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Fr. Flavio Bravo, SJ, of Del Camino Jesuit Border Ministries preaches at a migrant shelter in Mexico. Photo by Eric A. Clayton/Jesuit Conference

By Eric A. Clayton

This past weekend we celebrated the ordination of 15 Jesuits to the priesthood. This forthcoming weekend, 2 additional Jesuits will be ordained. And later this summer, more still — this year will see 20 new Jesuit priests ordained in the United States, Canada and Haiti.

I am not a Jesuit. But by the nature of my work, I bump into quite a few. I get to meet these men at various stages of their years-long formation: some at the very beginning as novices, some while immersed in philosophical or theological studies, some while doing hands-on ministry work as regents, and others still after years of serving as priests or brothers. Some Jesuits I meet at the very end of their lives, and even then, they continue to grow in their relationship with and understanding of God, neighbor and creation.

Jesuits — like each of us — are called to constant, growing awareness of God at work in our lives and in our world. We are always being formed.

Regardless of when or where I encounter these Jesuits — from the halls of academia to the backroads of Belize, from global gatherings of young people in Europe to migrant shelters just across the U.S. border — there is a word that necessarily captures the heart of the Jesuit vocation: accompaniment.

St. Ignatius of Loyola concerned himself with walking alongside others on their way to God. Ignatius wanted to help folks recognize the Spirit already at work in their lives and that the same Spirit was very much concerned with each person’s realization of their fullest potential. Individual choices and institutionalized systems can hinder that potential. But St. Ignatius believed that through discernment and a desire to love and serve in all things, we might help one another grow into the people God dreams we will be.

We walk together on a shared pilgrimage. We learn from one another. We encounter Christ already at work in each of our stories.

And so, as we mark this time of Jesuit ordinations, I invite you to reflect with the video below. In it, we learn how a couple of newly ordained Jesuits started a ministry of accompaniment on the U.S.-Mexico border, and how that ministry has grown in the years since. But ultimately, we glimpse again the heart of the Jesuit vocation.

Jesuits may have a unique way of showing us how to accompany one another, and some of us are called to be a Jesuit. But regardless of if we’re lay or religious, Jesuit or not, we’re all called to walk with one another, to accompany each other on our journey to God. Who is God inviting you to walk with today? Who has God placed in your life as a companion on their journey? And who are the folks that we’ve forgotten to invite along the way — and to whom we need to go and extend an invitation?

Let’s pray for our new Jesuit priests. Let’s pray for all of us who are inspired by the Ignatian tradition. And if you or someone you know might have a vocation to the Society of Jesus, visit beajesuit.org.

This reflection is part of the award-winning weekly email series, “Now Discern This.” If you’d like to get reflections like this one directly in your inbox every Wednesday, sign up here.

a person smiling for the cameraEric A. Clayton is the award-winning author of Cannonball Moments: Telling Your Story, Deepening Your Faith and My Life with the Jedi: The Spirituality of Star Wars, an exploration of Star Wars through the lens of Ignatian spirituality (Loyola Press). He is the deputy director of communications at the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. His essays on spirituality, parenting and pop culture have appeared in America MagazineNational Catholic ReporterU.S. Catholic, Busted Halo and more, and he is a regular contributor to Give Us This Day, IgnatianSpirituality.com and Dork Side of the Force, where he blogs about Star Wars. His fiction has been published by Black Hare Press, Small Wonders Magazine, Air and Nothingness Press and more.  Sign up for his Substack “Story Scraps” here. He lives in Baltimore, MD with his wife, two young daughters and their cat.