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he Damascus Road

By Daniel Corrou, SJ

Dan Corrou, SJ, with the Port of Sidon in southern Lebanon in the background

The certainty that comes from conversion, from clinging to God in love, is about what will happen. God will continue to love. — Dan Corrou, SJ


Last January, it was decided that I would spend my regency in Damascus, Syria, studying Arabic and working with the Jesuit Refugee Service. As political movements spread from Tunisia to Egypt, Libya, the Gulf, and then to Syria, my regency plans changed. Instead, I would study Arabic in Lebanon and live with scholastics and priests of the Université St. Joseph Jesuit community. Damascus enters my thoughts every morning when I walk to my Arabic classes along the “Rue Damas.” I like to think that it becomes my very own Road to Damascus, without the blinding conversion experience of St. Paul. St. Paul describes his conversion with simplicity. In his letters, there is

no cosmic light and booming voice as in the Acts of the Apostles. There is a certainty in Paul that the direction of his life before the conversion was an illusion and that his new direction, toward Christ, allows him to see reality. This is the daily conversion for which we all pray, that we might forget “what lies behind,” and instead strain “forward to what lies ahead” (Phil 1:13) so that we might realize our true freedom by yearning for God — just as God has so yearned for us. Jesuits live out this call to conversion in thousands of different ways. I am part of a long tradition of American Jesuits who have been called to live out this conversion by working in the Middle

Jesuits Magazine Spring 2012  

Jesuits Magazine from the New England, New York, and Maryland provinces.