Manresa Moments: Week of September 27



Friday, October 2: Contemplation and Political Action - An Ignatian Guide to Civic Engagement 


As the United States prepares for federal, state, and local elections on November 3, all persons are reminded of our responsibilities as engaged citizens. What can our Ignatian tradition offer as we discern the best choices to make for our communities? The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States has prepared a document to help us reflect on how our faith and Ignatian values can guide our pursuit of the common good. You are invited to browse the links below, starting with an introductory letter from Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki, SJ, President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, and consider how these resources might inform your discernment as you prepare to cast your vote.



Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

On behalf of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, I’m very pleased to share “Contemplation and Political Action: An Ignatian Guide to Civic Engagement” with you. The document is a reflection on how our faith and Ignatian values might guide our pursuit of the common good in the public square.

One phrase comes up all the time in the Ignatian family related to our work for social justice: “men and women for others.” These words seem simple enough, and perhaps they have been spoken so often they have lost a bit of their potency. But when they were first used in a major 1973 speech addressed to alumni of Jesuit schools by then-Jesuit Superior General Fr. Pedro Arrupe, reactions were not universally positive: Some people angrily resigned from Jesuit alumni associations in the wake of the address. Members of the press criticized the speech and attacked the speaker himself to the point where Pope Paul VI felt the need to send a letter affirming Fr. Arrupe and thanking him for his Gospel-rooted message.

Why such an outcry?


Saúl Rascón Salazar (LMU '23) speaks at the 2019 Ignatian Family Teach-In Public Witness in Washington, D.C.

Fr. Arrupe’s speech, in the tradition of the biblical prophets who criticized their own communities when they weren’t living up to their values, called out Jesuit schools for not adequately preparing their students for the work of social justice. That message undoubtedly made some people uncomfortable. “Have we Jesuits educated you for justice? You and I know what many of your Jesuit teachers will answer to that question. They will answer, in all sincerity and humility: No, we have not,” Fr. Arrupe said. “What does this mean? It means that we have work ahead of us.”

It would be difficult work, Fr. Arrupe continued, but we have the tools to do it — tools still accessible to us today as we continue to pursue justice in our own era. We have the Ignatian tradition of “constantly seeking the will of God,” discerning how God might be calling all of us to respond to the signs of the times. “Men and women for others” are therefore marked by a willingness to pay attention to the injustices around us and to develop a “firm resolve to be agents of change in society; not merely resisting unjust structures and arrangements, but actively undertaking to reform them.”

As we respond to the call to be agents of change in society inspired by God’s special love for those on the margins, we will inevitably be led into the public square to participate in the messy, urgent work of politics. Through political and civic engagement, we can use our voices to advocate for the transformation of social structures that are marred by sins like racism, sexism, nativism, economic inequality, environmental degradation, the targeting of human life and dignity at every stage, and so many others.

“Contemplation and Political Action” is not a voter guide; it does not include a comprehensive list of political issues that members of the broad Ignatian family might care about. Instead, it applies our tradition of Ignatian spirituality to our shared political life. I hope all of us might approach it in this prayerful spirit. Consider the examples of civic engagement from our network that are included throughout and others with which you are familiar. Perhaps we might discuss what moves us or challenges us with members of our faith communities and how these reflections apply in our own contexts. I hope and pray that this resource provides us with the opportunity to examine the ways we engage in political action and dialogue as a people committed to a faith that does justice.

In Christ,
Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki, SJ
President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States







Gracious God,
In your loving heart, you made us.
Each of us, you made unique.
But it was not good that we should be alone,
So you placed us in community.
You made a purpose for each of us: to serve you by serving our human family,
And in turn to be protected and nurtured by it.
You made us the Body of Christ.
You have taught us, your children, that we are called to be women and men for others:
To walk with the excluded.
To safeguard the abundant world you have made our common home.
To call young people into a spirit of creativity and encounter, where your voice can be heard.
And to show others, in the way we walk, a pathway to God.
As we reflect on our calling
to help build a just and sustainable society where all this is possible,
We humbly turn to you:


Bless our bodies with strength and determination.
Fill our hearts with the compassion of saints.
Ordain our minds with wisdom and vision.
Empower our spirits with faith and truth.
Employ our hands to lay a lasting foundation to bless generations to come.
Lord, you invite us to find you in all things.
As we collaborate as a people in the building of our society,
May we find you there.
In our principles and laws,
May we find you there.
In our policies and programs,
May we find you there.
In our courts and bureaus,
May we find you there.
In our streets and squares,
May we find you there.
And in our neighbors, especially those on the margins,
May we find you there.
We make this prayer through Christ, Our Lord.



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