Ignatius of Loyola used the expression “ friends in the Lord” to describe the relationship members of the Society of Jesus have to one another. Something of the meaning of this expression has come to new life as the tertians continue to share their experiences, to engage in study and reflection and begin to look to the missions they will take up or resume in the coming months. The week began with the sharing of reflections on the previous week, hearing from each person in turn. The discussions which followed addressed the topic of poverty and continued to look at the Jesuit constitutions.

Friday’s two sessions were collaboratively presented by David Ford and Micheál Ó Siadhail. The theologian and poet have been friends since meeting in Trinity College And have remained in close contact since. Their presentation evidenced an interplay of inspirations and demonstrated our friendship affirms, challenges and enables the expression of truth. They began by highlighting the importance of gratitude, indicating the influence of teachers and mentors and then went on to consider how friendship enriches life.

Using the lens of friendship, David Ford spoke about interfaith dialogue as representing an invitation to have daring friendships – ones which do not necessarily involve agreeing with people. “We need to be open to fundamental surprises of who God wants us to relate to,” he said. David described Scriptural Reasoning, talking about his engagement with this emerging discipline.

Micheál  offered perspectives on the themes that he and David had chosen  by  offering a selection from his extensive work, introducing and reading some poems to which responses were also invited.