Pedro Arrupe and Perpetual Call

Pedro Arrupe, former Superior General of the Jesuits, wrote a great deal about vocation and mission. In one writing he speaks of Christ’s call as manifested in the Call of the King meditation in the Spiritual Exercises.

Pedro Arrupe at prayer“Each one of us, at one time or another, has heard that call,” Arrupe says. “Each has come to realize that, in responding to it, he is fulfilling a mission and thus giving to his life a depth of meaning which is both human and divine.”

I began recalling my own experience of call during the Spiritual Exercises and how at that time I felt God calling me to religious life. But I ended up leaving the Jesuits to pursue the vocation of marriage. Did I stop following that call I received on my retreat? In the spirit of Arrupe’s understanding, no. My response on my retreat was a commitment to follow Christ no matter what, and though the context of that has changed a bit, my commitment to that call has not.

This is the beauty of call: it’s perpetual and endless, even though our situation and context might change. Arrupe suggests that when we respond to God’s call our life becomes part of the dialogue among the persons of the Trinity. And dialogue is ever-flowing and adapting, just as our life’s movements and purpose adapt and deepen.

The call of Christ is first and foremost to follow. How precisely that’s done can change with time, context, and the discovery of new talents and loves. I think Arrupe understood this idea of call as that perpetual Trinitarian dialogue—never static—giving way to that deep life-meaning.


  1. Out of so many doorstep calling me to come in, this is the most beautiful thing that I wanted to experience. Once again coming back to my iggy prayer is a way in finding and experiencing God, the God highly to be praised, all the time and all the while… This is just what our Bible master lately taught us, ” if God would call you to come and follow me, would you still say, wait?” etc. This is it, and the call, and for me to follow where i will be lead to my highest end; to know him, to serve him, to love him, and to the end follow him. Thank you iggy.

  2. I like that you show respect toward all callings. This was something, I think, that was not done way back when I was younger. I love the idea of being human first and finding a call within that humanity, warts and all. As we are unique, so individual is each call.

  3. Great article. Reading it encouraged me to follow that call by developing two Ignatian Spirituality programs for my parish that is staffed by diocesan priests. We will offer a program this fall on Pope Francis and the Ignatian and Franciscan influences that shape his life and ministry. We will also offer a monthly small faith sharing group using Ignatian Spirituality principles and processes. I was considering these projects but not yet committed to the work. After reading the article I talked with our pastor and parish staff about doing this service. They agreed that the service will benefit our parish and will sponsor the work. So, Andy, your article moved me from contemplation to action. Thanks for helping me hear the call and get to work. 🙂

  4. Yes, it is always about our commitment to follow Christ and our lives enter into that dialogue with the Trinity – what a beautiful thought. Pedro Arrupe has such an insightful way of expressing ideas. How blessed we are! Thank you for this reflection.

  5. Hai ragione, Linda. You’re absolutely right! Still, it would have been better if it was always nice and quiet everywhere…

      • Actually Joanna I woke up one day spiritually,and realized that the peace I would feel in one house or another had nothing to do with its ambience. It was not part of the house. It was within me. That changed everything.
        Way back from that day four hundred years ago when I was at the ripe old age of four and sat on my Nonna’s stoop and watched the way the trees met the sky. That joy and peace followed me across the decades and that day sitting in my boyfriend’s living room it found me.

  6. It’s just that it’s so difficult to hear God’s voice in this chaotic world, I’m not even a Catholic (I’m Lutheran) but I work for a convent school and spend most of my work hours with sisters inside a convent…when I’m there I can pray but outside someone’s always tugging at me, getting angry because I’m not fast enough…Mind you, I’m not saying that being married is less of a call, just that outside it’s so hard not to get distracted…

    • I wonder who or what tugs at an individual and tells us it’s time to get angry? I get that all the time being Italian and all and find it is usually the flesh (ego) or raspy voice we do NOT want to be listening to. I just say Lord if that’s your voice amp it up and if it’s not then get it out of my head because I do not want that in here.

  7. Thanks for sharing. All life, really, is a vocation. Married, religious, cleric – regardless, we are all offered a path to follow and the grace necessary to stay on track.


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