One Friend to Another: Jesuit Bragging

Muhammad Ali Bragging

From Celestine Chua, Flickr Creative Commons

“Jesuits love bragging about other Jesuits.”

If you are at all familiar with the Society of Jesus, you might be thinking, “That’s an understatement.”

We’re not exactly known for our humility.

These words were spoken to me by a young Jesuit when I was a college student trying to figure out what to do with my life. Strangely, it didn’t sound arrogant. As he spoke, it was clearly coming from a deep love for his brothers.

Since stepping in as the Editor in Chief of The Jesuit Post, I’ve had a bit of a case of impostor syndrome. I get to work with some dudes who are way more talented and thoughtful than I, guys who make me want to be a better person. Now I’m one of those Jesuits who loves bragging about other Jesuits.

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Recently, we and America jointly published an essay by Damian Torres-Botello. He shares that he is gay in the context of writing about how he is created in the image and likeness of God and is “more than my skin color, my sexual orientation, and my economic class.”

Many are proud of Damian for his courage to share this publicly; many are also proud of his superiors for giving us permission to publish this. Count me among them.

Admittedly, this time has been a bit out of the ordinary because of the attention that followed Damian’s article, but in other ways, it has also been pretty typical. Every week I get to work with brother Jesuits I admire who are writing pieces that inspire me, make me laugh, and challenge me to think in new ways.

Here are some of those pieces from this month in case you missed them:

Eric Immel, in an essay entitled “With Scars and All,” writes that the scars of the resurrected Jesus “are a reminder that suffering is a part of life. We don’t make it out unscathed. But, in his suffering and in his love, our own wounds become more bearable. They become linked with the divine.”

Two guys made their TJP debuts this month. Andrés Arteaga takes a fascinating look at modern dance. He notes that “you can choose to make it your prayer or you can simply use it as a way to destress.” Plus, he argues, if Taylor Swift and Sia are doing it – and come on, if Andrés Arteaga is doing it – then it has to be cool.

Lucas Sharma in “Confronting Inner Prejudices” shares how “race and ethnicity slapped me in the face during the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.” Not only did he encounter racism in a new city, but he also saw his own inner prejudices.

Nate Romano looks at proposed changes to SNAP – AKA “food stamps” – and argues that such changes “aren’t about healthy eating. And they are not about preventing fraud or making the system function better. They are about shaming. They are about judging.”

Dan Dixon takes an inspiring look at one amazing high school student, Carlos Belmont, a senior at Cristo Rey New York, and writes, “Spending the morning with the (almost) final product of a Cristo Rey education, a truism became true again: it takes a community to educate a child.” But, he notes, it also takes a lot of Carlos’s own hard work.  

***

Of course, this collective pride can make me blind. While I celebrate Damian, I may not see the many times we Jesuits have not had such courage. While I get excited about the Cristo Rey Network and Jesuit-educated students like Carlos Belmont, I often do not see the millions of dedicated teachers and students at public and private schools around the country.

Still, I don’t think the answer is to stop celebrating the good, the small victories, the tiny bits of love and truth and beauty. I will continue to brag about other Jesuits — but hopefully brag about others, too.

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