Nick Austin, SJ



Nicholas Austin, SJ gave a talk to the tertians on The Portrait of the General and on the Virtues in Jesuit Spirituality and Life. It was very timely for in months to come, the Society will be having a general congregation and will elect a new superior general.

Nick  teaches theology at Heythrop College, University of London, and has previously taught at Edinburgh Living Theology. He also did his tertianship here at European Tertianship in Dublin two years ago.

Though we were asked to reflect on the different qualities/virtues  that a general should possess, that same reality holds true to every Jesuit who ought to live a life worthy of our call as members of the Society of Jesus. If one is to be faithful to his vows and ministry, those qualities and virtues should be evident.

These qualities are the following:

  1. Qualities of Spirit:

Familiarity with God

2. Qualities of Heart

Love of Neighbour and humility

Temeperance, Modesty and Decorum

Kindness and Rectitude

Magnanimity, Fortitude, Perseverance, Constancy and Equanimity

3. Qualities of Head

Learning and Prudence/Discretion/Discernment/Good Counsel

Initiative and Completion

It was a worthwhile session of short talks, reflection and group sharing.

After the session, I thought to myself that given those qualities that we are looking for in our Superior General, probably we are looking for a saint. It  may sound idealistic but it is possible and I remain hopeful. We have countless of Jesuits who exemplifies/d those qualities/virtues; saints and ordinary Jesuits alike.

We continue to pray to be magnanimous at heart, mind and action.

“I humbly ask that you judge this total commitment of myself acceptable; and as you have freely given me the desire to make this offering, so also may you give me the abundant grace to fulfill it” (Jesuit Vow Formula)


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