In the latest issue of New Jesuit Review (issued by real Jesuits!) there is a fine article by my friend Fr. John Gavin, SJ, whom I got to know in Rome.
Folks, there are good young Jesuits. Really.
His article is "The Salvation of Souls and the Glory of God".
Here is the beginning:
On January 15, 1544, St. Francis Xavier wrote to his companions in Rome from Cochin, in India, describing his incessant labors on behalf of the people in the region. The great Jesuit missionary was exhausting himself in baptizing, teaching, visiting the sick, and burying the dead. He traveled from village to village, attracting large crowds who sought his prayers and his counsel. His only regret was that there were so few missionaries to respond to the desperate hunger of the people for Christ. He wrote:
Many fail to become Christians in these regions because they have no one who is concerned with such pious and holy matters. Many times I am seized with the thought of going to the schools in your lands and of crying out there, like a man who has lost his mind, and especially at the University of Paris, telling those in the Sorbonne who have a greater regard for learning than desire to prepare themselves to produce fruit with it: “How many souls fail to go to glory and go instead to hell through their neglect!” And thus, as they make progress in their studies, if they would study the accounting which God our Lord will demand of them and of the talent which has been given to them, many of them would be greatly moved and, taking means and making spiritual exercises to know the will of God within their soul, they would say, conforming themselves to it rather than to their own inclinations: “Lord, here I am! What would you have me do? Send me wherever you will, and if need be, even to the Indies!”
St. Francis’ zeal illustrates an essential desire that inspires the mission of the Society of Jesus: the greater glory of God through the salvation of souls. St. Ignatius himself, in a letter to Francis in 1552, confirmed this animating principle when he wrote that he was praying that the people in the East “may leave its infidelity and come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, our salvation, and of the salvation of their own souls.” While the Society may be involved in a variety of apostolates – teaching, parishes, chaplaincy – its efforts always aim toward the magis that leads to the perfection of man redeemed and transformed in Jesus. The connection between the Glory of God and the salvation of souls shapes the formation of the Society’s members and gives all Jesuit apostolates their distinctive character.