Patrick J. Shaules had been a Jesuit for nearly fifty years when by the grace of God I, barely forty years young, met him for the first time in the early 1990s. He was already then made of the stuff perhaps best described as ‘the most refined grit’ one is likely ever to come across.
At the 60th anniversary of his entry into the Company of Jesus (as the Society is known to most of the world), already in his mid-eighties, he was still spry, even able during the ceremony to jump unexpectedly down from a three- or four-foot stage platform, in order to advance the malfunctioning slide projector — to ‘get along with’ showing his assembled friends photos of his life, most of it spent in the China Mission.
“Come on, get along with it”, I can almost hear him say even today in his deep, steady, habitually-recollected voice. “Let’s fix the thing in order to accomplish what we’re here for.”
He was “a man ‘of’ purpose”, not so much ‘with’ a purpose. He was all-consumed with doing the will of the One Who had willed to love him first, by calling him into existence, and then calling him to His service in that soldiers’ corps par excellence of the Church Militant: the very name of which can to this day strike holy (or unholy) fear in the hearts who would dare oppose God’s Church: the Jesuits.
What was his ‘secret’?
Fidelity first to the rule of St. Ignatius, but above all to the grace of Jesus Christ, His Captain, King & God. If within five minutes of meeting him the first time Father Patrick didn’t use words to give his interlocutor an hint of that fidelity, any attentive observer could tell within ten that he was a man of deep habit just by the naturalness with which he carried his massive frame: the faithful discipline (following) of a life bent on virtue.
About twenty years ago, after a conversation in which I must have whined about feeling overwhelmed one too many times even for this giant of a man-saint to bear, he mailed me the following Mottos to live by. They’ve hung before me, above my desk, for as long by way of a daily reminder — and the ever-needed re-charge of spiritual energy.
Life in Christ should not be too complicated, I remembering him saying, since God is simplicity Himself. And, he might add, we — sheep — tend to be such simpletons to boot. Father wrote the mottos on a single page of single-spaced typed-written lines below which he etched a single line in his own unassuming hand, “These I picked up along the way.”
They show us The Way, alright. One day to be reunited with Father Patrick in heaven, please God.
You might wish to frame them yourself.
MOTTOS TO LIVE BY.
– Do what you have to do.
– A.M.D.G. – Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. Do what gives God greater glory.
– Age quod agis. (Focus on what you are doing. One thing at a time.)
– Don’t feel sorry for yourself. (No Matter how you feel. Frustrated, but never depressed.)
– Count your blessings. You are lucky to be here.
– Go to the horses mouth. e.g. IRS, Bishop.
– You are not important, I am not important. GOD’S WORK IS.
– Not my will but Thine be done. (Abandonment. Self Surrender.) You are on standby for anything God calls you to at any time.
– Don’t be afraid of the pain.
– Agere contra, don’t live for this world; treasure in heaven.
– Don’t worry or think what people will say about you. If you only knew how little they are thinking about you, you wouldn’t worry about what they are thinking.
– The truth will make you free. Honesty is the best policy.
– Know how to do without, and how to deal with plenty.
– Will any souls be lost because of this?
– Don’t let yourself be blackmailed. Be willing to take the consequences.
– Our hearts were made for Thee, O Lord. Never lonely. We don’t need any other love. We don’t need anything or anyone but him. Only He can satisfy our hearts.
– First things first. Don’t cut in on the work of obedience to do other good work. Stick to your priority.
– Use your head before you decide by prayer. (Check by the four cardinal virtues.)
– Work as though all depends on you; pray knowing that all depends on God.
– Don’t ask God to do what you can do. Then ask him to do what is beyond you. (Actually he is with you all the way.)
– God brings good out of evil — even from our past sins and mistakes. (Thus, humility, love, and wisdom.)
– Don’t pout. When offended let the person know in a nice way.
– Don’t set your heart on getting certain things done and then rush to finish them. Stay loose. Only God’s will.
– Purity of intention. It is easier to act purely for God when we are doing what is disagreeable to us.
– Agere contra. Go against nature.
– Contemplative in action. Everything becomes a prayer.
“GET BEHIND ME, SATAN!”
– “Don’t be holier than the Society. Take what the Society gives.”
– “There is no sin in it. The rules don’t bind under sin.”
– “Don’t give me that pious talk. You are not in the novitiate now.”
– “Charity is more important.” (e.g., than keeping the rules.)
– “You have to distinguish between essentials and accidentals.”
These I picked up along the way.
/s/ Fr. Pat
Patrick J. Shaules, S.J.
Requiescat in pace!