As we celebrate the feast of St. Francis Borgia, S.J., I recall that he, after marrying and fathering a family and being widowed, made provision for his children, resigned his hereditary dukedom in favor of his eldest son, and became a Jesuit priest. He was elected eventually as the third Father General of this new order. Thus did his faith lead him from a life at the court to a commitment to the Jesuit vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
In each of our lives, faith can open us to new opportunities, make different demands, and call forth latent talents. After practicing finance law for 30 years, I left my legal career to help found the Ignatian Volunteer Corps in Chicago. Instead of drafting indentures, I was pounding the pavement in Chicago and visiting social service agencies and schools as I sought placements for this nascent chapter of Ignatian volunteers committed to serving the materially poor and marginalized.
As Chicago Archbishop-designate Blase Cupich commented recently, Christians should be prepared to “step into the unknown…because it is in the very unknown that we really do encounter Christ.”
My own “step into the unknown” greatly enriched my faith, enhanced my spiritual journey, and helped serve those at the margins of society. Today let us reflect: how am I being called now by my faith in Christ, to “step into the unknown”?
―George Penman Sullivan, Jr. is a Jesuit-educated lay leader who helped found Chicago’s Ignatian Volunteer Corps. He and his wife, Dorothy, live in Wilmette IL, and have four children and three grandchildren.