Dear Fellow Alumni and Friends of Fordham,
Here in New York City, the end of January has brought us the great blizzard which thankfully moved 50 miles east, sparing us two feet of snow, and national news that scientists have discovered a Super Saturn 400 light years away, whose rings are 200 times larger than the Saturn of our solar system! Here on planet Earth, how small we are in this truly vast universe, yet how blessed we are with life and consciousness to make these ongoing discoveries.
The New Year is also the time we notice the shorter days of winter, the time we look for greater shopping bargains, and try to keep our resolutions, many of them concerned with one’s health and general well-being. For some it’s a dreary time, for others it’s a time to take a vacation, for most of us it provides the occasion to reflect on our health and well-being.
Concern for one’s health and well-being is a significant personal issue. The whole healthcare industry is a major component of our economy. I am reminded of sitting in the waiting area of a typical suburban pharmacy last year and being amazed at the sheer amount of drugs and medications stocked there; the busy pace of activity of the six staff members: filling scripts, answering the phones, using the computers and dispensing individual’s medications at the Pick Up counter. I mentally multiplied this phenomenon to include all the pharmacies in the country and realized that this ‘concern for health’ is a daily big business of the nation, touching millions if not hundreds of millions of people.
We will soon be in the liturgical season of Lent (Ash Wednesday, February 18), leading up to the great celebration of Easter. Traditionally, it’s a time to check on our total health and well-being. What is the status of our spirit’s health? Each of us is a composite of body, mind, and spirit; if we neglect the health of our spirit, we may not enjoy full health. Allow me to share with you some thoughts on ‘spirituality.’ First, in general, by several statements of others, then more specifically, thoughts on Ignatian Spirituality by means of the links provided.
"The spiritual core is the deepest center of the person. It is here that the person is open to the transcendent dimension; it is here that the person experiences ultimate reality." Bernard McGinn, Roman Catholic author of many volumes on spirituality
"I believe that fundamentally spirituality has to do with becoming a person in the fullest sense…(Spirituality) brings to expression the conviction that to reality there belongs a depth, a complexity and a richness that are not exhausted by the visible and material objects presented to the senses." John Macquarrie, Christian theologian
"Spirit is a natural dimension of every person…The word spirituality goes further and describes an awareness of relationships with all creation, an appreciation of presence and purpose that includes a sense of meaning…Persons find that their spirituality helps them maintain health, cope with illnesses, traumas, losses, and life transitions by integrating body, mind and spirit." from a white paper on Professional Chaplaincy in Journal of Pastoral Care, Spring 2001
"Spirituality is that aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, and to the significant or sacred." an interdisciplinary consensus reported by the Society of Critical Care Medicine
I hope the following websites are helpful to you, providing some good means to attain better total health and well-being.
This last link is specifically geared toward young adults, ages18-39: faithconnections.ca
Dan Gatti, S.J., JES '65, GSE '66