Recently, we celebrated the lives and deaths of 11 Jesuits killed during the Spanish Civil War. In 1936, from the middle of August to the end of December, these members of the Society of Jesus were captured and killed by communist soldiers. These Jesuits, all ordinary men, had chosen to stay with the people they had served and lived with for many years. None of them wanted to do anything other than to follow the mission they were given, to honor the commitment they had made with their lives.
Their passion for service and their commitment to God's work remind us today that many good people are caught up in unrest, political and otherwise. This last summer saw the beginnings of many violent, and some not so violent, changes in governments, with dictators deposed. Most of us would see this as a good thing, but we should also remember that, like these 11 Jesuits, many people make the choice to stand and serve, though it may cause them to suffer the ultimate sacrifice.
All of these people can challenge each of us to examine our lives, asking ourselves the hard questions: What do I stand for? What is of ultimate importance for me? What value or desire guides my life? What do I stand for? Who do I serve?
St. Ignatius, by his life and his spiritual tradition, was very clear with his answers to those and any number of other similar questions. He continually challenges us to examine our own lives to find where our passions lie or for what cause do we live.
God has shown us through the example of Christ, that it is what we are willing to die for that gives life meaning and answers the hard questions. Our SLU mission directs us to our own answers, and gives us direction and guidance.
The 11 Spanish Jesuits stood and served humanity, something we're asked to do, as well.