The Front Page (PAPERBACK)
Christopher Gleeson SJ, was born in Melbourne and educated by the Presentation Sisters and the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) whose ranks he joined in 1962. Ordained priest in 1975, he has spent most of his working life as a teacher and administrator in Jesuit schools, nearly twenty-one of which as Head of both Xavier College in Melbourne and St Ignatius’ College, Riverview, in Sydney. His peers elected him to serve as Chair of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia from 1999 to 2001. Since leaving Riverview at the end of 2002, he has been Director of Jesuit Publications (now Jesuit Communications) in Melbourne, and inaugural Director of both the Faber Centre of Ignatian Spirituality and the Archdiocesan Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre in Brisbane. In January 2011, he took up his current role as the Provincial’s Delegate for Education and Mission Formation based in Melbourne. Over the years he has written a number of books for parents and teachers: Striking a Balance: Teaching Values and Freedom (Aurora Books, 1993), A Canopy of Stars—Some Reflections for the Journey (David Lovell Publishing, 2003), Releasing the Angel—Saluting all Who Strive to Teach (ATF Press, 2007), and The Little Angel Released (ATF Press, 2009). The Front Page—Everyday Ignatian Spirituality (ATF Press) is his latest book.
For most of the ‘front pages’ that follow, my inspiration has been twofold—to elaborate some touching story from my everyday life experience, however banal, and use it as a stepping stone to illustrate how we might more easily find God and be found by God in all things.
Central to Ignatian spirituality is the belief that our world is transparent, reflecting constantly a God who works in the depths of everything. St Ignatius Loyola saw the world as very ‘user friendly’. For him every part of it, from the stars in the heavens to the flowers of the field, elevated his mind and heart to God. In Ribadeneira’s Life of Ignatius we learn ‘how even the smallest things could make his spirit soar upwards to God, who even in the smallest things is Greatest. At the sight of a little plant, a leaf, a flower or a fruit, an insignificant worm or a tiny animal Ignatius could soar free above the heavens and reach through into things which lie beyond the senses.’ (Life I11 5381)
Seeking and finding God in all things works on the belief that God is already present in our world and it is our task to uncover his presence and help others to do the same. It is very different to the old, perhaps arrogant, concept of ministry which talked about ‘bringing God to the world’
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