Seen and Unseen Worlds: Private Memoirs of a Former Jesuit

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9780761862734: Seen and Unseen Worlds: Private Memoirs of a Former Jesuit

Since 451 A.D., at the Council of Chalcedon, Christians have prayed a credo—a short summary of their belief—during Mass which begins: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth and of all things seen and unseen.” With that belief, they see the unseen: God, His Blessed Mother, the Angels, the Saints, and Satan, the fallen Archangel. This touching memoir asserts the fact that we live in two different worlds—the ever-changing one we see with our human eyes and the ever-constant one we see with our eyes of faith. Seen and Unseen Worlds: Private Memoirs of a Former Jesuit is a very human introduction to living faith by a young man who was part of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) for nearly twelve years. The book culminates with Murray’s decision to leave the Society in 1956. This book is for people of all religions and ages because it deals with life, destiny, the world we know, and the world we cannot yet know.

Click here to see a presentation by the author on October 2, 2012, at Lynn University in Boca Raton.

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From the Author:

May 31, 2012 - The highly anticipated and private memoirs of a former Jesuit, "Seen and Unseen Worlds," was officially released today by Hamilton Books. It offers an extremely rare journey back in time to a Medieval-like way of life from 1945-1956 behind the invisible walls of the most influential religious Order in history, The Society of Jesus. Its author, Dick Murray, who left the Order after 12 years, relies on detailed journals and letters home his family saved and he discovered almost 50 years later. They vividly portray his mysterious, scholarly and religious past. It was a life full of both the angelic and demonic. One particular manifestation of diabolic evil will chill the reader to the bone.
     
His book focuses on the ebullient Jesuit war cry, "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam" (for the Greater Glory of God), and the secrets of Jesuit success and influence throughout the world.  With their feet planted firmly on Main Street and their minds focused on being "men for others," Jesuits have always striven to learn and teach by intellect and will, and by sharing the presence of God and the glory of His love with everyone they meet. All this continues despite the slimy opposition of an apparently unseen fallen angel, the Devil himself, the "dragon" of The Apocalypse, who appears prominently in this book.

There is history, humor, life, death, shock, pain, and life-changing decision-making in these pages. The most difficult act for the author was to request a release from his vows. Now, many years later, he encourages his readers to make the most of what they see both in this world with their sight and in the unseen world with their faith.
"Seen and Unseen Worlds" demonstrates that a new Jesuit in training in 1945 was immediately time-transported for two years into a nearly Medieval and almost completely monastic culture. 

Consider the pressing emphasis on Latin as an example. There was Latin for daily Mass, and Latin for conversation during times of silence. A novice's new 455 page prayer book, his "Liber Devotionum," was mainly in Latin. His "Missale Romanum" (the Mass Missal) was in Latin. He accepted bodily mortifications that took the forms of a waist chain with sharply irritating points and self-flagellations with hand whips. He spent long hours on his knees. Systematic contradictions abounded. The Novice had to learn to close his eyes, as it were, to see and to close his ears to hear. He quickly understood that believing was as hard as learning. Faith became for him as St. Paul defined it: "...that which gives substance to our hopes, which convinces us of things we cannot see."

Then, after the first two years when he made his vows and placed "S.J." after his name, the author combined intense Ignatian spirituality as a Jesuit with intense academic studies as a scholar. It was a sacred life the author is grateful for even to this day. His companionship with Jesuit saints and scholars cannot be adequately described. Leaving them behind was painful, but those heroes still live with him in happy memory and devoted prayer.    

Enjoy.

About the Author:

J. Richard Murray entered religious life in the Society of Jesus at Milford Novitiate, Ohio, on February 10, 1945. He received a bachelor’s degree in Latin and Greek and a master’s degree in English from Loyola University of Chicago. He earned a Ph.L. degree from West Baden College in West Baden Springs, Indiana. As a Jesuit Scholastic, Murray taught in Jesuit high schools for four years. When he later returned to West Baden College to study sacred theology, he requested and received a release from his vows. Murray voluntarily left the Society on December 1, 1956.

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