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!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

St. Ignatius' Presupposition of Charitable Perceptions

A reader recently wrote to me about his struggles of choosing to trust in the Society. This is part of what I wrote in reply, which helped articulate some thoughts on the matter. 

Yes, there are many sad cases in all sectors of the Church.  Without naming names, it is not only certain Jesuits (who are nonetheless my brothers) with whom one could have a grievance.  Indeed, it would be a mistake to ever scapegoat or pigeonhole any religious order or movement in the Church (or overly idolize one or another), because we Christians are ALL loved sinners (some just get more publicity or have more influence--thus can do more damage).  As a traditional, orthodox Roman Catholic, it is sad to me to see how lacking in charity some in our "camp" can be at times.  Of course, other "camps" can have the same problem.  As scandalous as heresy is, I think it's fair to say that lack of humility and love (into which I too have fallen) is not much better. 

I will tell you what a Jesuit told me when I was applying to the Society: "The Jesuits are going to let you down."  How true that is about EVERYONE, whether it be a spouse, an institution, a teacher, etc.  Without being cynical, in some sense are we not bound to let one another down at some time or another?  And by the same token, are we not obliged like the Good Samaritan and the Lord to bend down and pick one another up "gently yet firmly" (a phrase of St. Francis de Sales)? 

St. Ignatius teaches us in a "Presupposition" in the Annotations to the Spiritual Exercises: "let it be presupposed that every good Christian is to be more ready to save his neighbor’s proposition than to condemn it. If he cannot save it, let him inquire how he means it; and if he means it badly, let him correct him with charity. If that is not enough, let him seek all the suitable means to bring him to mean it well, and save himself."  Let us beg for the grace to do just that.
The Good Samaritan by Luca Giordano


  1. "The Jesuits are going to let you down."

    This reminds me of something I heard someone say (I can't remember who it was, though) that made a huge difference in my coming to a full understanding of the commitment I was making when I decided to get married. This person basically said that when you get married, it is important to remember that you did not marry a princess, or a prince, or a god, or an angel, because that sets you up for the kind of false hopes that will come crashing down once the honeymoon is over and you realize that you married Judas Iscariot, and so did your spouse. LOL That's one of the best pieces of marital advice I have ever seen.

  2. This is an interesting post. On a somewhat related note, I was wondering if the recent child abuse scandals in the Church had been any barrier to you in trusting either the Church or the Society. They have certainly alienated me to a great extent, and I was wondering how young people discerning vocations today coped with them.

  3. I recently read a writing about realizing that those to whom we look for spiritual guidance are also struggling with their own weaknesses and personal demons. Last week our parish priest left suddenly, without warning, under some circumstances unknown to all but a few in our parish. It would be a sad thing for parish members to judge him more harshly than he did us when we took our sins (many of them probably more grievous) to him into confession for absolution.

    I like to believe that the line in the Lord's Prayer..."forgive us this day our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" is both an instruction and a reminder that we must be generous in our forgiveness--particularly when it challenges us most. We might believe we are justified in judging some transgressions more harshly than others, but in the end, we all are sinners.