Fr. Conley is the current superior of the Boston College High School Jesuit Community and works as a CPE supervisor at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
What makes me happy to be a Jesuit today?
I have responded to Jesus' call to be of genuine service to God and God's people in a way that touches the deepest desires of my heart. In the first encounters of the disciples with Jesus in John's Gospel, John and Andrew approach Jesus, who asks them "What are you looking for?" These two disciples ask Jesus "where are you staying?" To which Jesus responds "come and see." This begins a journey that will lead these disciples to the foot of the cross, to an empty tomb, and to a breakfast of bread and fish on the beach with a moment of profound reconciliation combined with missioning (feed my sheep).
So too, my journey with Jesus has led me on a similar journey. In my ministry, I know that I am participating in Jesus healing, teaching, and reconciling mission. As a hospital chaplain for the past fifteen years, I have been present at the end of many human lives; I have witnessed the violence associated with injustice as the victims of that violence, some quite innocent, arrive in our emergency room. In these times, I know that I stand at the foot of the cross. People often ask me how I can do such "depressing" work. The work for me is not depressing because I know that the tomb is empty -- almost always loved ones will find a smile, a laugh, a moment of peace that reminds me that death or grief do not have the last word. I continue to be fed at the table of the Lord and find great joy in inviting others to the Eucharistic table. In my work as a clinical pastoral educator, I work in an interfaith setting that allows me to help others to heal, nourish, teach and reconcile within their communities and across denominational and faith lines. Jesus has led me from that place of first timid encounter with a question that was much too small to a life that meets those deepest desires and allows these desires to continue to unfold.