Winter is setting in and it is beginning to get colder here in Dublin. The leaves on trees are changing colour and then later falling away. This transition has not gone unnoticed. See the adjoining photograph captured by Roman. While pondering nature the tertians do try to notice the transitions that take place within them as well.
We began the week with our reflections on the previous week and presentations on the Constitutions. Michele spoke on the Formula of the Institute, Roman on the criteria involved in choosing a candidate (General Examen), Lukas and Julian on chapters 1 and 2 of part VII (Mission), Eugene and Learoy on chapter four of part VII and chapter 3 of the book of John O’Malley (The First Jesuits). All the presentations were engrossing and stirred reflection and sharing.
During this week we also had a session on Discernment, done by Tom. Besides input he also got us to ponder the Rules for Discernment, pray for a short while, and then share insights and points that moved each one. It turned out to be a reflective exercise.
Seamus O’Connor, an Irish diocesan priest, took for us an engaging session in Lectio Divina. He guided us through his adaptation of the steps involved in Lectio Divina. His entire session was prayer, interspersed with reading of scripture, praying, applying the text to one’s life and noticing God speak through it all.
Friday Haustus has continued to stir up laughter and conversations on a variety of topics.
All Saints day (1st Nov) – we celebrated the day with a lovely Eucharist, and with the wine sent to Lukas from the President of the Jesuit school where he worked in Chicago.
This weekend some of the Tertians watched the first two parts of the film series on Teresa de Jesus (the life of Teresa of Avila) in Spanish. All found it really enthralling to see her life’s moving story come alive on screen.
The week began with the regular Monday morning sharing.
Much of this week was devoted to the study of the Constitutions. We began with the Formula of the Institute, then moved on to the General Examen, and then to part VII (the core of the Constitutions). Paul gave us topics for presentation. The presentations will be next week.
On 21st Oct we had a very crucial session on Safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults, by Saoirse Fox, the safeguarding manager working for the Irish province. It was on zoom. She alerted us to the essentials concerning ethical ministry today, and the protocol in place for all who work in Ireland. She said she hoped to come again someday for a discussion and sharing in person.
This week we also received our Faculty for ministry – from Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin.
Gerry Clark, an Irish Jesuit at Gardiner street parish shared with us via zoom, his life experiences. His was quite a frank and moving story. One of his striking lines was, when he felt challenged in life to “tell it as it is.”
Vlasto Dufka, a Slovak Jesuit, enthralled us with his session in Liturgy, and especially Liturgical music. He played sample chants which we were able to learn and probably take to our masses too.
The tertianship Website has been updated by Julian and can now be accessed at https://tertianship.eu/
Haustus this weekend was full of song (oldies and latest chartbusters) with all six wise men singing to the rhythm of the guitar.
Adoration on Sunday night was a very peaceful time. Julian exposed the Blessed sacrament and gave the final blessing.
This year the tertianship group in Dublin consists of 6 members. We gathered for the first time on 21 September 2020. We will be together until the end of May 2021.
During this time we will share with each other our experiences of our jesuit vocations through the spiritual exercises, reflecting upon our foundation texts, sharing our stories of ministry, and through different ministries.
We began with our sharing on the previous week. With every passing week the experiences seem deeper and richer.
Paul introduced us to the Experiments in Europe and the manner in which we are to go about discerning what kind of experiment will bring each one much profit. The experiment will be from 21st Jan to 4th April 2021.
Tom did a nice session with us on the Examen and Ignatian ways of praying. This served as a good refresher on prayer methods.
Paul took a session on the Deliberations of the First Fathers. One of the striking lines he quoted was “… as was with the first fathers, every group of tertians refounds the Society.” We had Eileen O’Driscoll sharing with us her experience of working with the Jesuit team at Manresa retreat house, and how in general she has seen Ignatian spirituality permeate her life and her work.
Brian O’Leary, an Irish Jesuit, gave us a very insightful five hour-long sessions in Unlocking the Constitutions. His input was much appreciated. He gave us keys needed to enter into the Spirit of the Constitutions, the way Ignatius might have wanted every Jesuit to. It served as great preparation for the sessions which we will have in the reading of the Constitutions in the days ahead.
On Friday we had a meeting with the Jesuit community at Manresa retreat house. It was a nice gathering. It was nice to get to know the community and something about them. They too seemed glad to meet us.
Piaras Jackson spoke to us about the functioning of the retreat centre. He also showed us the lovely chapel and prayer room at the retreat house. He told us that we are welcome to pray there during the Spiritual Exercises.
The stained glass windows in the chapel are the creative work of Evie Home.
Piaras Jackson, the director of the retreat house on campus, gave us an enlightening session on the Church in Ireland. He dwelt on the history of Catholicity in Ireland moving all the way down to modern trends.
We then had our community photograph clicked. Piaras was the expert roped in to do the job.
This was then followed by the tertians sharing (in 20 minutes each) the main features of the Church in their own countries. These sessions really gave us a global sense of how the Church has evolved and how the spirit has been moving in varying contexts. It also brought to the fore the challenges of the present day.
During this week we were allotted our Spiritual Guides, and most had their first meeting with their respective spiritual guides. Paul then took an important session on Celibate Chastity. It involved much pondering and serious reflection. In this week the tertians continued to explore parts of Dublin, including Glasnevin cemetery (which has among others the tombstone of Gerard Manley Hopkins), the Cathedral, Dublin castle, the Molly Malone statue, and other places.
Lord, show me your ways. Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez SJ