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"To a young man who wishes to be
a Jesuit, I would say:
home if this idea makes you unsettled or nervous.
Do not come to us if you love the Church like a stepmother,
rather than a mother. Do not come if you think that in so doing
you will be doing the Society of Jesus a favour.
serving Christ is at the very centre of your life.
Come if you have broad and sufficiently strong shoulders.
Come if you have an open spirit,
a reasonably open mind and a heart larger than the world.
Come if you
know how to tell a joke and can laugh
with others and ... on occasions you can laugh at yourself."
Fr Pedro Arrupe, SJ
happens when you are an eye-witness to a genuine miracle? Well, Fr Pedro
Arrupe, S.J., says the miracle he witnessed ‘rebounded’ on him -- bringing
about another miracle in his own life.
happened at Lourdes, the place well-known for many divine interventions
through the intercession of our Blessed Mother. In August 1926, Pedro Arrupe,
then 19 years old, was a brilliant student of Medicine, winning the first
Prizes in anatomical studies and therapeutics at the University of Madrid.
Everyone predicted he would become a great doctor.
after his father’s death, his family decided to spend the summer vacation in
the quiet, peaceful, and spiritual surroundings at Lourdes. Since Pedro was
a medical student, he was able to obtain special permission to study closely
the sick who came seeking a cure at the shrine.
Pedro accompanied his sisters to the esplanade, where the sick assemble, a
little before the procession of the Blessed Sacrament. A middle-aged woman
pushing a wheelchair passed in front of them, and one of his sisters
exclaimed: "Look at that poor boy in the wheelchair." She was referring to a
young man of around twenty, all twisted and contorted by polio. His mother
was reciting the rosary in a loud voice and from time to time sighing:
"Maria Santissima help us." It was a truly moving sight for Pedro.
took her place in the row which the bishop was to pass carrying the Blessed
Sacrament. As the Bishop stopped to bless the polio patient with the
monstrance, the young man looked at the Host with such great faith that he
instantly experienced the healing power of Christ. He leaped from his chair
– completely cured. The crowd cried out joyously: "Miracle! Miracle!" Pedro
the special permission he had, Pedro was later able to assist at the medical
examination of the miracle case. When his family asked him about the
investigations, he said emotionally: "The Lord has truly cured him."
In one of
his talks as General, Fr Arrupe recalled the incident at Lourdes: "There is
no need to tell you of what I felt and my state of mind at that moment. I
had come from the Faculty of Medicine in Madrid, where I had had so many
professors (some truly renowned) and so many companions who had no faith and
who always ridiculed miracles. But I had been an eyewitness of a true
miracle worked by Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.... I seemed to be standing
by the side of Jesus; and as I sensed His almighty power, the world that
stood around me began to appear extremely small.
returned to Madrid; the books kept falling from my hands. My fellow students
asked me, ‘What’s happening to you? You seems dazed!’ Yes, I was dazed by
the memory which upset me more each day; only the image of the Sacred Host
raised in blessing and the paralyzed boy jumping up from his chair remained
fixed in my heart."
concluded: "The teaching of our Lord was the same as that of the Gospel.
Through his miracles and His teaching He awakened in me a faith and love for
Him so that He could finally say: ‘Leave everything and follow me!’ The Lord
of the monstrance was the same Lord as that of the Gospel. His powers were
the same, and His wishes were as they had then been: ‘May the workers, who
are few, become more numerous since the harvest is great.’
voice is heard today as it was twenty centuries ago, it cannot be forgotten.
One is of course free to follow it or not, but one with judgment or reason,
as St Ignatius of Loyola says, will end with following it."
months later Pedro gave up his Medicine studies and entered the Novitiate of
the Jesuits at Loyola, to a life of distinguished service as a Jesuit.
* * *
speak to the soul? ... Yes, indeed, he does and his words are sweet. He does
speak, and the soul understands his voice, understands his language. I know
this from experience...." This is what the Mexican Jesuit priest and martyr,
Miguel Augustine Pro revealed about his vocation to the Society of Jesus.
who decides to join a convent as a sister, a seminary as a priest, a
religious order as a brother or priest ... will admit that they too heard
the sweet voice of God in the depths of their hearts, inviting them to be
"in the world but not of it" – as they are challenged to serve in the
kingdom of God.
It is a
special vocation or call, that comes at the initiative of God. As Jesus said
to his disciples, "You did not chosen me, I chose you." God gives the chosen
one full freedom to respond positively by accepting the invitation, or by
When God Calls!
contains a variety of
"reflections" that will help a person who has received God’s invitation to
follow Christ as His disciple, to make a decision. It is addressed primarily
to young men who have a desire or inclination to join the Society of Jesus
(Jesuits). But even others will find the variety of ‘reflections’ helpful,
inspiring, and encouraging. It also provides Vocation Promoters with useful
material for Vocation Camps, monthly meetings, Prayer Services.
Lewis, a prolific and influential writer of the Gujarat Province wrote
WHEN GOD CALLS. The beauty about the book is that it is very prayerful;
opens up wide horizons and helps
candidates test their vocation over a longer series of
prayerful reflections. Ignis
This book is meant primarily
for those intending to or hopeful of joining the Jesuits. But it will be
useful to those who have any kind of vocation or none. Here is a vast
collection of parables, anecdotes, verses and even jokes that cannot fail to
interest and perhaps even inspire. The book ends with prayers.
R.H. Lesser, Vidyajyoti Journal of Theological Reflection,
I have gone
through your book [manuscript] several times and liked it very much. It
should appeal to generous young men and has much that will make them sit up
I liked the
format of it, with the opening prayer and a good title. Both the foreword
and the Introduction whet one’s appetite. Pedro Arrupe is a great
inspiration to the young.
unfolds with plenty of short but pithy chapters that throw
out a challenge. So it is not a book they will read straight through. It is
designed to make them stop, think, and pray. I think the
illustrations followed by the scenes are very good as
they CHALLENGE (as they are meant to pack a punch) but they lead
into the assurance that it is Jesus who calls and so empowers at the same
time. Then the Inspirational Verses deepen both the challenges and the
assurance. This is then confirmed … [by personal stories]. … I think the
more prayers the better. That is why I like the “Songs that uplift the
heart”’ plus the prayers in Appendix 2, as they would help young men to come
to grips with their reactions as well as to articulate their desires. …
Dullard, SJ, Tertian-Instructor, 8 January 2001