Fr. Kenny is currently a teacher and chaplain at Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School.
Work, friendship and prayer are three aspects of my life as a religious where joy consistently manifests itself. The question that often arises in my work both as a teacher and spiritual director is, "What makes life worth living?" Reflecting on this question with my students and those I accompany on retreats or in spiritual direction often leads to profound and intimate conversations around faith, suffering, sacrament and the role of prayer. I witness how God loves us in our concrete and complicated circumstances. I find a tremendous sense of joy that God has privileged me with in this important work.
The next important aspect of my life as a religious is my Jesuit friendships. Our vows, formation, mission and shared experience of the quirkiness of community life offers us more than enough common ground to form and maintain friendships over time. I have Jesuit friends on four continents who are diverse in age, culture, languages and talents and who are involved in all types of interesting work. Admittedly, connecting over distances can be a challenge, but if we do have the good fortune to reconnect, we often pick up where we left off years before. I seriously doubt that if I were not a Jesuit, I would be friends with any of these men; this would be my great loss.
Finally, and most importantly, God in both personal and communal prayer surprises me with joy on a regular basis. My life as a religious allows me the structure, time and resources to make prayer a central part of my life. Ignatian prayer nourishes my work and friendships by helping me take the business of God's Kingdom seriously and myself not so much.