6 Questions for Mr. Bryce Deline, SJ
1) Where are you currently missioned and how’s it going?
I am a second year scholastic currently missioned to study Philosophy at St. Louis University (SLU), in the beautiful and temperate city of St. Louis. While it wouldn’t be my first choice as far as cities go, I am really finding that the line in the vow formula about God providing the “abundant grace to fulfill” my vocation to be completely true. I also love the other Jesuits that I live with, and their support is definitely an experience of God’s providential grace as well.
2) When was the first time you thought about being a Jesuit?
I don’t think I actually thought about what being a Jesuit meant, or even had any idea of what it entailed until I was a second year novice. It was then that I realized what it was that God was inviting me to (or maybe only what that thing was ‘like’), and by extension that to which I would be saying “yes.” My sense of vocation is definitely something that is constantly developing, and I feel like my understanding grows as I continue to watch myself respond to and affirm God’s invitation. To be brief, I occasionally have epiphanies that go something like this: “Wow, I really am a Jesuit.” These can be both positive and negative experiences (funny but true).
3) How have your friendships changed or stayed the same since you entered the novitiate?
I haven’t lived in my hometown since entering, and the distance can make maintaining friendships/ family relationships difficult. I feel like most have been supportive of me, but at the same time, they know very little of what my life is like now, and I think overall that has been difficult both for them, and for me. It can be tough to find things to commiserate about when what you find important is so different or irrelevant to what they find important, and vice versa.
4) Is there a particular author, artist, saint, musician, etc. that has resonated with you during the transition to religious life?
To be honest, I am a person who loves media: movies, music, TV shows, books, etc. I could name a ton of them that I have latched on to in the last few years. But the truth is that I kind of inundate myself with those forms of entertainment, and I think the result is that God becomes apparent to me in silence. My best prayer has usually come from a place of docility, or readiness for reception, sitting or walking and shutting off my brain. All those forms of media can be so tempting to intellectualize, and while that can be fruitful, it can also be distracting for me. In the spirit of Ignatius, however, it would be wrong to claim this as an objective statement, so the point is wherever you find God, stick with it!
5) What has been the biggest surprise for you thus far?
I never thought my life as a Jesuit would mean as much to me as it does. It is who I am. (I wasn’t lying about question 2!)
6) What would you tell a man who’s considering becoming a Jesuit?
Pray and go to spiritual direction! One of the best pieces of advice I got before entering was this: you aren’t discerning the rest of your life in your decision to enter the Novitiate. It gave me the freedom for which I was looking, and needed, to make that decision.
Jesuit Bryce Deline, SJ is from Tacoma, Washington. He attended Bellarmine Prep and graduated in 2004. After spending a year in college he dropped out, desiring an experience of the real world. He moved into an apartment in downtown Tacoma, and began working. He worked for 2 years at a company called AA Party Rentals, and 1 year at a local gym as a personal trainer. While working at the gym, he and a friend decided to open their own personal training studio. They ran the business together for 2 years, until Bryce realized that he was being called to serve as a Jesuit. Bryce did his Novitiate in Portland, OR, and now lives in St. Louis, MO, where he is studying Philosophy.