July 31st, 2006
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I’m very moved by today’s familiar parable because
this is the feast of St. Ignatius and it speaks so eloquently to
our Ignatian mission, the reason places like Creighton exist.
I’ve been on an Ignatian pilgrimage of sorts for the past
year, writing a book about the nation’s Jesuit high schools.
This reflection is about how two people, St. Ignatius and a teacher
in Kansas City, planted mustard seeds.
I’m picturing St. Ignatius when he went to Paris after his
conversion and enrolled in Latin classes with children. He realized
he had to get an education in order to follow God’s call.
This was the essential first step, no matter how humiliating. But
he did it. If he had never gone to Paris, he wouldn’t have
met the friends who joined him in forming the tiny, unofficial Company
of Jesus. Talk about mustard seed to mighty tree!!!!
Like St. Ignatius, we are called to build the kingdom by planting
mustard seeds. During this past year, I’ve met dozens of unsung
heroes at Jesuit schools who are laboring without fanfare to turn
unruly adolescents into men and women who will change the world
for the good. Will they succeed? They don’t know. They can
only keep trying. Let an English teacher at Kansas City’s
Rockhurst High School stand for these legions.
This teacher devotes most of his spring hours outside of class to
coaching track because he believes it allows him to have an impact
on the total lives of students. That’s why he teaches at Rockhurst
but sometimes he wonders if he’s getting through to kids.
A couple of days earlier, he had had a long talk with a talented
young track team member who was slacking and might never reach his
potential in the sport or in life. The teacher had tried to wake
up the student but the young man wasn’t very receptive.
Had the conversation accomplished anything? Who can know for many
years to come? But the teacher knows that if he keeps planting mustard
seeds, some will grow into magnificent trees, maybe even this one.
Meanwhile, he will continue to follow his call just as St. Ignatius
We can’t be great like St. Ignatius but we can try to change
the world one life/one mustard seed at a time like the Rockhurst
High teacher. That’s my resolution for this feast and my hope
for all of you.
Happy St. Ignatius Day!
to the writer of this reflection.
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