November 2018 Principal’s Newsletter
Dear Parents and Friends:
I have heard it said that Americans are great at making preparations and taking action, but rarely take the time to reflect. At Jesuit, our commitment to Ignatian spirituality calls for us to reflect deeply on what has happened and what is happening. It asks us to be attentive to what is stirring within us, as this stirring is often when and where we encounter God. Two recent and seemingly non-related events have been on my mind. That is to say, something has been stirring within me, and it was only recently that I realized these experiences are connected.
The first was my experience watching our Fall play, The Elephant Man, and the second was attending the Mother-Son Liturgy. Since watching The Elephant Man, I’ve been struggling with the concept of what constitutes authentic care for others versus when our charity or kindness is simply a way to feel better about ourselves. When is something a selfish act of charity rather than true care and concern for the “other”? The play, with the amazing performances from the students, challenges us to reflect and ask ourselves what it really means to be in a genuine relationship with others.
The other experience that has been on my mind was attending the Mother-Son Liturgy. I usually take my mom to this event, we say the blessing at the end of the Mass, and then join my family for brunch. This year, however, she was out of the country and I attended the event without her. It was great to see so many mothers and sons praying together and it reminded me how much I appreciate and love my mother. The strangeness of being at that event alone has been stirring in me ever since.
And then I realized what God was trying to tell me. In my contemplation of true and authentic care and generosity, I realized my mother has always been the model of compassion for those in need. Throughout my life, my mother invited into our home people who needed help. Her mother did the same. There were victims of domestic violence, recovering addicts, people between homes, people who were lonely or lost, or sometimes simply friends or relatives who needed a new environment for a couple days. It became normal. She never asked for praise or recognition. It is what she has learned from her mother and it is the way she still lives her life.
So, this Thanksgiving I will be thanking God for my mother. I will also be thankful that I get to work and serve in a place like Jesuit High School, which teaches both students and adults to reflect, to attend to what is stirring, and to encounter a God who delights in us always.
Peace and blessings on all of you this Thanksgiving.
Michael Wood ‘99