A good friend – who worked in Italy as a diplomat for 40 years – once told me a funny story about his Christmas visit to the Jesuit College in Rome during the early 1970s. He mused that the Jesuits celebrated the Nativity of Our Lord exceptionally well: food, drink, lively discussions, and great joy. However, once the meal was finished and the festivities were concluded, each man returned to his respective room… and – in short time – all that could be heard echoing throughout the corridors of the College building was the clicking of typewriters. Indeed, even on Christmas day, the Jesuits had academic articles to finish and important communication to resume.
I am afraid that this reality is not entirely different for most Jesuits in 2014. Many times, especially in the late evenings, each of the tertians is typically squirrelled away behind his computer typing reflections, finishing presentations, and preparing personal notes. All of this is very practical and necessary for our program. However, last week, something unthinkable happened. For almost eight days, without any apparent reason, our Internet service was disconnected and we were left without access to the World Wide Web.
Now, you might think that those who rely on the Internet for regular communication might be very distressed by such a thing. However, upon reflection, it seems clear that we merely took the opportunity to spend our time lingering at meals, meeting with others in the evenings around a glass of beer or wine, or going for long walks in the neighbourhood. For the most part, the loss of the Internet was merely a minor inconvenience that was easily endured.
In this way, we might consider the call of St. Ignatius that each person (including you) live with a spiritual indifference. We should not ask – as it says in the Principle and Foundation – for a long life over a short life; riches over poverty; health over illness… an Internet connection over no Internet connection. Rather, we should always be content with what the Lord gives to each of us in our own particular state. In all things, we are to trust in the slow working of God, for – in time – all things will conspire toward the good regardless of what we may or may not have.
Hopefully, now that the Internet connection has been re-established, you will have regular updates from us. If you are interested in a daily overview of what we are doing in the house, please check out the Historia Domus provided by one of the tertians. It is a brief history of our daily activities, and it will give you a sense of what we are doing as we progress into the increasingly overcast and damp Dublin fall.