Jesuit Father Andrew Downing, a doctoral student in theology at the University of Notre Dame, recently represented the Society of Jesus at a panel discussion on religious orders at the university, titled “Exploring Diversity in Catholicism.”
Fr. Downing told that audience that the Jesuits are called to service, and that they work to understand the group with which they work.
“That which is more universal is more divine. We go out to those who no one else can go to or will not go to,” he said. “Then we adapt to those places to communicate the gospel.”
Downing said the struggle lies in staying faithful to the gospel while balancing cultural and political currents.
“From that we’ve come to reach a commitment to faith that does justice,” he said. “If we really are to go to those that need us most, we will preach the Christian faith in a way that does social justice for the world.”
Downing said that anyone considering religious life should continuously work through three questions.
“How do they pray? How do they work? And how do they live? That’s how the different orders are distinct, though we’re all trying to serve Christ,” Downing said.
Read more about the panel discussion at The Observer.