A Message from the Office for Mission and Identity on a New Advent Initiative

12/05/2017

Dear Saint Louis University Community,
 
As we enter into Advent, a season of attentive waiting and listening for the Word of God to come as one like us, I’d like to extend an invitation.
 
What if we, individually and collectively, made a commitment each Wednesday to take two minutes of silence at noon; put away our phones, leave our computers, set aside our paperwork, and be "contemplatives in action?"
St. Ignatius of Loyola asked his followers to take time each day and examine where God is present in the midst of the day’s activities. What might this look like? I think it could take many forms:
 
  • Every Wednesday at noon, people could spontaneously gather near the clock tower and quietly pause at the midpoint of the week.
  • If it’s your lunch hour, you might sit quietly to savor the morning; thank God for the encounters and tasks that have already marked your day; or pause and look at something beautiful. Listen to the sounds that surround you; pray for someone or some group of people in need.
  • If you are a professor in class, set aside two minutes at the beginning of class for collective quiet.
  • If you are a student, you might propose this two-minute pause to your professor; or stop and sit on a bench as you make your way across the quad; or stop in at College Church, or a residence hall chapel.
  • If you are at the Rec Center, take these two minutes to stretch or to just sit on a mat in a contemplative posture and close your eyes.
  • If you’re serving in the wider St. Louis community, consider inviting your community partners into two minutes of quiet.
We are a big and complex institution. But each of us is capable of influencing our own circle of students, colleagues, community partners, to take up this challenge. Look for creative ways to remind yourselves of the goal. Start a grassroots social media campaign. Use an app to send yourself and others a reminder on Wednesdays at noon.
 
Please consider sending our office a note and tell us how you are hoping to be a contemplative in action. Think of ways to share these practices in the broader community. I hope this invitation can become a weekly practice for many of us who choose to make it so.
 
As we begin our third century of higher education at this Jesuit university, we find ourselves in one of the most distracted and busiest times of history. Let’s carve out a little space and renew ourselves in the mission we share. Let’s seek and find God in all things, be of service to humanity, and become more of who we are called to be and do.
 
Spread the word. Take up the challenge. Follow @SLU_Official on Twitter. Tweet your own comments and reflections using #SLUExamen and check Newslink on Wednesdays for prompts.
 
Happy Advent. Happy Bicentennial. And happy contemplating! Stay in touch and let us know how it goes!
 
Chris Collins, S.J.
Assistant to the President for Mission and Identity