Personal Introduction

Welcome! My name is John Roselle, SJ, and I took lifelong ("perpetual") vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as a Jesuit on August 13th, 2011 after a two-year novitiate. I am now a Jesuit Scholastic for the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus. I will study philosophy and theology for the next three years at Loyola University in Chicago. At the same time, I will do part-time ministry in some capacity with the poor. After that, I will likely teach for three years before finishing three more years of theology. Then, God willing, I will be ordained a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest! It's a long road, but a blessed, fun, and enriching one. This blog exists as a resource for friends, family, and others who are interested in my progress through the Jesuit process of formation. Every day is its own adventure, and I am happy to have you along with me to share in this. This blog contains my own personal thoughts and should not be taken to speak for the entire Society of Jesus. Feel free to contact me. God bless you!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Weakness, Greatness, & The King's Speech

I recently went to The King's Speech with some of my older Jesuit brothers with whom I live.  I had heard rave reviews, and the film lived up to them! You can find its trailer here:

The King's Speech is a true story about Prince Albert, Duke of York, who lived on the cusp of the second World War and had a severe stuttering problem.  After years of being crippled by his impediment and with no successful treatment of the problem, Prince Albert finds an unorthodox Australian speech therapist who dares to delve into the prince's psyche in order to reveal to himself his true self, beyond the layers of shame under which he has been burdened all of his life. 

I once heard a Jesuit in the infirmary say that we as humans "are strength wrapped in weakness."  Prince Albert can only see, hear, and feel his weakness.  Instead, the speech therapist believes in and communicates to Prince Albert the strength hidden within him.  Yes, the weakness is real, and it threatens to destroy the greatness of his destiny, should he be called to become king in the face of the Third Reich.  A powerful scene shows the prince watching a video reel of Adolph Hitler, rousing the masses through his eloquent, ferocious rhetoric.  It is a scene akin to what St. Ignatius urges his retreatants to imagine in "The Two Standards," the standard of Satan and the standard of Christ.  Both are leaders who summon their followers, but according to radically different standards.  In short, Satan employs pride and riches; Christ moves us toward humility and poverty. 

Prince Albert has within him the seeds of greatness that are blessed to be planted in a wise humility.  Fr. Michael Buckley, SJ, delivered a powerful sermon to Jesuit seminarians entitled "Are you weak enough to be a priest?"  He makes the compelling point that most people think of a job in terms of their strengths.  While that has some validity, a priest (and I would add any other Christian vocation) is seeking to conform one's self to Christ, who was fully human and thus underwent all human suffering and weakness.  Jesus' authority is not the "invincible" facade of Hitler, but the tender yet tough resolve of Prince Albert.

I can testify in my life that strangely it is that unique mixture of weaknesses in me that, when given over to God and to His strength, have been of some of the greatest advantage in my ministry.  For example, the struggles that I faced in college help sensitize me to the challenges and opportunities in campus ministry.

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