Friday 30 August 2013

Contrition and the Call of the King

By Adam Hincks, S.J.

RembrandtThe Return of the Prodigal Son (HermitageSt Petersburg)

The fact that God loves man shows us that in the divine order of ideal things it is written that eternal love is to be given to what is eternally unworthy. … Love is a sacrament that should be taken kneeling. –Oscar Wilde

Two of Ibo et Non Redibo’s writers have written pieces about this year’s film Les Misérables, which I watched for a second time on vacation earlier this month. While I do not propose to contribute a third reflection on the film, its themes of Christian mercy and forgiveness led me to ponder anew the notion of contrition, especially the traditional distinction between “imperfect” and “perfect” contrition. I recall once having a conversation with someone about this topic who was of the opinion that dividing contrition into two such categories was unhelpful hair-splitting of the sort that leads to scrupulosity. I, on the other hand, think that the distinction is eminently practical and worth understanding.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Putting on Christ: the Feelings of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

By Santiago Rodriguez, S.J.

As Christians, we are called to put on Christ; to become more like Christ and to acquire the feelings of his Sacred Heart. This is what the former Jesuit general superior, Father Pedro Arrupe, called the sensus Christi. We are called to feel, love, see and act the way Christ feels, loves, sees and acts.

Monday 26 August 2013

Back into the Fold

By Edmund Lo, S.J.

Photo: Edmund Lo, SJ

As I have mentioned in a previous article, prayerfully examining what brings us closer to or farther away from God through the examination of consciousness (or the Examen prayer) can reveal many things about our lives. While it makes lots of sense on a theoretical level, it makes even more sense when one practices it regularly. I can attest to that.

Like many others, I prefer to have some down time to relax a bit before going to bed. A few months ago, I noticed an emerging pattern as I was doing the Examen prayer one evening. I realized that my down time activities had made me feel numb, and I was not edified by them afterwards. These were rather harmless activities: just watching funny videos. They were entertaining, but why would I have feelings of numbness and emptiness afterwards?

Friday 23 August 2013

The Buzz About "Game of Thrones"

By Artur Suski, S.J.


I try my best to understand the contemporary culture in which society is immersed, in order to engage it and Christianize it. Knowing a little something about what people are watching and reading these days is a large part of this. Recently, I noticed that many have been watching the show Game of Thrones, or its book equivalents written by George Martin. I thought I’d give it a try to see what the fuss is all about. Preferring books over shows, I decided to read the book.

Wednesday 21 August 2013


By John D. O'Brien, S.J.

Mosaic by Fr. Marko Rupnik, S.J., Canadian Martyrs Parish, Rome

You called, and we replied, and to our earthly comforts died,
To go and live with them.

You beckoned and we came, to live among the poor and lame.
In land of plenty, unrefined.

Monday 19 August 2013

What I See

By Eric Hanna, S.J.

"So, just how much can you see?"

Having a visual handicap has lead me to many interesting insights about life, not the least of which is the discovery that there is a curious gap in our language. Our language is oddly limited in its ability to convey one's direct experience to others. How can I tell you what I am seeing?

The lack of words is a limitation but it is also an opportunity for me to learn to communicate my experience in new ways.

Friday 16 August 2013

Of Human Bondage and Belief

By Adam Hincks, S.J.

(Photo: Jonathan Kim, Lejac, B.C.)

Man is not a reasoning animal; he is a seeing, feeling, contemplating, acting animal. He is influenced by what is direct and precise. – Bl. J. H. Newman

This summer I read W. Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage for the first time and found it thoroughly engrossing. It is a magnificent Bildungsroman chronicling the life of its protagonist, Philip Carey, from his early childhood through to his early thirties. At the same time, though probably not by design, the novel provides a good portrait of the early twentieth century, having particularly vivid depictions of Bohemian Paris and lower- and middle-class London during that period.

As a young man living abroad, Philip loses his Christian faith, never to regain it. It is an abrupt experience for him, coming in the middle of a conversation with a freethinking, American theology student.
Philip paused for a while, then he said: “I don’t see why one should believe in God at all.” The words were no sooner out of his mouth than he realised that he had ceased to do so. It took his breath away like a plunge into cold water … It was the most startling experience he had ever had.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Life is a Dance: God and Salsa-Dancing

By Santiago Rodriguez, S.J.


I have learned to see life as a dance. We have a God who knows how to dance and who leads us, as we dance to the music of his Heart. I find God not just in dancing as an analogy for life. To be more specific, I find him as I dance salsa. Salsa-dancing is a very important part of my Latin American culture. Despite its basic steps, salsa-dancing is a creative and wonderful form of self-expression. The way one turns and moves is all about how one interprets the rhythm of the music. My whole being – mind, body and soul – is engaged when I dance salsa.

Monday 12 August 2013

Spontaneous Combustion of Love

By Edmund Lo, S.J.


Those of you who teaches may be familiar with the saying that we learn the most when we teach something. This certainly applies to me and my time at Camp Ekon, even though I am now two weeks removed from the normal hustle and bustle of camp life. One of my responsibilities at the camp was to lead reflection sessions for the older campers in the leader-in-training program. In these sessions, I gave them a specific question on which to reflect, so that they would be able to look deeper into their experiences. Instead of dwelling upon the tastiness of camp food or the entertainment value of the all-camp activities, they would be invited to dwell on something more profound.

Since this process was less of a lecture and more of a sharing of experiences, I did not leave myself out of it, and participated in the sharing as well. One of the questions I gave them was: “How have I been changed during my time at Ekon?” I remembered feeling a jolt to my system when I was reflecting on this question. I initially thought that this was not my first rodeo at Ekon, and things had been going rather smoothly; but surely, I have been changed in some way? Thankfully, I found it, but not without a bit of prayerful introspection.

Friday 9 August 2013


By Artur Suski, S.J. 


Few of us were left unaffected after watching the film or seeing the musical Fiddler on the Roof. A group of us watched this masterpiece together recently. It was my second time watching it, and this time around, I was moved by it in a different way. The first time I was mostly entertained by the comedy of the work. This time, however, I was really moved by the way the Jewish faith was presented, especially their observance of the Sabbath.

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Loreto-Bound: The Experience of Pilgrimage

By John D. O’Brien, S.J.

As young people return home from an invigorating World Youth Day in Rio, and as pilgrims trod the historic path of St. James, and as student groups return from pilgrimages within Canada, these mid-summer months seem conducive to a look at the hallowed Jesuit tradition of “the pilgrimage”. What follows is an account of this author’s first Ignatian pilgrimage, an eight-day foot-journey undertaken when he was a resident student of the Casa Balthasar in Rome.

The idea of making a pilgrimage, that is, journeying to some place of spiritual significance, is commonly understood by Catholics and non-Catholics alike, but as to what may entail an ‘Ignatian pilgrimage’, would require further explanation. Such a pilgrimage is taken after the example of that perennial pilgrim, St. Ignatius of Loyola, who himself followed those first disciples of Our Lord (Mt 10:5-16, Mk 6:7-13, Lk 9:1-6), who were sent to preach without any provisions, to rely on whatever God would provide for them. Therefore it was in this ‘Ignatian’ spirit of trusting in Divine Providence, that a pair of students from the Casa Balthasar set out for eight full days without money, though with a razor and a toothbrush between them. This was also going to be an exercise in pushing the limits of one’s comfort zone.

Monday 5 August 2013

I AM who I AM: The Quality of Being

By Brother Daniel Leckman, S.J.

A few weeks ago, in our Mass readings, we encountered the story of God telling Moses ‘I am who I am’ (Exodus 3:13-20). The passage left me rather pensive, with not very much not say about it. It’s only when I connected it with an experience I had as part of my summer program that I gained new understanding into God's encounter with Moses, and my encounter with this passage.

Friday 2 August 2013

An Apology for Power

By Adam Hincks, S.J.

(Image: Christ Pantocrater, Monreale, Sicily)

Such wondrous power God to his Saint will lend. – Milton

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Lord Acton (a Catholic, as it turns out) once famously wrote. In our culture, with its deep mistrust of power, this is a truism. Power is associated with tyranny and abuse. It enables big people to oppress little people. It is something dangerous that must be contained through checks and balances. If there are some that must have more power than others, we treat it as a necessary evil. After all, history can provide a litany of examples of people whose power seems to have led to terrible corruption.

Despite the apparently obvious truth of Lord Acton’s dictum, I would like to question it—most obviously because it carries the absurd corollary that God, who has infinite power, is absolutely corrupt. On the other hand, there really does seem to be a correlation between power and corruption that we can see any day just by reading the news. However, it is a fallacy to turn correlation into causation and claim that power directly causes corruption. In fact, power is of itself a good and in is really a lack of power that leads to corruption.