Remembering John W. Padberg, SJ

Historian John W. Padberg, a Jesuit for 77 years, died on Christmas Day 2021. May he relaxation in peace.

Fr. Padberg was celebrated in his lifetime with a set of essays by Jesuits he impressed, together with William A. Barry, SJ; John W. O’Malley, SJ; David L. Fleming, SJ; and Michael J. Buckley, SJ. In Fr. Padberg’s reminiscence, we share this excerpt from Spirit, Style, Story: Essays Honoring John W. Padberg, SJ.

I noticed that discerning the spirits requires an act of religion. One of the retreatants had said early and fairly brazenly that she hated retreats. I requested her why she continued to make them if this was the case. She mentioned, “Because religious have to.” She might pray briefly durations, she mentioned, however the thought of spending an hour at a time in prayer despatched her right into a tizzy. At the identical time, she desired to expertise the presence of God. The need was sturdy sufficient to deliver tears to her eyes as she spoke of it. Nevertheless, she didn’t have a lot hope that her need can be fulfilled.

When I requested her what she preferred to do, she advised me that she loved listening to music, doing puzzles, and going for walks within the woods. I prompt that she spend the day doing these issues with the will that God make his presence felt. She was afraid that she would really feel responsible if she spent her retreat time on this manner; it didn’t look like prayer. Over the following day or so I prevailed on her to offer enjoyment a strive. She later recounted that on the night of the third day she mentioned to herself with fun, “I’m actually enjoying this retreat.” She additionally had the sense that God is perhaps having fun with it too. But the guilt emotions didn’t disappear; she nonetheless felt that this might not be the way in which a very good retreat ought to go. During the session after this present day we appeared on the two totally different experiences: the enjoyment of the retreat and the emotions of guilt. I then requested her, “Which of these experiences are you going to believe in?” At that second I had the perception that the discernment of the spirits just isn’t full till it results in an act of religion. I thanked her for serving to me to reach at this readability.

—William A. Barry, SJ, excerpted from Spirit, Style, Story: Essays Honoring John W. Padberg, SJ

Interested in studying the total guide of essays honoring Fr. Padberg? Purchase on the particular value of $14.00, by means of February 28, 2022.

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