All Saints and Blesseds of the Society of Jesus

Today the Society of Jesus celebrates its family of heroes, those who have realized their vocations fully and are in Heaven. The Jesuit charism, like all charisms, is a unique gift from God to His Church.  It has been described as combining the coolness of the intellect with the warmth of the heart. Though noted for intellectual work from the start, it was the Jesuit Order that above all fostered devotion to the Sacred Heart in a Europe that was moving steadily away from that heart and into the emptiness of “clear and distinct ideas.”

Before the Vatican Council, Jesuits were sometimes described as “monks with watches” for the Order had taken on much from the monastic tradition in its style of life, while staying in the world.  Though influenced by monasticism – St. Ignatius had a tremendous sacramental deepening of his conversion at the very famous Benedictine monastery at Montserrat in Spain – both he and the early Jesuits were especially drawn to, and involved with, the Carthusian order, the strictest order of hermits in the Church. This is so much the case, that rather than being “monks with watches” I suspect the early Jesuits were really “Carthusians in the world.” That is, because of the tremendous insistence on the mortification of the will, the whole world could become the cell for the Jesuit, whose heart was contemplating the Lord Jesus, while his mind and hands were engaged in the active service of souls – using all things for the greater glory of God, under the Standard of Christ the King.

Pope Francis seems clearly aware of this, for he early singled out Bl. Peter Faber, intimately tied to the Carthusian Order, as a special favorite of his, whom he actually canonized.   Knowing that his men would not necessarily have long time for prayer, St. Ignatius insisted on mortification above all to give the freedom needed to serve Christ the King in the world. Today we rejoice in that army of men who have served the Lord and His Church gloriously throughout the centuries, from the classrooms of the world’s great academies to the jungles and distant islands of the missions, and many suburban high schools and parishes and retreat houses in between. And we ask their intercession for us, at our battle stations.

November 5th, 2015