Toward the end of another year of IVC service, it might be time to reflect again on what it’s all about. We serve. We gather. We share. We learn.We pray. We grow. And we serve again. The cycle is endless . . . and it’sintended to be so. Why? Well, two things come immediately to mind. First, to stop changing is to die, and second (perhaps more importantly) to imitate Jesus is to forge ahead despite setbacks, opposition, disappointments, hurts and even failures.
This past year has probably had its share of each of the above. And it’s all good. Yes, even failure, for there’s no resurrection without the crucifixion. Each of us has had our share of both the good and the not so good. At which point we are challenged to look beyond our own selves . . . to look into the eyes and the smiles of those whom we seek to help. They nourish our faith.
Our service is not really going to change any of the bigger structures which create and maintain situations of poverty, need, despair, disorientation or any of the other ills which afflict the people we seek to serve. But our service can change us if we let it.
Just review the IVC blogs of this past year to feel the ways the Spirit is working among us. How often eyes have been opened, hearts rent with compassion, overtime generously undertaken, facile assumptions shredded, smugness shattered. If that’s not the work of the Holy Spirit, what is? So maybe it’s time now just to say a simple “Thanks!” to the God who led us to IVC in the first place.
Simon (Si) E. Smith, S.J is a New England Jesuit with a broad background and varied international experience. He taught at different levels in Baghdad College, Iraq, Boston College, Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley and Nativity schools in Boston and Worcester. His major and preferred areas of instruction are Scripture and liturgy. He is known as an organizer and administrator, having spent a dozen years based in Washington, as Executive of Jesuit Missions for the U.S. and Canada. Si has published widely, is a popular lecturer, is fluent in French, Spanish and German and has traveled & worked extensively in the third world. And we are grateful that he also serves IVC as a Spiritual Reflector.