|Fr. Daniel A. Lord, S.J.|
Yet I, as a Jesuit, out of a pleasant experience of nearly twenty years, venture to speak of the Society that shelters me. I have been very happy in the Society, and I think it has done and is doing astonishingly fine work. I’m past the first youthful period of enthusiasm, for forty years are about to fall on my graying head, and almost twenty years of life in the Society lie behind me. Each year of my life has made me love the Society a little more, and has bound me just a little closer to my fellow Jesuits. I am uninteresting, for the simple fact that I am content; only the turbulent and rebellious are really interesting, it seems. I am truly and honestly happy in my life, and I can fancy no other life that would give me half the mental contentment I find in the Society. I have been offered opportunities at which men in other professions would jump; I prefer what I have to anything anyone could offer me.
So why should not I who am happy speak my happiness as freely as the discontented speak their discontent? Why should not I speak of the satisfaction I find in the Society, when some few who have left it speak so loudly of their dissatisfaction? Happiness need not be silent because unhappiness is so vocal. If the thousands of happy, contented Jesuits do not speak when a former associate tells of the not surprising causes that led him to take off his cassock, it is perhaps because a “happy country has no history,” and a normal Jesuit takes his happiness so much for granted that he never thinks that it might make interesting news. He is a little afraid that it is not quite decent to parade before the world what he considers to be God’s best gift.
Everywhere, if you come to think of it, the discontented man is the one with the loud voice and the strident complaint. The happily married do not find their way into the newspapers, nor does the successful banker protest that he has a good bank. The happy and the successful are usually too busy enjoying their happiness to talk much about it.