Letting Go to Serve Better

Hi friends. I hope the new school year is going well for all of you. For the new Cortinians who probably don’t know me, I’m Ken Homan. I lived next door to Tim sophomore year and made his life miserable with a mix of pranks involving food gone awry (don’t put mustard in boiling water) and making him help me with calculus (he’s bad at both helping with it and the subject itself). I would hopefully be helping out with Cortina if I were around, but I left Creighton after my sophomore year to join the Jesuits. Currently, I’m in my second year of Novitiate and absolutely loving it.

I was a very involved person at Creighton–a member of Amnesty International, GreenJays, GSA, campus ministry, the CCSJ, student government, and occasionally sleeping (often in the community area of the floor). One of the hardest things about leaving Creighton was letting go of all the activities. Could I trust someone to do it when I was gone? Who was going to plan things? Who was going to set up speakers for Amnesty? Who was going to be the constant annoying bug in the administration’s ear about getting rid of bottled water and going sweatshop free? Who was going to get NIKE kicked off campus?

It took a lot of time to finally let go of those things. Ultimately, it had to mean trusting in God more. I could easily trust in myself doing those things (ego issue). I would say it’s rather insulting to my classmates and the rest of the students/faculty/staff at Creighton, though, for me to think I had to do all those things because nobody else would. Not to mention, rather insulting to God as well.

St. Ignatius would often talk about this as detachment. He tells us how we need to be detached so that we can serve God better and more lovingly–detached from money, power, belongings, basically anything we can think of, including our lives. But even service? Even willing that separation from the work we do, even in the name of justice and loving our neighbors? For me, yes, especially that. I think for many of us experiencing the Cortinian lifestyle, yes.

Oscar Romero is often quoted for the prayer “Prophets of a Future Not Our Own” (but actually written by Bishop Untener). This prayer reminds us that we will never really see all of what we invest in the world. We strive for a world of justice and beauty and love. But we may never see our dreams come to fruition. Honestly, we are building a future for somebody besides ourselves.

Why am I connecting this with a sense of Ignatian detachment? I think it’s important that we can let others take over. We absolutely and desperately need each other. We cannot build a just, charitable world on our own. It is not good for us to get so wrapped up in our ministries that we start to lose focus on the greater desire for justice. When we step back, we can say, “Yes, this honestly is for the good of others. This isn’t about my good–this is about a man named Manuel who will be born in 30 years, that I hope he has a home and a healthy family and is not discriminated against for his parents having immigrated.” We are prophets of a future not our own. What does building that future of justice and mercy mean for you?

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