In a letter dated 29 May 2020, the Provincial of the former Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus announced his decision to close the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth, effective August 2021. You may read the Provincial’s letter, accompanying FAQs, and Br. Derby’s letter of response here.
While we are sorrowful at the decision, we are focused on the remaining time of ministry here in Wernersville. The Jesuit Center will continue to offer retreats and other programs for spiritual renewal, and to host groups, through August 2021. You can see our 2021 program calendar here.
The Coronavirus pandemic is for me, and I suspect, it is for each of you, a reminder that despite the great advances the human race has made in technology, aeronautics, and communications, the world – OUR world – is NOT under our full control.
In the face of this unexpected outbreak of disease and the sudden advent of death, we are reminded that our life is not wholly “ours,” nor is this world.
And in the face of this sudden stark reality, the pessimists among us might, and some, in fact, DO declare that ultimately the human lot is for the realist, a prescription for ultimate heartbreak and sadness.
We, however, are gathered here today because such is NOT our read on human life and its ultimate meaning. We have come here today to celebrate what we believe to be the most important event in human history: the moment when the world’s Maker and Engineer chose to ask a woman in a small village if she would be willing to work with Him and to harbor in her womb and then to launch the greatest divine Invention imaginable, our loving God vested in human flesh, come here to walk with us and to show us that that world and all of us humans – if we choose to take His hand, as she did -- are destined to come to a land where stars will forever shine, where disease and dying will themselves have perished, where sadness will have succumbed to joy, and we shall be enfolded by love.
Mary’s “YES,” heard again today, is our reason for faith that the One who created our universe did not make a mistake. It is our reason for our hope that despite the natural hardships that may befall any of us, despite the selfish wrongdoings of those mortals who have gained temporary control of human affairs, and steered us toward disaster, our Creator will ultimately win, and we shall one day see and feel with Mary and with her beloved Son, Our Lord, the eternal rapture of God’s embrace.
Thank you, Mary, and You, our Father in heaven! Help us to share with all for whom we are able, the HOPE you have brought to us!
A Reflection on the Feast of the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38)
Fr. Lucien Longtin, SJ
As Certain as the Dawn | April 1, 2020
Photo by George W. Bur, SJ