Finding God September 2013
Me? I love a good religious habit. The long robes, the distinctive colors, perhaps a hood and maybe even a cape. So dang religious, set apart, and wholly dedicated to God. I think I would like that. It would be great to always know I am different, I am called to serve in a special way, and wear clothing to reflect that. But I had to become a Jesuit and we don’t wear habits.
Is that because we Jesuits are less set apart for God? Less religious, somewhat less dedicated to God? I don’t think so, but this is how it works in the Society of Jesus-
From our founding our garb was to be “proper,…conformed to the usage of the country of residence, and not contradictory to the poverty we profess.” (Constitutions 577) Not a lot of distinction coming from that directive.
Yes, we used to wear a Jesuit styled cassock and a black biretta but that has fallen by the wayside mainly because of our ongoing evaluation of our mission today. Almost all Jesuit custom and style of life is dictated by our focus on Mission. What are we called to do by Christ? And what should we wear for that?
We are on mission with Christ in the world. And this means sometimes we are in black shirts with white tab collars, sometimes we are in regular street clothes, sometimes we are wearing liturgical garments. What is going to serve the people best? That is our question as we stand before our closets every morning.
And as for my own identity as a companion of Jesus? Called to serve His people? I have to ground that at a deeper level; an interior that is in step with Jesus and listening with His ears, seeing with His eyes, and loving with His heart. I have to forgo the habit and seek the deeper identification with Christ.