This past summer, I had the good fortune of working as an intern at America Magazine. One of the many unique things about America is that it is more than just a periodical -- it is a ministry of the Society of Jesus carried on for over 100 years by both Jesuits and a host of lay editors and contributors.
Though I'm still very 'close' to the experience of the internship, I recently had the chance to reflect elsewhere on my time at America from a vocational point of view. As one in the long course of Jesuit formation, I found it to be an experience that was equal parts challenging and fruitful. The challenge:
Many of my days in the office were spent reading news and current events, lost in a forest of headlines about debt ceilings and protests in Syria. But given the nature of the publication, I paid particular attention to religious dispatches from around the world. These days, even the most casual news observer knows that there are very few good headlines about religion in general or the Catholic Church in particular. It was, in this respect at least, a summer of bad news.
Nevertheless, there was a whole lot of fruit as well:
In the midst of all the bad news, it is easy to overlook that we, as Christians and as Jesuits, are a people of Good News. Which is to say, news that is hopeful, that consoles and encourages. I am not saying that we should ignore bad news or the challenges that we face in the church and in the Society of Jesus. To the contrary, in fact. If “finding God in all things” is more than just rhetoric, and I think it is, then even bad news can be a site of encounter with the Lord. And we can only find God in all things because God wishes to be found in all things.
The rest, along with reflections from a goodly number of other Jesuits, can be found here.
Timothy O'Brien, S.J.