The Maroon

Letter to the Editor: Loyola is Catholic in many ways

Ken Weber, [email protected]

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What does it mean to “be Catholic?” St. Ignatius of Loyola — one of history’s great Catholics — doesn’t mention “being Catholic” anywhere in his Spiritual Exercises. These exercises form the deepest foundation of Loyola University, as they form the deepest foundation of the Society of Jesus (the “Jesuits”).

Instead, Ignatius proposes that we are created not primarily to “be Catholic,” but to “praise, reverence, and serve God.” As a Catholic, Ignatius undoubtedly observed many venerable Catholic practices, including the rosary, Eucharistic adoration and Mass. But his legacy seems not to focus on these practices — in fact, it’s hard to find much about Ignatius that mentions his involvement in these practices.

Instead, Ignatius’s first priority seems to have been to help people deepen their personal relationship with Jesus, in whatever way was best for them. This vocation led him and his Society to found schools where students would learn about the world as God has created it and humanity within it — a process which has come to be known as “the pursuit of Wisdom.” This is Loyola’s Catholic, Jesuit mission.

True wisdom (so say Judaism and all forms of Christianity – including Catholicism) comes from and leads us back to God. Therefore, the pursuit of Wisdom is quintessentially — though not exclusively — a “Catholic” practice.

At Loyola, whenever a student studies, or a teacher teaches, or a staff member serves, or an administrator plans, or a benefactor gives, or an alumni works for the benefit of their families, friends, or communities, they are engaged in this “Catholic” pursuit of Wisdom, i.e., coming to know God. They are living “ad majorem Dei gloriam” – for the greater glory of God. They are expressing a foundational principle of Catholicism.

The Catholic faith tradition offers many beautiful and unique opportunities to “praise, reverence, and serve God,” many of which are available on Loyola’s campus and in the surrounding community (e.g., Masses in Ignatius Chapel and Holy Name of Jesus Church, perpetual Eucharistic adoration at the Holy Name of Jesus adoration chapel across Calhoun Street, and free rosaries from University Ministry, to name only a few).

As a Catholic institution, Loyola offers a further, holistic opportunity to glorify God through the pursuit of Wisdom, flowing from and leading to God, who is the ultimate source and summit of the Catholic faith.

Ken Weber

University Minister for Liturgy and Music

University Ministry

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Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola
Letter to the Editor: Loyola is Catholic in many ways