John Lan Tran, SJ
Father John Lan Tran, SJ, is celebrating 25 years as a Jesuit.
He is currently on staff as a retreat director at Jesuit Spirituality Center in Grand Coteau, La.
Born in Vietnam, Fr. Tran came to the U.S. as a teenager and grew up in Kansas City, Mo. In college, he studied physics and computer science. He later worked in environmental research and database programming.
In 1997, Fr. Tran joined the Jesuits. Since becoming a priest in 2008, Fr. Tran has worked as pastoral director at St. Louis University High School, as director of mission and identity at St. John’s College in Belize City, Belize and as retreat director at Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas, Texas. In addition, Fr. Tran has been the National Ecclesiastical Assistant (chaplain) to the Christian Life Community in the U.S. from 2017 to 2019.
In his spare time, Fr. Tran enjoys reading historical novels, taking photographs and fixing computers and other electronic equipment.
Father Tran’s Reflection on 25 Years as a Jesuit:
The Full Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Neibuh
God, grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change…
Courage to change the things I can,
And Wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
Many of us who celebrate our 25 years as Jesuits are in our early fifties. Hopefully, age comes with wisdom, maturity, and serenity.
Physically, being in our fifties comes with the acceptance of our feebleness and fragility. For people who have medical conditions like me, age reminds us of our mortality, and thus, the need to treasure each moment of life. For me, Neibuh’s “Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace” means the gift of peace comes with the embracing of suffering as part of life.
Spiritually, celebrating 25 years as a Jesuit also involves a deeper trust in God. Through both the ups and downs, hardships and joys, achieving and failing, slowly I have struggled to let go of my need to control, to have my way, and to be more at peace with life, vocation and faith. Here, Neibuh’s Serenity Prayer echoes St. Paul’s reflection on love in 1 Corinthians 13 (“Love is patience … “), which invites us to love like Christ.
In short, for me this jubilee celebration invites a deeper maturity, that is, growing in God.