Where am I?
During Lent of 1539, St. Ignatius of Loyola invited all of his companions to Rome to discuss their future. After much deliberation, they decided to formally establish the Society of Jesus and transform the way we reflect on and carry out our spirituality. Just as we think of Lent as a time of preparation, St. Ignatius embarked on a life of “helping souls” as the founder of the Jesuits at a fitting time.
While Lent is, indeed, a season of preparation for the celebration of Easter, it is also a time to examine our lives in hopes of opening our hearts and souls to God’s forgiveness and mercy. We as Christians are called to do penance through prayer, fasting, abstinence and by exercising works of piety and charity. During this Lent, let us reflect on how we as faithful followers of Jesus Christ are preparing ourselves for a life in service of those in need.
Signs of our students at St. Louis University High School preparing for lives as leaders in the community are omnipresent, both inside and outside the classroom. Our Senior Project provides one of the most poignant examples of how our young men are beginning to integrate the ideals of “men for others” into their daily routine. Since the program began more than 30 years ago, each senior student dedicates the entire month of January in service to those in the community. Some even travel abroad for their Senior Project.
It is interesting to note that our Community Service Project (CSP) has been exceedingly successful in preparing our students for Senior Project. Each year more than 400 students participate in this voluntary co-curricular activity, which, by the way, is our most popular club and benefits more than 30 service sites in the metropolitan area. It is refreshing to see how our students are striving to carry out the “magis,” or endeavor to do more and continually improve, through CSP.
This dynamic cycle of continually preparing for a life in service of Jesus Christ illustrates our mission in action at SLUH. Similarly, it is reflective of the spirit of Lent and how simple, yet vital is the act of preparation. As we reflect on our own faith this Lent, let us recall St. Ignatius as he laid the foundation for the Jesuits during Lent of 1539. The sacrifices we make for others today will resurrect Christ’s love and champion His peace tomorrow.
I wish you and your loved ones a safe and prayerful Lent culminating in the Easter celebration.
David J. Laughlin