Jesuits are awesome. For those of you who may not be familiar with what a Jesuit “is,” the short answer is that they are members of a specific order of priests within the Catholic Church. SLU is a “Catholic Jesuit” university, which means that it was/is founded upon the principles of the Jesuits. Although only about 50% of the student body identifies themselves as Catholic, everybody on this campus loves a good Jesuit because, let’s face it, they’re down to earth and hilarious!
The Jesuits at SLU teach many classes - from history to sciences to theology - and are very active through various student organizations. They are most noticeable, however, at the 9:00 PM student mass on Sundays.
Yesterday, one of my favorite Jesuits - Fr. Collins - gave the homily at mass. The Jesuit priests always make it a point to make their messages specifically applicable for college students, and Fr. Collin’s words of wisdom last night were no exception. He spoke of “letting go” of the things in life that we try to grasp for our own glory, but ultimately take us prisoner and bring us down. In his homily, to better illustrate his message, he told a story about a monkey catcher. Apparently if you place a banana or some sort of nut or fruit in a cage with a hole that is just big enough for a monkey to get its arm through, you’ll catch a monkey.
Here’s how: The monkey reaches his hand into the cage/hole and grabs onto the fruit; however, the monkey’s clenched fist is too big to get out of the hole… meaning his arm is now stuck unless he lets go of the fruit and thus ceases clenching his fist. But monkeys are stubborn and don’t want to do that. So they will stand there and tug on the cage for hours - even days - and become “self-trapped” until the monkey catcher who placed the trap arrives.
The analogy was great, but Fr. Collins ended it in a very quirky way. Sort of spontaneously and with a HUGE smile on his face he goes, "… and then you have a dead monkey." And the way he said it, so matter-of-factly and all, just made the church erupt in laughter.
I know, it’s a weird thing to blog about… but it just reminded me of how much I love being at such a lively and outgoing school. And, of course, how much I love a good Jesuit!
Come check out our 9PM Sunday night mass for yourself!
- Luke -