February is a month when many of us could use a little encouragement. St. Ignatius himself knew that a few positive words could go a long way when people are discouraged. In 1533, the Jesuit Superior at Modena was struggling with how to cope with the young Jesuits under his care. St. Ignatius wrote,
"Above all, remember that God seeks from us solid virtues, such as patience, humility, obedience, abnegation of our own will, and charity—that is, readiness to serve him and to serve our neighbour for his sake—rather than other forms of devotion, though his providence may grant us these when he sees that they are good for us."
I find it interesting that St. Ignatius’ words of encouragement are accompanied by a call to have patience, and a reminder that God will grant us these "solid virtues" when He feels the time is right. We must trust in God’s goodness, wisdom, and providence and keep moving ahead and be open to His plans for us, whether it be January 1 or February 1.
The Jesuits are always encouraged by your kindness and your prayers and continue to remember their friends and benefactors each day.
Barry J. Leidl