Dear Friends of the Jesuits:
On August 2, the Church and especially the Jesuits remember St. Peter Faber. One of the original companions of St. Ignatius of Loyola, he was the first Jesuit to be ordained a priest. He was therefore the person who received the solemn religious vows of St. Ignatius himself and his companions in 1534 at Montmartre, France. A master of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, he travelled throughout Europe, renewing the Church through personal interactions with the faithful and the not-so-faithful. He is considered by many to be one of the co-founders of the Jesuits, along with Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier.
As many of you know, St. Ignatius was a prolific letter writer, and I’d like to share with you this month an excerpt from a letter sent to Peter Faber in 1542. St. Ignatius captures the apprehension and even fear that all of us may feel when communicating with others. Today, it often seems like many people are very sensitive to what others are saying, writing, or posting on social media.
It is comforting that someone as great as St. Ignatius had the same insecurities and worries about many of the same issues that still concern us in our daily lives. He knew that he had made mistakes and would continue to do so.
So, here are St. Ignatius’ thoughts on how he communicates with others:
I write the principal letter once, putting down what will be edifying, and then I reread and correct it, keeping in mind that everyone is going to read it. Then I write it out a second time, or have someone else do it, for whatever appears in writing needs closer scrutiny than what is merely spoken; the written word remains as a perpetual witness that cannot be changed or explained away as is easily done with speech. Even with all this, I am sure that I make mistakes and I fear I will do so in the future.
The Jesuits hope and pray that you are continuing to do as well as expected during these unusual days. Your prayers and support are always appreciated, and please remember the Jesuits pray for you and your intentions always.
Barry J. Leidl