Editor’s Note: November 5th was the feast of All Saints and Blesseds of the Society of Jesus. So, to celebrate, we asked Jim Martin to give us his top twelve ways to finish the sentence: “You know you’re a Jesuit when…”. We’re pretty confident that all Jesuits, whether currently in the earthly or the heavenly Church at present, will nod their heads as they read his list (as no doubt will many of our lay colleagues who know us all too well). This post originally appeared on November 5, 2013.
You know you’re a Jesuit when…
1. You hear the word “visitation,” and you don’t think Mary and Elizabeth. You think Provincial.
2. You use the following words in normal conversation and suddenly realize that people have no idea what you’re talking about: primi, secundi, socius, manualia, manuductor, ordinandi, informatio.
3. You are, on the other hand, quite concerned, and not without reason, that you’ll accidentally use the word “extern” among externs.
4. You compare villas.
5. You know that the four secret keypad numbers to 50% of the front doors of Jesuit residences in this country are the date when St. Ignatius Loyola… well, you know.
6. You’re talking to a novice and he tells you something about his novitiate that strikes you as surprising, and it takes every last bit of willpower, and every last ounce of self-control not to say, “When I was a novice…” But you say it anyway. Because you’re a Jesuit and you can’t help it. Then you tell him all about your novitiate, which you entered the year he was born, and he tries to look interested.
7. You nod in sympathy when someone tells you he feels like he’s in the Third Week.
8. You are unsurprised when, upon visiting another Jesuit community, you discover that your guest room is furnished with a lime-colored, plastic-covered wooden chair from 1973, a gray metal desk that is only slightly smaller than a battleship (and whose top drawer contains three pencils, two sheets of community stationery, a paper clip and a Jesuit catalogue from 1997), a pillow whose color could charitably be described as “beige,” towels that could be easily mistaken for extra-large dishcloths, and a ten-foot wrought-iron floor lamp that you think is objectively the ugliest lighting fixture in the Assistancy, which is equipped with a 25-watt lightbulb, which, when you turn it on before bedtime, doesn’t work, and so you decide to go looking for the closet where the spare bulbs are kept, on your own because you don’t want to wake the minister up since it’s so late, and when you quietly close the door so as not to disturb anyone in the community, you realize you’ve just locked yourself out of your room.
9. You wonder what Father General would say if he saw all the clothes hanging in your closet that aren’t clerical shirts or black suits. So one day you decide to throw some out because you want to be more faithful to your vow of poverty. Then, as you’re cleaning out your closet, you realized that it’s silly to throw them out because you might need them later on, and might have to buy replacements, and so it’s actually more in keeping with poverty to hold onto them. So you keep them. But you still worry about Father General seeing your closet anyway.
10. You love some of your Jesuit brothers as much as you could ever love a blood brother. Well, not every single one of them, but so many that you find it hard to believe how blessed you are.
11. You know that entering the Jesuits was the best decision you ever made.
12. You hope your death card photo won’t be too awful.
The cover image, by MKieloch at Flickr, can be found here.