Superior General Of The Jesuits Visits
St. Ignatius Church
Fr. Arturo Sosa, 36th and present Superior General of the Society of Jesus graced us with his presence twice! –on July 30 for a talk on “Mission and Collaboration for Jesuits Today” and on July 31 as Main Celebrant in the Mass commemorating the Solemnity of St. Ignatius of Loyola and receiving the Perpetual Vows of two Japanese Jesuits, Fr. Jun Nakai and Fr. Kiyoshi Shibata.
To an overflowing crowd in the Main Church, he spoke of the Jesuits’ four Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP ) for the next ten years (2019-2029), namely:
- To show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and Discernment
- To walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated in a mission of reconciliation and justice
- To accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future, and
- To Collaborate in the Care of our Common Home. The Preferences are vital orientations for all Jesuit apostolates, including our own St. Ignatius Church. They are NOT something to do but an inspiration of how to do. It is a mission received by the Society from the Holy Father, a confirmation of the identity of the Jesuits as servers of the mission of Christ all over the world. Furthermore, each UAP has three dimensions: An attentive look to the context, a direction to move on to change, and a call to evaluate the way of proceeding.
Speaking of Collaboration and referring to the Society, he pointed out
When the Mission is fully shared with lay and religious partners, we find grace, vision, creativity and abundant help. We need to be sure these partners in mission are included as we pray together, share spiritual conversation and listen to the cries of the Preferences in our local contexts. A spirit of collaboration must inspire every stage of implementation right from the start.”
The Eucharistic Celebration the next day drew an even larger crowd - Jesuits, diocesan clergy including some Bishops, religious and a multi-cultural crowd. In his greetings, Fr. Sosa said, “This is a special day for all Jesuits and for you, our partners in mission, with whom we try our best to serve the Church. This feast is very much yours as it is ours.”
In his homily, he invited us to reflect on three key words – fire, foundation, and fidelity as inspired by the Readings.
(see Jeremiah 20:7-9) speaks about how God comes into our heart. It begins with a seduction, the awakening of a desire for God. It is the experience of St. Ignatius when he encountered the Lord. It was a falling in love that was so overwhelming and so complete, capturing his heart totally. From the time of conversion he never turned back. It was like fire burning in his heart. The same experience was true of St. Francis Xavier. It is the fire of the love of Christ that he also felt when he did the Spiritual Exercises, guided by St. Ignatius himself. It is the same fire with which, legend has it, St. Ignatius sent Xavier to the East, saying “Ite, inflammate omnia” (Go, set the world on fire!).
refers to the key and pivotal principle by which the followers of St. Ignatius are to be guided. This is captured in his motto, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (For the Greater Glory of God). This echoes the words of St. Paul (1Cor. 10:31~11:1): “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” Ignatius always sought the greater glory of God. It is the foundation on which he built the Society of Jesus, and through it, a whole network of friends and partners in mission has been energized.
is the demand of discipleship (see Luke 14:25-33). “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” What is important to remember is that carrying one’s cross and leaving everything behind is not a single act. It is an effort made each day of a disciple’s life. Success does not always come. We face failures. At times there is boredom or we feel unfulfilled or laden with so many problems. Through all these, the disciple is challenged to be faithful, to stick it out, to not give up.
Fr. Sosa ended his homily by saying to all present, and especially addressing the two Jesuits who made their Perpetual Vows, “Let us pray that we may not lose fire, that we may always be faithful, that we may give glory to God.” He also prayed for the Jesuits in Japan, for all the works that are being done, and for all of who are partners in mission. “With St. Ignatius, we turn to Our Lady of the Way, to show us how best to follow her Son, and dedicate ourselves always to the Father, and to all people whom we are called to love.”
By Sr. Flor M. Florece, F.I.