This month, Magis features Jesuit-educated alumnus Greg Forkins, (Boston College 2010, Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest 2010-11) who recently presented at Magis' Making a Living, Making a Difference dinner. Greg has been an active participant of Magis programs, and as he puts it "the Magis program has been a true blessing which keeps me connected not only with the mission of Jesuit education, but with other Jesuit educated alumni who are also seeking the same thing." Here is a short reflection that Greg shared with us about the impact of his Jesuit education in his everyday life:
Jesuit education has affected my life in more ways than I can count. Some examples are more obvious than others: I moved to Seattle for JVC and never left. So every day that I wake up out here, I am reminded of how my life has taken a different trajectory than what I expected before going to Boston College… before I even knew what a Jesuit was. More than anything, though, Jesuit education has impacted me on an internal, spiritual level. It has shown me the importance of magis—that is, to strive to be more filled with God, who is love, and to live for the greater glory of God.
This became increasingly difficult, however, once I was no longer spending long hours volunteering in college or serving as a JV. Working full-time at a job that isn't centered on social justice or providing for those living on the margins, I struggled for a while with finding any sort of spiritual fulfillment at work. It seemed easy to find God when so much of my time was volunteering at school or JVC. Now that I am no longer in the same scenario, however, I have been forced to be creative in how I can live out Jesuit values in my professional life.
I currently work for a credit union, doing basically what a personal banker would do – from opening up people's accounts, working on retirement plans, helping small businesses get set up, creating personal and business loans – basically whatever people ask me to do when they sit at my desk. As a social person, I love that I get to interact with people all day long. What I don't love, however, is that I'm no longer doing direct service with those less fortunate than myself. For a long time I was struggling to find God in my work, and it was an extended period of spiritual desolation. How could I spin something as trivial as opening up a bank account, and say that it was for the greater glory of God?
After much prayer and reflection, however, I have slowly started to realize that there are plenty of ways that God is present in my work. I am blessed in that I have the unique opportunity to interact with many people each day, even if just for a minute or two. What a better place to find God than in other people, who are each individual masterpieces of God's divine love? And not only do I get to see God in all those I interact with, but I have the wonderful opportunity to share God's love with them as well. Recently, my primary focus at work has not been to perform each banking transaction properly (although that is still important). Rather, my top priority is to share at least a little bit of light, a little bit of love – and thus, a little bit of God – with every person I encounter.
While I know that I won't have this job forever, the fact of the matter is that I have it now. And I have the wonderful duty to try to bring glory to God through it. For that is our mission – not just as Jesuit educated alumni – but as human beings, as creations of God. We are all called live for the greater glory of God, to have our hearts filled with love and to share that love with the world. May we all find out how we can do that in our everyday lives – even if everyday life is just opening up bank accounts!