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Monday, May 24, 2010

Prayer: John Padberg, S.J.

Simple, friendly and informal conversations were the earliest and chief means that Ignatius employed in helping people. Right from his conversion in 1521 he wanted, to use his own words, “to help souls.” The way he started was to talk to people, men and women, young and old, about the things that really mattered to them and to him, Such simple talk, such conversation, was the beginning of the life and works of the Society of Jesus.

The term “conversation” in its most obvious sense means to talk with someone and, by so doing, to exchange sentiments, observations, opinions and ideas. Ignatius had that meaning in mind, but he also intended the older and more inclusive meaning of turning towards someone: to live with, keep company with and even to help oneself and the other person toward new experiences and new interpretations of them.

The Society in its members has carried on a great variety of such conversations. Among them, to cite but a few general areas, have been conversations with the secular world in all its variety, with other religious groups, both Christian and non-Christian, with the tradition and practices and personalities of its own Church, with itself among each generation of its own members and, finally, with the Lord.

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