October 23, 2009
William J. Bichsel S.J.
A provincial writes a lot of letters missioning Jesuits to do the work of God. This is one of the hardest I've written, but also one that seems clearly blessed and confirmed by God.
I have told you that I see your role in our province as a prophet – called by God to proclaim a message of peace. Prophets are never appreciated by everyone. Their message is often painful and difficult to hear. Certainly that has been your experience. You have suffered scorn, indignities, and even prison for the message you have proclaimed. Now you find what God is calling you toward may result in more of the same.
We had thought that perhaps your days of protest were over, and that you might be able to live the remainder of your life with some rest from civil disobedience. But in Nagasaki you once again heard God calling you into action. I know you have listened hard to that call, praying and discerning for over a year to make sure it truly was from God. Now there is no doubt.
And so I mission you to hear and respond to what is in that deepest part of your heart. On November 2 nd , the Feast of All Souls, you will return to the Trident Submarine Base at Bangor, Washington, to take part in what will happen there. Go with my blessing and my prayers, Bill. And know that you carry with you the prayers and blessing of the Oregon Province .
I will also pray that your life as a prophet and a witness to peace will be an inspiration to younger Jesuits who may be hearing God's still distant, disturbing call to prophecy against the violence and war.
May God bless your desires, and give you the courage, the strength and the abundant grace to fulfill them.
Patrick J. Lee S.J.
Disarm Now Plowshares main page