It all started when Saints Ignatius, Francis Xavier, and Peter Faber started a group originally known as Friends of the Lord. Eventually it became the Society of Jesus, otherwise known as the Jesuits, in 1539. They were received by Pope Paul III in 1540. As of 2016 data, the Jesuits are the biggest male religious congregation in the world with 11,785 priests. In 1977, they were as many as 20,205 priests. Nevertheless, who would ever think that from three men, the Jesuits would be one of the most significant religious congregations in the world especially when it comes to Education, Science and Publishing.
This is just one example of what Jesus says in the Gospel: From the smallest of seeds, it becomes the largest of all plants.
Hence in the vocation/mission/purpose that we have, three things we remember:
- It does not take much to be a blessing. Due to the goodness of our hearts, we often think big when we want to help people. Yet, a single kind word can go a long way; an act of generosity or kindness can go a long way; even a smile and listening ear can go a long way. As St. Ignatius would say, “Be a man or woman for others.”
- It is God’s Call. When the Lord does the calling, you can be assured that he will provide. Often the challenge is to trust Him. His ways, plans, and wisdom are much different from ours. Hence what we think of as disappointments, setbacks and even failures, actually have a reason and a purpose. We will see with our own eyes how things turn out and we can only tell ourselves, “God knows best.”
- Generosity begets Generosity. There is a song attributed to St. Ignatius. “To give without counting the cost.” It is a reminder that as Children of God, we should be “giving.” It is a reminder that all blessings come from God, hence why count the cost? It is a reminder that God blesses his children abundantly. As Jesus said, freely you have received, freely are you are to give.
In the world today, we continue to pray for more generous people. Despite all the technological advances, if we want to have a better world we need more “Man for others, Woman for others.”