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CAMPFUEASTNUERWES

Growing in our love
                                                               for                                            God  and
By Rev. Michael Woods, S.J.
Coordinator, Sustainability Program for Appalachian Institute
Wheeling Jesuit University

There is a quote attributed to St. Ignatius that goes                                                       to know the world profoundly, to enter the conversa-

like this: “If you want to grow in your love for God, talk tion. Yet such knowledge must move one to act and

about it.” It is near impossible to talk about the mis- love the very same world that God places before us,

sion of Jesuit higher education, and Wheeling Jesuit to stand in awe before its beauty, and to not shy away

University in particular, without tapping into the deep from entering into its most broken places, hearts and

spirituality that inspires and directs this endeavor of dreams.

the Society of Jesus.                                                                                       I think the author Frederick Beuchner captured

Simply put, for Jesuits teaching is one way to talk this sentiment well. “The place where God calls you is

about God and the university is one of our privileged the place where your deep gladness and the world’s

contexts to grow in our love for God and the world             deep hunger meet.” I know that not all the readers of
                                                                                    the Chronicle may be people of faith,

‘‘’’ lIof yvoeufowr aGnotdto, tgalrkowabionuytoitu. rthat God so loves. While this is ourvocation as Jesuits                     so perhaps Beuchner’s line could be
                                                                                                                                 phrased this way: “The place where
                                                                                                                                 your hearts’ most authentic desire
                                                                                                                                 and longing calls you is the place
                                                                                                                                 where your deep gladness and the
                                                                                                            world’s deep hunger meet.” Jesuit education must be

we know well that much of this task falls to our lay           geared toward the world’s deep hunger, a hunger for

colleagues and partners. So for all of us tasked with          basic human needs, truth, compassion and justice. If
educating the whole person, faculty and staff alike,           we do not nourish such a spiritual way, we come up

we seek to help our students enter into the deep-              way short in our mission.

er conversations about God’s marvelous and often                                                            This “talking about God” manifests itself in myriad

complicated world.                                             ways and it is not simply a task relegated to the theo-

    I was reminded of a line from Gail Goodwin’s 1999 logians. There was once a time when Jesuits occu-
book, Evensong, where she wrote: “Something’s your pied positions in almost every academic department

vocation if it keeps making more of you.” Jesuit ed- on campus. I have been asked by some people who

ucation can never be merely about ‘getting a degree are not familiar with our Jesuit tradition, “What do Je-

and a good job so I can pay off all my school loans!’ suits do?” This question can often invite some pithy,

Rather such an education must call forth more, the                                                          off handed and humorous responses. But my basic

magis. It should inculcate in the student a deep thirst response is, well, pretty much everything! Jesuits have

24 Wheeling Jesuit University
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