The Servant's Only Strength

Creighton University's web site on the 35th General Convention of the Society of Jesus has posted the homily (click the first link under "Latest News") preached by newly elected Father General Adolfo Nicolas, S.J. Here is an excerpt:

The prophet Isaiah says that serving pleases the Lord. To serve is what counts: to serve the Church, the world, our fellow men and women, and the Gospel. Saint Ignatius also has written in summary form about our life: in all things to love and to serve. And our pope, Holy Father Benedict XVI, has reminded us that God is love; he has reminded us of the Gospels essence.

Later on the prophet Isaiah describes the servants strength. God is the servants only strength. We do not have any other source of strength: not the external strength found in politics, in business, in the media, in studies, in titles, nor the internal fortitude found in research. Only God. Exactly like the poor. Not too long ago I spoke to one of you regarding something that happened to me while working with immigrants. It was an experience that deeply affected me. A Filipino woman who had experienced many difficulties adapting to the Japanese society, a woman who had suffered a great deal, was asked by another Filipino woman for advice. The second woman said, I have many problems with my husband and I do not know if I should get divorced or try to savemy marriage... In other words, she wanted advice concerning a rather common problem.

The first woman replied, I do not know what advice to give you right now. However, come with me to Church so that the two of us can pray because only God really helps the poor. This statement deeply touched me because it is so true. The poor only have God in whom to find their strength. For us only God is our strength. Unconditional, disinterested service finds its source of strength only in God.

There is also a beautiful slideshow of photographs from the Thanksgiving Mass, including photos of a prayer service held shortly before the Mass in the camarette, the room where Ignatius wrote the constitutions of the Society of Jesus. I found the latter photographs particularly powerful.

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