’ve written about here at TJP during the past week. (Although, as Brendan Busse reminded us a couple weeks ago, maybe we ought not be so quick to judge our feelings as well: “when we do this, when we turn from description to judgment,” he wrote, “we remain lost. When we do this we stop answering the sacred ‘what-is-it-like’ question. We refuse the eternal hospitality of God.” Thanks Brendan).
The light and the dark looked like this at TJP this week:
- Better start with what’s pressing on our hearts: the confusion of not knowing how to respond to more senseless deaths, this time in Milwaukee. Reflect before reacting is the mantra given to us by Matt Spotts as he reflects on his reaction to the Aurora shootings. We recommend his “Too Soon: Responding to Senselessness” to all those willing to feel a bit more.
- The purpose of life can be a bit cloudy even without seemingly-random violence, as Joe Hoover shows us so beautifully in his two-part essay about his friend Briggs paying him a visit. Read part one, and then follow it up with part two.
- After all this confusion, it can be a relief to hear that sometimes it’s not about finding purpose, but about surrendering to it. Or so says newly ordained Pau Vidal, SJ, who we interviewed on Tuesday about his experience of walking the Camino Ignaciano. Pau’s interview was our way of helping the Ignatian family (of which I hope you feel yourselves a part) celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius, certainly one of the lights of our week.
- Speaking of celebrating, Matt Dunch wrote this week of the extraordinary, only minus the “extra.” Yep, it’s everyday, ordinary people, the uncelebrated saints who just try to do good, who are extolled this week at TJP.
- Another of the week’s consolations came in Olympic form. Vinny Marchionni returned to talk about three of the U.S. athletes with Jesuit connections currently mixing it up with athletes from around the world in London (including Missy Franklin, who will be a Senior at Regis Jesuit High School next year).
- But London isn’t the only place where cultural mixing goes on. Apparently it’s also happening in that most hermity of hermit kingdoms, North Korea. Even so, Quang Tran warns us against assuming that Mickey’s arrival and the singing of “Hakuna Matata” signal some sort of radical shift in North Korean isolationism; American cultural symbols can be used for all kinds of things – even lessening the burdens of dictatorship.
We hope that reading (or rereading) these pieces from the past week of TJP will only help us all be aware of the ways that the good Spirit and the bad cast light or darkness across our lives… and that our TJP community can continue to hold this fragile world in prayer.
Until next week…