Santa Clara Discernment Weekend by runout


									         Santa Clara Discernment Weekend Logistical Information
                            March 13-14, 2010
                         (with interviews occurring March 12-13)

*** Please do not make any travel arrangements until your interview time has been

Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, California 95053-1500

The Campus Ministry Center, where the interviews and Discernment Weekend will take place,
is located in the Benson Center. This is at the heart of the campus, adjacent to the Benson
fountain. Your interview will be scheduled for the evening of Friday, March 12 or the morning
of Saturday March 13. The group will reconvene for a 2:00 pm start (please try to arrive by
1:45) on Saturday and will finish up around 9:00 pm that night. Dinner will be provided. On
Sunday, March 14, the group will begin again at 8:00 am (please try to arrive by 7:45) and will
wrap up by 1:00 pm. Breakfast will be served. The start time on Sunday will feel early, because
daylight savings time ends that weekend and clocks will move our ahead one hour.

There is a free bus (Number 10) that travels from the San Jose Airport to the Santa Clara
Caltrain station directly across from the University gates.

Here are some links that may be helpful:

Please try to arrange your own lodging if you have any friends or family in the Santa Clara area.
If you need lodging on Saturday night (or possibly Friday night as well), JVC can arrange a place
for you to stay either at the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) House or with a local host. Please
contact Stephanie Galeota at no later than Monday, March 1to
arrange this. Also, if you live locally and are willing to host an applicant or two, please contact
Stephanie at your earliest convenience.
What Is God’s Will For You?
By Thomas Hart

“I wonder if God wants me to work among the poor in Latin America,” a 35-year-old woman puzzles
before me. “I’ve thought about it ever since I was young. But I have never really pursued it, because I
just don’t know. How do you figure out what God’s will for you is?”

“Do you want to work among the poor in Latin America?” I ask.

“Want to? No. Whenever I think of actually doing it, I get this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.
But if it were God’s will, I would do it.”

“If it gives you a horrible feeling in your stomach, I doubt it is God’s will. What kind of God would ask
you to do what goes against your grain? When something is God’s will for you, it flows naturally out of
who you are. You feel an attraction toward it. You report the very opposite.”

This is the bare bones of a conversation with a good woman which unfolded over to or three hours. It
challenged her, but she felt a lot better when it was over. She left relating to a friendlier God. And she
continued living her life of Christian dedication and service to others in ways that fit her.

A lot of us puzzle over God’s will. We really want to find it, which is good. But often we misconceive the
whole issue, and then look for signs everywhere except the obvious place-inside our own deepest

What Does “God’s Will” Mean?

There are two different theologies regarding God’s will. One is that God has a detailed plan for each of
us. God has already willed where we should live, whom we should marry, what our careers should be,
what accidents will befall us, and when we should die. In fact, some think, God’s will is more particular
than that. It touches whether we should read a given book or not, and what we should say to so-and-so.
You have surely heard Christians say, “God told me to say this to you.” I wonder how they know,
because I never get messages like that. I am not saying they never happen, but they don’t seem very
common. And that is the tricky part of this theology: How do we figure out what God’s will is in all these
matters? Typically people pray, then sometimes think they hear a voice; or look for signs, and
sometimes think they see one. But certitude is hard to get.

There is another theology of God’s will, which holds that it consists of broad strokes only, the particulars
being left to us – even such particulars as what our work will be or whom we marry. The broad strokes
are the basic values by which God would have us orient ourselves in life. The prophet Micah was
evidently thinking along these lines when he said:

This is what Yahweh asks of you, only this:
To live justly,
To love tenderly,
And to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8)
Jesus seems to have been thinking along the same lines when he summarized his whole message in a
single commandment: Love God with your whole heart, and your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:@9-31).
In this theology, it is up to each of us to figure out what choice best corresponds to the values God sets
out for everyone. And we figure it out not by listening for voices or looking for signs, but by using our
heads and hearts.

I favor Theology #2, chiefly because I find in Jesus’ teaching nothing more than broad strokes, and I
notice also that he has left us no method for discovering God’s will in particular matters. How could he
have said nothing about a matter so crucial if Theology #1 were his own?

What Do You Most Deeply Want?

I draw a practical principle for determining the principles within the broad framework God gives us.
When we have found what we most deeply want, we have found God’s will for us. In other words, the
place to look for God’s leadings is inside ourselves, because what God wants for us is the unfolding of
our true selfhood. It was God who made for us; the seeds of our destiny are planted within.

I remember a man with whom I shared this idea. He recognized the truth of it, and has lived from it
fruitfully. Recently he told me how often he has met strong opposition over it in church settings.
People say to him, “What do you mean, what do I want? That’s not the question at all. It’s what God
wants that is important.” “That’s a very selfish principle. We’re fallen. We’ll just choose whatever suits
us.” “You’re forgetting the cross. Jesus suffered and died for us, and we’re supposed to take up our cross
and follow him.”

One time I was making a 30-day retreat. It was solitude, silence and five hours of formal prayer a day.
Generally I thrive on that sort of thing. On this particular day, the 18th, I was weary of it. At 9 am, I saw
my director as usual, and told him how I was feeling. I fully expected him to say, “This is exactly the kind
of time when it’s crucial to be faithful to the schedule.” But he said, “Sounds like you could use a day of.
Why don’t you do whatever you want today? You’re welcome to use my car.” I was stunned and needed
to think about it. Completely freed up, I asked myself what I wanted to do. And it came to me that I
wanted to stay in retreat – with just one adjustment. I would pray four hours instead of five. So I did,
and thoroughly enjoyed my day.

My director genuinely expected me to take a break. The God he believed in was not a tyrant. And he
was confident that whether I drove into the city and walked the streets, took in a movie, slept, or read
novels all day, God and I would find one another. Now I know that’s true. But the main significance of
the event for me was learning the profound difference between a “should’ and a “want.” It was
fascinating that what I actually wanted was substantially the same as what I was “supposed” to do, but
with an immense difference in feeling – the difference between oppression and freedom.

A Jesuit provincial superior told me of a 63-year-old priest he had dealt with, who bleakly told him he
hated being a Jesuit but was too old to leave, so he was just plain trapped. The provincial told him that if
he didn’t really want to be there, it wasn’t good for him to stay. He would just be miserable, and make
everybody else miserable. The provincial promised that the Jesuits would give him so much a month to
live on for the rest of his days, and he could go. The priest was astonished, and thought about it. He
realized that, all things considered, he much preferred staying to going. So he stayed, but he was a
different man now.

It comes down to this: What kind of God do we believe in? Is God taskmaster or fiend, for us or against
us? We proclaim that God is love, but do we believe it? The Bible’s very first image keeps coming back to
me – the garden, which God gives to woman and man to enjoy, wanting only that they be safe. The
garden is the world, and God’s first command is, ‘For heaven’s sake, have a good time.”

What about the cross?

What about denying yourself, losing your life, following the crucified one? How do these teachings fit
into the picture? Well, God wants us to love. Now anybody who has ever loved knows that it costs – but
they still want to do it. They want to give things to those they love, do things for them. They help them
bear their burdens. They stick with them through difficult times. It hurts. That is the denying of self, the
losing of life.

And if your love is broad and deep, so that, for example, you want to change the system to help those
who are being squashed by it, you might get threatened, beat up, or killed. It happened to Martin
Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi, Jesus of Nazareth. The price is sometimes that high. These people did
not seek suffering or death, nor did God wish it for them. They loved, spending themselves so others
could have a better life, not because they wanted to. It flowed out of who they most deeply were and
wanted to be. I believe Mother Teresa does what she does among India’s most destitute for the same
reason: because, when she looks at everything, this is what she most deeply wants to do with her time
and energies. That is how the call of God comes, not to just a few, but to each of us in our own way.
We are made for love, and suffering (“the cross”) comes along with it.

And so I am afraid to say to someone agonizing over whether to stay with a difficult partner, or whether
to keep caring for aging parents, “When you carefully consider everything in this situation, what is it you
most deeply want to do?” I don’t hear them say, “If I’m free to do what I want, I’m out the door.”
Rather, I see them choosing to leave their marriages while others stay, some putting their parents in a
nursing home while others care for them at home. Nor do I think the first group are selfish and the
second not. I think all of them are making the best judgment they can, all things considered, about what
seems best to do, what God would want them to do. And I have not the slightest doubt that God
accepts their decisions. “This is what Yahweh asks of you, only this: to live justly, to love tenderly, and
to walk humbly with your God.”

    Reflection Questions based on What is God’s Will for You?

    After reading the article, What is God’s Will for You?, please take at least a half hour for
    personal reflection on the article and on the following questions. We strongly
    recommend writing your thoughts and feelings down as you do this reflection.

    1. What emotions can you identify with when you think of where you feel called to

    2. Take a few minutes to reflect separately on your emotional reaction, your physical
    reaction and your intellectual reaction.

    3. When thinking of working for social justice in the developing world, what are your
    consolations and desolations? What brings you peace about the prospect of this type
of work and what makes you nervous? In what do you find joy and with what do you

Additional suggestions:
        Talk about your call and your own desires with a trusted spiritual director.
        Call a JVC International staff member to talk about questions, doubts or
           concerns that may have surfaced during this reflection or in reading What is
           God’s Will for You?
                        Important JVC and Ignatian Terms

Summer Orientation (Phase I) – Typically taking place over a two week period from
mid-July through early August, Phase I of orientation is the final required step for
volunteer screening and training prior to departure for respective host countries. The
orientation typically includes but is not limited to training sessions regarding cultural
immersion and etiquette, practical and theoretical application of the four components,
Jesuit and Ignatian charism and identity, professional development and the logistics of
travel and life abroad.

Phase II Orientation - This second phase of orientation takes place in the host country,
usually upon arrival, but in some cases can take place over a period of time within the
first few months of work. Phase II orientation is an opportunity for second year JVs to
orient new volunteers to specific countries, sites and work duties. In concert with local
support staff, new volunteers are briefed on more specific cultural norms and
expectations, job requirements and duties, information about the practicalities of life in
each community, community expectations and safety and holistic health.

ReOrientation (ReO) – This phase of the orientation program designed by staff takes
place at or near the midterm of service. The reorientation retreat is an opportunity for
volunteers ending their first year of service to more closely examine the four
components in light of the experiences of the past year while seeking ways to improve
and challenge growth in them and in the JV community. This retreat is facilitated in the
host country by a visiting member of the JVC staff. ReO/DisO occur simultaneously.

DisOrientation (DisO) - This phase of the orientation program designed by staff takes
place at or near the end of a JV’s term of service. The disorientation retreat is an
opportunity for volunteers returning to the United States to have a contemplative and
effective close to their term of service. The retreat provides time for prayerful reflection
on leaving the host culture and returning home. It also leaves space for more critical
social analysis, strategies for communicating the experience upon return and ways to
incorporate the four components into life in the U.S.

Secondary Placement – In many, but not all, cases volunteers seek secondary
placements to supplement their specific job duties. In addition to extracurricular
activities, tutoring and mentoring, volunteers often take the summer between their first
and second year to do innovative and fulfilling work in the local community and/or host
culture. JVs are required by JVC staff to seek secondary placements whenever there is a
foreseen lull in their assigned service with priority always given to the needs of the
primary placement.

Society of Jesus – original name in Spanish: “La Compañía de Jesús” is the official name
of the order of priests and brothers founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola
Jesuit – a priest of the Society of Jesus; also used as an adjective to describe the
charism/spirituality that the members of the society follow (i.e. a Jesuit University)

Ignatian – broader term to describe the spirituality according to the charism of St.
Ignatius of Loyola; people who are not members of the Society would use this term

The Spiritual Exercises – a 30 day silent retreat created by St. Ignatius of Loyola. The
retreat consists of daily scripture readings, prayer, and meditation through the lens of a
progressive set of themes throughout the four weeks. Included in the retreat are daily
meetings with a spiritual director; the foundational text and basis for Ignatian

The Examen of Conscience – prayer method created by St. Ignatius of Loyola – often
done in the evening. It includes five elements:
                       1. Gratitude for gifts given by God
                       2. Ask for Holy Spirit’s Guidance
                       3. Examination of your day
                       4. Asking for forgiveness
                       5. Hopeful attitude for future

Consolation – any increase in faith hope and/or love

Desolation – any decrease in faith, hope and/or love

Apostolic Availability – an attitude of Jesuits in which they are open to being serving
where their greatest gifts meet the greatest need; an attitude JVC also asks of its

Catholic Social Teaching (CST) -Modern Catholic social teaching is the body of social
principles and moral teaching that is articulated in the papal, conciliar, and other official
documents issued since the late nineteenth century and dealing with the economic,
political, and social order. This teaching is rooted in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures
as well as in traditional philosophical and theological teachings of the Church.

Stewardship – The careful and responsible management of something entrusted to
one’s care - for JVC this term signifies an understanding that all is gift from God; that we
are responsible to use Gospel values, and Catholic Social Teaching in the management
of all that is entailed in the program and operations of the organization.

Spiritual Direction - Spiritual direction can mean different things to different people.
Some people understand it to be the art of listening carried out in the context of a
trusting relationship. It is when one person is trained to be a competent guide who then
“companions” another person, listening to that person's life story with an ear for the
movement of the Holy, of the Divine.

St. Ignatius was born in the Basque area of Spain in 1491. In his early life he pursued a
worldly career as a courtier and soldier. At the age of 30 in a battle against the French at
Pamplona he was struck down by a cannon ball. Both legs were wounded. During a long
period of recuperation he had no books to read except a life of Christ and a collection of
the lives of the saints.

God inspired him to follow their example. He traveled to Montserrat, a Benedictine
monastery west of Barcelona, and there commit himself to follow a new kind of life. His
conversion was deepened through a ten-month stay at Manresa, a town about ten miles
from Montserrat, where God spoke to him powerfully.

Ignatius greatly desired to share this experience of God with others. But in those days it
was dangerous for an unschooled layman to speak about religious matters. He had to go
back to school at the age of 30 and become a priest. He went to the University of Paris.
There he found companions, among them Francis Xavier.

Later these companions, now a group of nine, decided to offer themselves to the Pope
for whatever ministry he wanted them to undertake. They came to realize that God was
calling them to form a new type of religious order to be sent, on a moment's notice, to
any part of the world where the need was greatest. Ignatius was elected the head of this
new religious order which was called the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits. Ignatius
oversaw the drafting of the Constitutions for the Society which expanded to 1,000 men
by the time of his death in 1556. Ignatius and his experiences and the Ignatian
spirituality deriving from them are the foundation on which the Jesuits and our work are
Ignatian Discernment

At the heart of Ignatian spirituality is the practice of discernment – an art which St.
Ignatius learned through sustained careful attention to and reflection on his own
experience. Discernment is based on several presuppositions, including:

1) Humans have freedom, and their choices have consequences;

2) Some choices are better – and freer – than others;

3) Human choices are not only between good and evil, but are often between lesser
goods and greater goods;

4) It is possible through attending to motivations, feelings, and patterns of decision-
making to improve the freedom, goodness, and authenticity of one’s choices.

The early Jesuits also discovered the art of “communal discernment,” whereby they
were able to make corporate choices for their future as an apostolic body through
shared deliberations. For Ignatius and his Jesuits, discernment involved prayer and the
enlightenment of grace; they sometimes referred to their own practice of ongoing
discernment as “seeking God’s will for their lives.” As they trained others in the practice
of discernment, however, the art became practical as well as spiritual.
              Questions for Discernment: Where to begin?

1. Continual Prayer
      a. Do I have the desire to do God’s will?
      b. Do I have a sense of knowing God or knowing about God?
      c. Have I had experiences that help me believe God knows me and cares about
      d. Can I be open with God?

2. Thorough knowledge of options
      a. Do I have an option between two or more choices?
      b. How much information do I have about each of the options?
      c. How much information do I need to make a good decision?

3. Prayerful Reflection on one’s freedom to accept or reject the options
       a. What are the forces or influences that work against me making a free decision?
       b. What am I most afraid of regarding each of the options?
       c. To what (or whom) am I too attached to make a free decision?

4. Rational and effective weighing of “Pros and Cons”
       a. List the advantages for each of the options
       b. List the disadvantages for each of the options
       c. Review each of the lists and prioritize them
       d. Which option are you most attracted to? Why?
       e. What are your motivations behind wanting one option over the other?
       f. What would you advise another person if facing the similar choices?
       g. Imagine yourself on your deathbed. Ask yourself what choice from that
           perspective you wish you would have made.
       h. Imagine yourself facing your final judgment. What decision would you wish you
           had made?

5. Pay attention to the “Great Desires”
       a. An artist is someone who cannot conceive of not painting. A writer also HAS to
           write. What is it, deep within you, that you MUST do?
       b. If you could do your heart’s desire (your 100%) what would it be?
       c. What do you think and feel God hopes for you?

6. Experience of confirmation or its opposite, doubt and confusion
      a. Take a week imagining you have made the choice for one option considered.
          How does it feel? Is there peace? Restlessness?
      b. Take a week imagining you have chosen the other option. How does this feel? Is
          there peace? Restlessness?
      c. How do you feel when you tell God of the choice you wish to make?
                         JVC International Program Fact Sheet

Health Insurance
The JVC International Program provides volunteer health insurance through HTH
Worldwide. More information is available at A
volunteer’s coverage begins on the date of his/her departure from United States to
his/her assigned host country and ends on the last day of the month of the completion
of his/her term of service with JVC. JVC’s plan with HTH allows up to $1,000 of
prescription coverage per year. Prescription expenses incurred for pre-existing
conditions/long-term medications beyond the $1,000 coverage allotted are the
responsibility of the volunteer.

JVC asks that volunteers obtain the vaccinations outlined by Center for Disease Control
and/or specific country requirements. Please consult and your
physician for more detailed information. JVC does not pay for or reimburse the cost of

Jesuit Volunteers are asked to raise $3,000 as an integral part of their stewardship of the
organization. More detailed information on suggested fundraising procedures will be
provided upon placement.

Loan Deferment
JVC does not manage volunteer loan deferments. JVC does, upon written request of the
volunteer, provide supporting documentation of confirmation of volunteer status with
JVC, dates of term of service and monthly stipend amount.

Country Visas
In all cases it is the responsibility for volunteer to provide appropriate documentation
necessary for visa procurement. Upon placement further information regarding
requirements and process is provided. JVC pays for processing fees associated with visa
Medical / Mental Health Release Form

I, _______________________________ authorize_______________________________ to
release my medical, counseling and /or psychotherapy records as well as any other information
concerning my mental and physical health, including medical and mental health history to the
program staff of Jesuit Volunteers Corps.

___________________________ Name of physician or counselor/therapist

___________________________Street Address

___________________________City, State, Zip

___________________________ Phone Number

___________________________ Fax


___________________________________________                         ________________
Signature                                                             Date

Printed Name

Phone Number

Witness: (Member of JVC staff)
___________________________________________                         ________________
Signature                                                             Date

Printed Name

Phone Number

To top