Mr. Fister; the other name I am known by at Loyola Academy. It is good though, a healthy reminder that to the students at Loyola, I am one of two ASC teachers, committed to a year of service at Loyola Academy. In short, it represents the importance of the work that needs to be done, regardless of who is doing it. And on a different level, it is a reminder that the impact I hope to make may not be immediate or even attributed to me.
As a new Ignatian educator, I often find myself wondering if I am doing enough, being enough, or influencing enough. After all, it was the Jesuits who adopted the term Magis and then plastered it in almost every Jesuit institution across the world. The Magis is a self-contained mission statement; a reminder of who and what we strive to be, though some days it seems to only serve as a reminder of my shortcomings. It is daunting to hear the names of the great Jesuits like Francis Xavier, missionary to the world, or Aloysius Gonzaga, the child saint, who at the age I am now, had entered into a ministry of serving the poor and those suffering from the plague. And what did I do today? Well, those lunch trays didn’t make themselves…
It is only now, after understanding what our schools need, that I can begin to appreciate the work I have done and am doing. Loyola Academy, in many ways, emblemizes the current Jesuit mission of working towards justice. As Pope Francis says of the Church’s role in the world: “The Church without frontiers, Mother to all, spreads throughout the world a culture of acceptance and solidarity, in which no one is seen as useless, out of place or disposable.” It is this point that resonates loudly within my heart: no one seems useless or out of place.
So yes, on most days, it is difficult for me not to compare myself to the strong Jesuit educators of which I surround myself. And on most days, I wish I could be doing more to advance the Jesuit cause in the world. But, as no work towards justice is useless, out of place, or disposable, I can acknowledge that there exists a tangible importance in coaching a game of kickball during PE or checking out books in the library during Independent Reading. So long as I can do these jobs to the best of my ability, I can rest peacefully in the fact that I am advancing the Jesuit mission, one PE class, one book, and one lunch tray at a time.