During the Easter season, we as Catholics focus our prayers on reconciliation and gratitude. The Examen from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola teaches us to begin and end each day with thoughts of gratitude for all God gives us. This, however, is often easier said than done in the midst of adversity. What our nation and world have been through over the last year can make feelings of gratitude hard to come by. Grateful? So many of us are simply trying to survive. And yet as we prepare to celebrate our upcoming Ignatian Year, the anniversary of St. Ignatius’ brutal injury on the battlefield, we are reminded of our call to look beyond suffering to the good that might come out of it. Although St. Ignatius surely lamented his leg being so painfully shattered by a cannonball 500 years ago, little did he know at the time that it would lead to his conversion, his reconciliation with God, his quest to bring others to Christ, his founding of the Society of Jesus, and ultimately, his sainthood.
God commands us to walk by faith, not by sight. When we set our “sights” on Him, we can be assured that good prevails through struggle and hardship—that faith, hope and love are the paths to see us through difficult and challenging times.
My prayers of gratitude for you and the many benefactors of the USA East Province have never been stronger. Witnessing your generous support despite so much turmoil and uncertainty fills my heart with such hope. Through your continued assistance, we are keeping our Jesuits in formation immersed in their studies and in their missions to serve others. We are providing our senior and infirm Jesuits with the care they need, just as they cared for so many during their active ministries.
Allow me this opportunity to offer a prayer of thanks for you. It is my sincere hope that this Easter season will lift the clouds of these times and fill your heart with the joy of our Risen Lord.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Joseph M. O’Keefe, SJ