Fr. James Kubicki, SJ
INTERVIEW WITH WILL HUDSON
Q: What attracts you to this ministry?
A: I want to share
the joy of Jesus with young people.
Jesus has given me such joy, and I have known many others who also live
in the joy of Jesus. Yet when you look at the young people in our secular
culture, so many are unhappy, afraid, lonely, and without purpose. I believe
every heart aches to be loved—infinitely. Jesus is the source of all love,
goodness, truth, and beauty. I want young people to know Jesus Christ.
Q: Did you come to Jesus when you were young?
A: I grew up in a Catholic family in Pittsburg,
Kansas, the youngest of four children. I went to Catholic schools. My general
sense of being Catholic was that if you do good, you will go to heaven, and if
you do bad, you will go to hell. A loving relationship with God would have been
something unfamiliar to me, so I didn’t take my faith too seriously. God really
got my attention when I was in ninth grade. I had been invited to join an evening
rosary group. I remember standing at my locker thinking that the group was
bound to be boring or a waste of time. Then I realized that I needed to make a
choice right now for God. So I committed to the rosary group. Strangely, the
decision seemed bigger than simply agreeing to attend a prayer group once a
week. Somehow, I felt I had committed myself to God. It was the first time I
had said yes to Jesus!
Q: I know you love Scripture and talk about Scripture in
your blog and your talks. Where did you get that love of the Word of God?
A: As a high school
senior I took a theology course. The
teacher, a priest, devoted one day a week to prayer in its different forms. One
day he introduced us to lectio divina,
an ancient Christian practice that incorporates prayer into sacred reading. As
I prayed this way I felt that I actually encountered God through Scripture. I began
to practice this form of prayer 30 minutes a day.
Q: Do you still pray with Scripture 30 minutes a day?
A: Not exactly. I
still try to pray for at least 30 minutes every day, but I’d say I’m a little
freer in my prayer life now. I still pray often with Scripture, but I also
enjoy just being with God and speaking to him about whatever is on my heart. It
is a great joy for me to be in the presence of God, receiving His love and
offering myself to him.
Q: As you know, much of our ministry to young adults is
based on Jesuit or Ignatian spirituality. The whole idea of making an offering
of one’s self to God is in fact a key part of the teaching of St. Ignatius
Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. How familiar are you with Ignatian
A: In high school and
college I learned to practice the discernment of spirits taught by St.
Ignatius. It’s a very helpful principle for a young person because our world
presents so many confusing messages. It can be hard to tell which voice is
God’s voice. I love to explain discernment of spirits to teenagers and young
Q: You attended a Jesuit college as a graduate student. Were
you exposed to Ignatian spirituality there?
A: Yes. I had a
Jesuit priest as my spiritual director, Fr. Casey Beaumier, SJ. He led me into
a profound understanding of my own identity as a beloved son of the Father.
When that identity is established, everything else falls into place. That’s
something I long to share with others.
Later I went on
pilgrimage to Europe with Fr. Casey and about 20 others. We traveled in the footsteps of Ignatius
Loyola, visiting sites like Loyola, Manresa, Barcelona, and Rome. I began to
understand Ignatius’ life and teachings, including his first principle and
foundation, the two standards, the examen, and his devotion to the Blessed
Q: Do you expect to use your understanding of Ignatian
spirituality in your work at the Apostleship of Prayer?
A: Constantly! These
things are a big part of what I want to share with young people. But more than
that—I want to hear what young people have to say to me. I like to hear their
thoughts and ideas. I feel they have much to teach me.