Earlier today I had the privilege of leading a day of reflection for the faculty and staff of Cristo Rey High School in Minneapolis. I have known about and admired the mission and approach of the Cristo Rey high schools for a long time. This past June I had the fortune of attending a celebration of the school’s alum and was enormously impressed by the students I met. As a consequence I was grateful for the opportunity to spend a number of hours with those committed to the school and its mission.
Since the theme the school has adopted for the year is Contemplation in Action, a central Ignatian theme, I divided our time together into two parts. In our first session, I focused on God’s invitation to use to be part of his plan for the salvation of the world. The second was devoted to considering the challenges of sticking close to our commitment to God in the face of the temptations of the world in which we live.
I ended my second talk by sharing Louis Savary’s phrasing of Christ’s invitation to stand with him I read it slowly, pausing after each question or statement, to give the faculty and staff the ability to note where they felt discomforted or challenged as well as where they felt comfortable. I thought I’d share it here as well, since whenever I have read it to a group, people have asked me for a copy.
Here it is:
If you wish to follow me, to live and work under my standard, her is what I will look for from you.
As you willing to be poor in spirit, that is, to realize how much more you need to grow in realizing who you are called to become?
Are you willing to learn to mourn and deal with loss and failure in your own life, as well as how to comfort people who are grieving?
Are you willing to be gentle, docile, and unassuming, for you will be required often to show compassion to the lost and forgotten, the poor and the sick, the anxious and the discouraged?
Are you willing to be continually merciful and forgiving toward others – even toward your enemies and toward yourself?
Are you willing to be open and pure in heart, for only then will you be able to recognize my presence in the least likely places?
Are you willing to be a peacemaker, willing to keep searching to find ways to mutual understanding with others and defending the innocent without resorting to violence?
I am looking for men and woman who hunger and thirst for honesty and truth and are willing to take a stand against injustice.
I am looking for men and women who expect to be persecuted for being good, honest, and compassionate, and who will not be surprised to be scorned falsely and hear all kinds of evil spoken against them on my account.
In addition, I am looking for you to be proactive and creative, to be the sale of the earth, never losing your taste for the kingdom.
I am looking for you to be a lamp for the world, letting God’s light shine through you, so that others may see the good works around them and give glory to the Creator.
Can you be these things for me?
Can you believe that I am always with you, even in the direst poverty or the deepest grief?
Can you believe that even when you are persecuted or rejected by others, you will have all the grace you need to grow and do your task?
Savary’s rendition of Christ’s all offers us a good opportunity to see where we are on the path to disacipleship. I encourage you to spend some time with it.