As a woman of the Catholic faith, I have been greatly blessed by having been schooled in Jesuit spirituality. For six years, I was ministered to most powerfully by an amazing group of Jesuits during women’s retreats. Even more, for four years, I had the Grace, along with other laypersons, to participate in the Jesuits’ weekday community Masses at the same retreat house, being privy to homilies and response-reflections by sometimes as many as eight Jesuits at a time. What a spiritual education!
Now, with that Jesuit spirituality lens, as one who now is now twenty-six days into retirement, I was deeply inspired and affirmed by a particular “Jesuit-sounding” comment made by House Speaker John Boehner regarding his resignation-conscience-decision—akin, I think, to my retirement-conscience-decision.
What I heard in the brief televised comment that so caught my attention was a decision that transcended the purely human considerations of economics and emotions. What I heard, instead, in conformity with the core of Jesuit spirituality, was a decision that was the fruit of prayerful discernment. In the Jesuit manner of discerning, then, Speaker Boehner’s decision was a matter of conscience in terms of his relationship with his God, himself, and others.
Having been schooled in Jesuit spirituality, I understood exactly what Speaker Boehner meant when he said he had prayed, and he believed that in good conscience he was resigning for the right reasons, at the right time, and, therefore, he knows that as a result, right things will result from his decision.
Here’s why Speaker Boehner’s comment so resonated with me–so affirmed the decision I had made to retire. Coming from the same Catholic faith-Jesuit spirituality, I prayed over my resignation-for-retirement purposes decision, with a desire to discern God’s Will.
Why the need to pray? As the Holy Father said, work is dignifying; for Catholics, it’s a vocation to be taken seriously. AMDG (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam –All for the greater honor and glory of God): that is the Jesuit motto. Doing one’s work well is a serious responsibility and commitment before God… In that context, imagine the seriousness of deciding not to work—to resign; to retire. Such a decision cannot be made lightly–or for the “wrong” reasons.
Having struggled in conscience with the decision to retire… Having prayed to know God’s Will–to receive His blessing… Having believed that I was retiring at the right time for the right reasons…I confidently and humbly claim for myself the same blessing Speaker Boehner trusted would be his: right things now will follow; good things will happen.
I pray that all the Jesuits, now at home with the Lord, to whom I am so indebted for bringing the Gospel alive for me, will intercede for me—for all of us, including Speaker Boehner–who take as seriously a matter of conscience the decision not to continue to work, as we took the decision to work.
AMDG–Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam –All for the greater honor and glory of God! May our retirement—our different kind of work for God, self, and others; our laying down or putting aside the work we have done—the working and the leaving done in good conscience, after prayerful discernment of the Will of God for our lives—lead to good consequences. May our retirements and resignations, by God’s Grace, turn out all right.
With gratitude to Speaker Boehner for being instrumental in bringing the Pope to speak to our elected representatives, I am grateful, too, for the Speaker’s sharing his belief that having resigned for right reasons, “right things will happen.”
I claim that blessing of which Speaker Boehner spoke. I claim it for myself—for all of us, who have taken our resignations seriously, in good conscience. AMDG. And now, to quote the Holy Father, citing the motto of the Franciscan Friar St. Serra: “Siempre adelante! Keep moving forward!”