Today: Arrupe's Anniversary
Today is the anniversary of the birth of Servant of God Pedro Arrupe, S.J., (1907-1991) superior general of the Society of Jesus from 1965 to 1983. The Irish Province has a fine website up (though some of their links are on the fritz) on the man called by some the "Second Founder" of the Jesuits. As for his writings, they are all over the Internet. You might start with his famous address "Men for Others," the term taken up by so many Jesuit schools across the world (now, of course "men and women for others") as a shorthand way of describing the ideal of Jesuit education. A fine book introducing his writings is Pedro Arrupe, edited by Kevin Burke, S.J., from Orbis Books. And through the miracles of Google Books you can read a chapter from my book on the saints, about Arrupe here. But my favorite resource is One Jesuit's Spiritual Journey, a series of interviews with the great man, with many beautiful stories from his life. (Photo above by Don Doll, S.J. In the original his shoes are off to the side; Arrupe, who spent many years in Japan, used to pray in this somewhat "Eastern style." And here is the story of a beautiful statue at Holy Cross based on this "famous" photo--or at least famous to us Jesuits.)
Perhaps Arrupe's most well-known bit of writing is his "Fall in Love," which can be found on posters, coffee mugs and, now, plenty of websites. Ironically, the provenance of this famous meditation is uncertain. When it started to become popular, Jesuits in Rome scoured his papers looking for the original text, to no avail. Vincent J. O'Keefe, S.J., one of Arrupe's closest friends and a "general assistant" in the Curia, once told me that most likely it was something Arrupe had said at a conference or talk, and someone copied it down and it circulated from there. Besides, Fr. O'Keefe told me, it's just the sort of thing he would say. In any event, it's beautiful:
Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.
But my favorite prayer is one that he delivered a few years after the 1981 stroke that left him partially paralyzed and without speech. After his stroke, Pope John Paul II installed a "personal delegate" to run the Society, which was widely seen as a rebuke to Fr. Arrupe's leadership. (It's a long story: check out that chapter above.) In any event, at the General Congregation called to elect his successor, a Jesuit read out Arrupe's prayer. To my mind, it is as moving a prayer of surrender as ever has been written.
More than ever I find myself in the hands of God. This is what I have wanted all my life from my youth. But now there is a difference; the initiative is entirely with God. It is indeed a profound spiritual experience to know and feel myself so totally in God's hands.
S.G. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., pray for us!