Fr. Tunney is an accomplished artist who currently teaches fine arts and serves as the Director of Mission and Identity at Canisius College in Buffalo.
"What makes me happy to be a religious today?"
Ask me to summarize The Spiritual Exercise in a single word and I would say, "magnanimity." Ignatius uses this word in Annotation 5, describing the desired attitude of a retreatant towards the pending experiences of prayer.
Over the decades magnanimity has also come to capture the content and spirit of happiness in religious life for me. It's a great aspirational concept. It's also a grace of the Holy Spirit: Her largeness of spirit. So while I never truly attain it in my life, the gift is nonetheless offered me in countless ways: in teachers, mentors and peers who have shown me by their words and examples how to come out of my smallness and into a larger, wiser, freer, more joyful way of being and acting.
So I have learned to exercise largeness of spirit in my classrooms and offices among my students and colleagues, with my Jesuit brothers in the pitch and roll of our common life, among my family who still offer me opportunities galore to say, "Please, thank you, and I am sorry," in my art studio where the creative muses never fail to stretch me, and in the sacraments, especially every time I say, "The Body of Christ," to believers in the communion line and place the Lord in their hands. Whatever stories their open palms tell, their faces and eyes show, they, too, long to grow in wisdom, stature and grace like Jesus before them. What a pleasure and honor it is to serve and grow with them in my religious life.