Jesuits to hold discernment seminar for collegians, yuppies

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Portrait of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus.

QUEZON City, Feb. 18, 2014—The Society of Jesus (SJ) will be holding a discernment seminar on Sunday, February 23, 2014 from 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon at the Loyola House of Studies in Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City.

Jesuit brother Ed Colmenares told the CBCP News that the seminar will be providing attendees an overview of what being a Jesuit is like.

It also aims to help them on their path of “discernment”, added Colmenares. 

But what exactly is discernment?

The official website of the Philippine Jesuits defines discernment as “a seeking of God’s will in my life through the inner movements of the Spirit of Love”.  

It explains that “people are all called to discernment, because a Christian life (vocation) is precisely a response to God’s will and call to discipleship”.

It quoted the Gospel of St. Luke 1:38, where it is said: “Be it done to me according to your word.”

“This response to God’s call is the only source of my real happiness in this life and hereafter.  It is an act of deep gratitude on my part for all that the Lord has done for me—and how he has loved me,” it adds.

Colmenares stressed that the discernment seminar is free of charge and welcomes male college students and young professionals contemplating a religious life within the Society of Jesus.

Participants will also be receiving “crash courses” on the history of the Society, the biography of its founder St. Ignatius of Loyola, his devotional masterpiece “The Spiritual Exercises”, and other things Jesuit, he added.

Prominent Jesuits—brothers, priests, and scholastics—will each be giving a talk on their experiences as members of the Society of Jesus.

There will also be a series of group discussions in which seminar attendees are encouraged to participate.

The Society of Jesus is to date the largest religious order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church, excepting only the Franciscan family of first orders.

Because of their founder’s military background, and the members’ willingness to accept orders anywhere in the world, and to live in extreme conditions where required, Jesuits are often nicknamed “God’s Soldiers” or “God’s Marines.” 

Jesuits are engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 countries on six continents.

Their contributions in education, intellectual research, and cultural pursuits have become the stuff of legends.

Some notable Jesuits include St. Francis Xavier, the “Apostle to the Indies”; the polymath Fr. Athanasius Kircher, dubbed the “Last Man Who Knew Everything” because of his prodigious contributions to every field known in his time; the Sinologist Fr. Matteo Ricci; paleontologist Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin; meteorologist Fr. Federico Faura; historian Fr. Horacio de la Costa; Fr. James Reuter; constitutionalist Fr. Joaquín Bernas; and the present Pope Francis.

Although technically not Jesuits, what would Voltaire and José Rizal be without their Jesuit education?

Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, and promote social justice and ecumenical dialogue.

Another Jesuit discernment seminar will simultaneously be held at the Center for Local Governance Training Room, Ateneo de Naga University, Naga City, Camarines Sur.  (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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