Weekly Community Examen

Campus Ministry and the Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality have teamed up to offer an examen for our community each week. This invitation is an opportunity to go deeper into a shared text and consider how our mission and Jesuit values guide our work together here at Fairfield and beyond. Each week, a different member of the Campus Ministry or Murphy Center staff will provide a text for us. Video of the reflection can be found on our Instagram and Facebook pages.

From Imam Kemal Cecunjanin, Muslim Chaplain 

Satisfying the Soul

Humans are composed of spirits and bodies. Nourishing both elements is necessary for a healthy existence. However, the greater effort must be placed on the inner needs of man, which are deeper and more significant. The unseen world, that many reject, is no hidden thing. Love, happiness, faith, and the intellect are not grasped by the human eye and are never achieved through material means.

We are constantly taught to love the world on both conscious and unconscious levels. Advertisements bombard us promising happiness through consumption or some other material experience. Home magazines with happy models, posing in perfect homes, led us to believe this produces contentment. Travel advertisements suggest that visiting exotic places and consuming their foods and drinks will leave a lasting pleasure. “Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet: Women and sons; heaped-up hordes of gold and silver; horses branded; and (the wealth of) cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the possessions of this world's life; but in nearness to God is the best of goals.” (Quran 3:14) The truth is that love of the world distracts us from our greatest objective, embracement of God.

The common belief is that having more of the world and following one’s desires is the key to happiness. Success is measured on the scales of material gain and we are taught to admire and even be like those who have more of the world. The truth is that those who are given the world and its pleasures are eventually exhausted and often find that inwardly there is a void. Chaos, depression and hopelessness are the outcome when the wealth that could not nourish our deepest spiritual needs fails and the absence of God overcomes us.

The absence of God for the heart is like the absence of water for the body. Spiritual neglect leads to spiritual suffering. The soul needs God and His remembrance and for this reason religion is necessary. It serves the inner needs of people. Happiness, content, peace, and the other states that we strive for are only achieved through spiritualty. “Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of God: for without doubt in the remembrance of God do hearts find satisfaction” (Quran 13:28). Direct experience of God through meditation and remembrance is precisely what the soul was created for. “I have not created jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Quran 51:56) When we deprive the soul of experiencing God we miss the purpose of our existence and remain unsatisfied.

For more information, contact Kathleen Byrnes / 2032454000 / kbyrnes@fairfield.edu