Twenty-one years ago, Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., superior general of the Jesuits, died on February 5, 1991, at the age of 84. As a missionary in the Jesuit house outside Hiroshima, Japan, he witnessed the atomic bombing.
Padre Arrupe had presided over the Company of Jesus in the critical years after the Second Vatican Council and was instrumental in the Jesuits’ 1975 General Congregation which set the Jesuits on the course of “the Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice.”
Toward the end of his life he suffered a stoke that left him debilitated and eventually led to his resignation as Father General.
Facing his illness he reflected:
“More than ever I find myself in the hands of God. This is what I have wanted all my life from my youth. But now there is a difference; the initiative is entirely with God. It is indeed a profound spiritual experience to know and feel myself so totally in God’s hands.”
There is a prayer attributed to Father Pedro Arrupe which is probably not his but reflects his thought:
Nothing is more practical than finding God,
than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
Soon after I came to Honduras in 2007 I finished the Orbis Spiritual Masters series, Pedro Arrupe: Essential Writings, and found a beautiful quote on being a missionary which spoke to my situation. I still find it telling. You can find it here.