Jesuit Impressions


This morning I’m reading the autobiography of Mark Twain, and I’m finding that the man is a rambler like me. Much to my relief.

I am debating at the same time whether I should attend mass this morning, thinking about how it will be my first time going in more than two years. I’m thinking how I wouldn’t be able to receive communion since I haven’t made confession in that hiatus of two years. Still, I don’t feel I have anything really to confess.

The last time I attended mass was inspired by my reading the Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. I think about that book this morning and am once again inspired to go.

This doesn’t come from any fear or insecurity I felt from the novel, but rather from a sincere appreciation for Catholic Traditions and my own Catholic roots. I think about the Jesuits that are so heroically portrayed in the novel. The hero Damien Karras is by no means a perfect man. He is far from it, actually. He’s questioning his faith throughout the novel, and even towards the finale he never seems to have that faith restored. Yet he sacrifices himself to save the child, and it seemed in no way inspired by his faith but by a sheer selflessness and sense of duty toward those who are powerless.

In the end, Damien’s sense of honor was more personal then any he might have derived from scripture or indoctrination. There is something to be said about how those priests conducted themselves, without any pomposity or self-righteousness, but with the utmost humility and kindness, and compassion for the sick. And it always seemed like something that was less taught then it was innately human, and therefore more relatable. Maybe that’s what brings me back to the church. Strange as it sounds.

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