Nick Creech to the Class of 2013: Seek the best in others
June 4, 2013 § Leave a comment
Over the next few days, The Ignatian Educator will be posting reflections from a few Ignatian educators around the country. The prompt given to them was this: What would you say to the class of 2013? In approximately 250 words, give a mini commencement address.
Today’s reflection comes from Nick Creech of Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, CA.
Seek the Best in Others
By Nick Creech
June 4, 2013
Following the general annotations to the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius of Loyola tells both those making and directing the retreat that “it should be presupposed that every good Christian ought to be more eager to put a good interpretation on a neighbor’s statement that to condemn it.” In other words, if there are two ways to interpret someone’s actions, make a conscious choice to choose the one that reflects better upon that person.”
I have heard this direction paraphrased by a lot of great teachers and professionals as the tendency toward “seeking the best” in others. The reality is that the colleges you are going to and the world that you will live in (and probably the school and world that you are coming from) contain a lot of people who can be difficult, from those who cut you off on the freeway to those who are physically violent. The question is, how will we respond?
If we take the little and large difficulties caused by our neighbors as personal affronts, we will end up dwelling on past hurts or writing off those who commit them. However, if we begin, as St. Ignatius suggests, by trying to seek the best, we can choose to see the person who cut us off as the sleep-deprived father of a young son rather than a vicious maniac, or a gang member not as a lost cause but as someone living out the cycle of abuse instituted in his own home.
Too often, our point of view is constrained by how another’s actions impact our life, and we neglect the influence of context, history, and the capacity for change. God loves the person who cuts us off on the freeway, and our first step toward being a part of God’s work in the world can be to remember that.
Nick Creech is the Director of Campus Ministry at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, CA, from which he graduated in 2003. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.