Pope Francis at the General Congregation of the Jesuits: a historic event

161024_gc36_pope_francis_visit_ie_1-750x420-1The petrine ministry of a Jesuit: a positive challenge for the Society

The Pope entered naturally like a Jesuit father among others.  But his white cassock marked a visible difference.  But it did not take away the perception that there is a deep bond between us and him.  We began by praying.

A historic event: this was the encounter of General Congregation of the Jesuits with Pope Francis.  The first to be aware of this event was precisely Father General Arturo Sosa who asked the Jesuits to prepare themselves spiritually for this encounter.  It’s never happened that there was a Jesuit Pontiff intervuenes at a General Congregation of the Jesuits.  His discourse then assumes for the Society a truly strong, special value.  But, even before his discourse, it is the presence of the Pope itself to have an extremely meaningful value, also for its unusual modality: an audience in the Hall of the Congregation itself which lasted for hours of free and spontaneous encounter in an open and relaxed climate, as perhaps had not happened for a long time.

The Society is taking greater awareness that the petrine ministry is today carried out by a person formed in its womb and its spirituality, that of discernment.  Many characteristics of the current pontificate, moreover, are understandable in their roots only by considering the spirituality in which the Pontiff grew humanly and spiritually.  Therefore, Francis represents a positive challenge for the Society, and a specific incentive of prayer, reflection and assumption of responsibility. 

Pope Francis visits delegates of General Congregation 36.
Pope Francis visits delegates of General Congregation 36.

A “blurred” portrait of the Society of Jesus

The Pope began his discourse by painting a portrait of the Society.  That it is not a “still life” but a multifaceted framework and in motion.  The Society itself—he said—is “in progress”, in becoming.  This makes it flexible, freely elastic.  He immediately framed it—also in the light of his predecessor’s statements—in journey as free and obedient people.  And you walk only if you truly get down on the street.  The Society cannot balconear, as he once said:  you cannot look at reality from a balcony, study it, analyze it and, still from the balcony, sentence it.  We must enter inside it, stay at the crossroads of history, at the social front lines, there where there is the «confrontation between the deepest desires of the human person and the perennial message of the Gospel», as Pope Paul VI said.  Reflection, contemplation and action are always together if we do not want to be ideological.

Not fixed objectives but mobile horizons

But it is not enough to walk.   Where must you go?   In his discourse to the Congregation, Francis implicitly warned us about holding too many clear and distinct objectives as in business planning.  The horizon that orients the journey is the Glory of God who is always greater, he said.  That is: the Society must walk having before itself a horizon that changes continually and enlarges.  The portrait of the Society painted by the Pope is then dynamic, «incomplete» in itself and «open».  The Jesuits are called not to «reach objectives» like in a shooting gallery, but to walk, evangelically accompanying the processes in which human beings are involved and having as a horizon line the glory of God.  Accompanying horizons not conquering spaces.   It is, in essence, walking with the Lord Jesus:  we are called to walk with him and to go where he goes.  And at times we don’t even know where he is going.  We discover it by walking, ready to change direction, moves and methods with him.  Only if the Society walks with Jesus towards the horizon is it able to understand itself.  The Society is mobile.  This is why for the Jesuit, any place in the world is home.  If it is not he becomes «functionalist» and rigid: he is tangled,  that is he begins to concentrate turning round and round himself but at the end uselessly.

Only one «priority»: discernment

This walking however is a journey neither comfortable nor solitary.  It is not a journey to find oneself, not even for one’s own personal salvation.  Francis tells us that to walk in Ignatius’ words means first of all «to labour strenuously in giving aid toward the salvation and perfection of the souls of their neighbours” (General Examen, I, 2). The Pope seems to favor the original «Formula of the Institute», that of Paul III of 1540, Regimini militanti Ecclesiae, that puts as the focus before the Society that of concerning itself «in the progress of souls in life and in Christian doctrine».  Therefore, the Pope doesn’t entrust to the Society objectives or preferences if they are not for the «progress of souls».  He does not provide lists of works to be carried out or objectives to reach or territories to «conquer».  Rather he simply says that the Society «is where it needs to be».  Although with prophetic and diplomatic audacity.  And where is that?  The answer is that the content of the mission is the fruit of a continuous discernment and always in development.  The center remains the «Formula of the Institute»:  the rest belongs to history, to becoming, to the circumstances.  The Society lives and must live tensions, it is restless.  Francis wants to touch the beating heart, the hot and powerful core of the Society’s charism, the «Formula» exactly:  he removes the layers that protect it and he shows the Jesuits the essentials to remember.  The Pope speaks of a return to the heart, or rather of a «fire».  And he quotes one of the first Jesuits, Fr. Jeronimo Nadal, who said: «The Society is fervor» derived from the Latin fervor, that is «boiling».


Three ways of taking steps forward

This much said, the Pope provides as well three «ways of proceeding» for the mission that he summarizes in three words: «consolation», «compassion» and «feeling with the Church».  The expression used by Francis is of note: podemos dar un pasito adelante that is «we can take a step forward».  It is not the invitation to take the «long jump», but to take a step at a time, one after the other.  But always adelante, forward.   There is a progress to which we are always called, and that is to do with humility and decision.  Here’s the three ways:

  1. Consolation. We live in a wounded world and the Jesuit is also a wounded man.  The world is often moved by fear and reacts lending an ear to the desolations and fears.  For Francis only if we experience the restoring strength of consolation in the heart of our wounds—both as people and as the Society—can we wake up from our torpor, walking and helping others.   Then we must ask for consolation—the Pope says—«insistently».  The usual state of the Jesuit must be consolation.  This is the experience Francis invites us to make, then: to let ourselves be consoled by God and to live our ministry as a minister of consolation bringing into the world reconciliation, justice, mercy.  And in this Francis himself was a model speaking in his higher magisterial texts of guadium, laudation, and laetitia, that are synonyms of consolation for him.  And he adds: for the Pope «the nearest human attitude to God’s grace is humor».
  1. Compassion. The Pope asks us to let ourselves by moved by the crucified Lord and standing at the foot of the cross to feel ourselves loved by him.  This is the experience that leads us to be sensitive to the pain of humanity, to experience compassion.   «Where there is pain, there the Society is» said Father Arrupe.  Only if we experience the healing strength of the compassion of Jesus crucified can we be healed and heal others.  This pushes us to commitment for justice and to be with the poor and for their part.
  1. Discernment «feeling» with the Church. The Pope asks us to proceed doing our discernment «feeling with the Church», our Mother.  There are many ways to reform the Church, but some of these ways are anti-ecclesial, fruit of the «bad spirit».  Instead, Francis says that it is not enough to reform the Church because it would be an ideological operation and therefore «clerical».  We need to do it with the «good spirit», fruit of discernment, in an «ecclesial» manner.   The Jesuit must be within the Church that lives in history not that of our utopias and our desires.  And at times that involves even making us carry our cross and experience humiliation.  We also need to listen to all the criticisms, even those that are malicious, and to discern.  We must never close doors.  This is not to justify questionable positions, but to leave the space open to what the Spirit is doing or what he will do in his time.  The Jesuit acts within the Church trusting the action of the Spirit within it.

Companions in journey….

At the end of this discourse, Francis turns to Mary with the appellation of «Our Lady of the Street».  The Society is not only a group of men with the same ideals, but a group of friends who are on the street in journey with Jesus, a step at a time.

At the end of our encounter, the words of a letter of Ignatius on the occasion of the election of the Pontiff Marcello in April 1555 came to mind: «To Our Lord God, who wanted to give to his Church such a leader, please increase in him a great spirit, as it is necessary in so high a ministry».


(translation by Reyanna Rice from the original text

Who are the Jesuits?  Between tensions and militancy

12662677_10153857833672508_8503738987257899039_n-740x493The 36th General Congregation of the Jesuits is under way in Rome.  This assembly is the summit of the organizational structure of the Society of Jesus, and is composed of all the Provincials in charge and delegates from every religious province.  The Congregation has elected the new Father General, Fr. Arturo Sosa.  The other great task of the Congregation is to reflect on the life and mission of the Society in light of the «signs of the times».  The history of the Society is not a history of abstract ideas, but of people immersed, for their mission, in the world.  Therefore, the Society must read reality with discernment and understand how God moves in it and what he asks of us today for the «progress of souls».  The 36th General Congregation is also the first to go on under a Pontiff who is a member of the same Order, who lives a special bond of obedience to the «successor of Peter and vicar of Christ on earth», as St Ignatius usually called him.

14590462_10154502517587508_6805479485441573727_nBut who are the Jesuits?  Any historic experience that involves human beings is difficult to define because it is rich in life experienced.   It is difficult, then, to talk in abstract terms about what a “society” of men is that, for almost 500 years, moves in the world with a common spirituality, but with many differences of culture, language, and origins among them.  It is, first of all, a group of men: men who feel called to live a common venture because they have had a profound spiritual experience.  This experience has moved them to concern themselves with two fundamental things: the «propagation of the faith» and the «progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine», as stated in the «formula of the Institute» approved for the first time by Paul IV in 1540.

In advancing its mission, the Society has not expressed a negative militancy as if it must combat an enemy or oppose a world perceived as irredeemably marked by evil.  Suspicion and mistrust have never prevailed in the Society.  To the contrary, since the beginning, where the Jesuits are found—both in Europe and in the missions—they have had a fertile relationship with cultures, even learning the languages and appreciating humanism, especially with their pedagogy.  The motto that has guided them is that of Ignatius:  «seeking God in all things».

14568002_10154497774367508_874007554631623435_nTheir proverbial «militancy», then?  It was understood and expressed well by Paul VI, then reappropriated both by Benedict XVI and Francis: «Wherever in the Church, even in the most difficult and extreme field, in the crossroads of ideologies, in the front line of social conflict, there has been and there is confrontation between the deepest desires of the human person and the perennial message of the Gospel, there too, there have been, and there are, Jesuits».

In the “guts” of the spirituality of the Society there is instead the intuition of a beyond, of a «more», of a magis, as it says in Latin .  It grows in the praise of the glory of God, in the good, in positive action, in the desire for a more just and better world…  This is why the militancy is expressed «under the standard of the Cross».  The Society has, since the beginning, the seed of a «leaving», of a path forward.

notic-113For this reason Pope Francis, in the interview that he did for La Civiltà Cattolica in August of 2013 told me that «the Society is an institution in tension, always fundamentally in tension.   A Jesuit is a person who is not centered in himself.  The Society itself looks to a center outside itself».  And he continues: «The Society must always have before itself the Deus semper major, the always greater God, the pursuit of the ever greater glory of God» and «this tension takes us out of ourselves continuously».  The Jesuit, therefore «must be a person whose thought is incomplete, in the sense of open-ended thinking»: «the Jesuit always thinks, again and again, looking at the horizon toward which he must go, with Christ at the center.  This is his real strength. And that pushes the Society to be searching, creative and generous».

sacred_heart_1770-1The history of the Jesuits is determined by this tension, and is nevertheless a history of attempts and even mistakes.  In its history, there is a lot of heroism and a lot of creativity, but there is also misery and infidelity to the Gospel, as in any group of human beings.  But so many people flourished precisely in this history.  Among them, there are at least 50 «saints» and about 150 «blessed»


(translation by Reyanna Rice of the original post)

Chi sono i gesuiti?

notic-113È in corso a Roma la 36° Congregazione Generale dei Gesuiti. Questa assemblea è al vertice della struttura organizzativa della Compagnia di Gesù, ed è composta da tutti i Provinciali e da delegati di ogni provincia religiosa. La Congregazione ha eletto il nuovo padre Generale, p. Arturo Sosa. L’altro grande compito della Congregazione è quello di riflettere sulla vita e la missione della Compagnia alla luce dei «segni dei tempi». La storia della Compagnia non è una storia di idee astratte, ma di persone immerse, per la loro missione, nel mondo. Dunque la Compagnia deve leggere con discernimento la realtà e comprendere come Dio si muove in essa e che cosa chiede oggi per il «progresso delle anime». La 36° Congregazione Generale è anche la prima a svolgersi sotto un Pontefice membro dello stesso Ordine, che vive uno speciale vincolo di obbedienza al «successore di Pietro e vicario di Cristo in terra», come Ignazio era solito chiamarlo.

Ma chi sono i gesuiti? Ogni esperienza storica che coinvolge gli esseri umani è difficile da definire perché ricca di vita vissuta. Difficile, dunque, dire in termini astratti che cosa sia una «compagnia» di uomini che da quasi 500 anni si muove nel mondo con una spiritualità comune, ma di culture, lingue, origini molto differenti tra loro. Si tratta di un gruppo di uomini, innanzitutto: uomini che si sono sentiti chiamati a vivere una avventura comune perché hanno avuto una esperienza spirituale profonda. Questa esperienza li ha mossi a occuparsi di due cose fondamentali: la «propagazione della fede» e il «progresso delle anime nella vita e nella dottrina cristiana», come recita la «formula dell’Istituto» approvata per la prima volta da Paolo IV nel 1540.

14568002_10154497774367508_874007554631623435_nNel portare avanti la sua missione, la Compagnia non ha espresso una militanza negativa come se dovesse combattere un nemico oppure opporsi a un mondo avvertito come irrimediabilmente segnato dal male. Non hanno mai prevalso nella Compagnia il sospetto e la sfiducia. Al contrario, sin dall’inizio, lì dove i gesuiti si sono trovati — tanto in Europa quanto nelle missioni — hanno avuto un rapporto fecondo con le culture, anche apprendendo le lingue o valorizzando l’umanesimo, specialmente con la loro pedagogia. Il motto che li ha guidati è quello di Ignazio: «cercare e trovare Dio in tutte le cose».

La loro «militanza» proverbiale, allora? Essa è stata ben colta ed espressa da Paolo VI, ripreso poi sia da Benedetto XVI sia da Francesco: «Ovunque nella Chiesa, anche nei campi più difficili e di punta, nei crocevia delle ideologie, nelle trincee sociali, vi è stato e vi è il confronto tra le esigenze brucianti dell’uomo e il perenne messaggio del Vangelo, là vi sono stati e vi sono i Gesuiti».

Nelle viscere della spiritualità della Compagnia c’è invece l’intuizione di un oltre, di un «di più», di un magis, come si dice in latino. Si cresce nella lode della gloria di Dio, nel bene, nell’azione positiva, nel volere un mondo più giusto, migliore… Per questo si esprime la militanza «sotto il vessillo della Croce». La Compagnia ha, sin dall’inizio, il germe di una «uscita», di un cammino in avanti.

12662677_10153857833672508_8503738987257899039_n-740x493Per questo Papa Francesco, nell’intervista che gli feci per La Civiltà Cattolica nell’agosto del 2013 mi disse che «la Compagnia è un’istituzione in tensione, sempre radicalmente in tensione. Il gesuita è un decentrato. La Compagnia è in se stessa decentrata». E prosegui: «La Compagnia deve avere sempre davanti a sé il Deus semper maior, la ricerca della gloria di Dio sempre maggiore» e «questa tensione ci porta continuamente fuori da noi stessi». Il gesuita, dunque «deve essere una persona dal pensiero incompleto, dal pensiero aperto»: «il gesuita pensa sempre, in continuazione, guardando l’orizzonte verso il quale deve andare, avendo Cristo al centro. Questa è la sua vera forza. E questo spinge la Compagnia ad essere in ricerca, creativa, generosa».

sacred_heart_1770-1La storia dei gesuiti è costituita da questa tensione, e tuttavia è una storia di tentativi e anche di errori. Nella sua storia c’è molto eroismo e molta creatività, ma c’è anche miseria e infedeltà al Vangelo, come in ogni gruppo di esseri umani. Ma proprio in questa storia complessa sono fiorite tante persone. Tra di esse almeno 50 «santi» e circa 150 «beati».


“Always be a father!” My take on fr. Arturo Sosa, General of the Jesuits

2016-10-19-13-43-54Arturo Sosa was my “desk companion” during the General Congregation.  He told me a few days before the start that he would be seated next to me.  In the days before his election, we talked of many things, some perhaps unimportant, others more serious.  I sensed, however, a person next to me with a lot of energy and serenity.  A resolved person, reconciled with life and his experience of the past.

On the day of the election, we had exchanged few words.  The climate was of silence and profound interior recollection.  I showed him the notebook in which I was taking some notes.  On the cover was imprinted a phrase of St Ignatius: “Go forth and set the world on fire”.  His comment was: “Yes.  But today the world is already in flames, and unfortunately in another sense…..”

14725645_10154516511092508_2815614404307365159_nOne day we spoke about Pope Francis.  He told me he met Jorge Mario Bergoglio during the 33rd General Congregation in 1983.  Arturo was just 35 years old:  he was very young to be a “congregation father”.  Bergoglio—who then was 47 years old—saw him as young and robust.  This is why he gave him a nickname: “potrillo”, that is “colt”.  The recommendation that the Pope made at the news of his election to the General was: “be courageous”.

The day of the election we were all dressed well.  He had on his suit and clergyman black that “stood out” well with his white mustache and hair.  I noted that both his beloved plaid shirts that he brought and the dark suit that he brought didn’t change his behavior.  So I’d always known him:  as a person capable of being himself and at ease in the most diverse situations.  The counting of the votes by now indicated that his election was imminent.  He was as serene before the beginning of the voting as he was the day before…  Almost without think I extended my arms to comfort him for the weight that was falling on his shoulders.  I realized that I was embracing him.  He, serene as before, just whispered something like:  “when the chicken is to be eaten, you need only to boil the water…”

14713697_10154527066927508_3208992864689140582_nEven after the gathering of the number of needed votes, he was not discomposed.  He continued to write something in his notebook.  Until, the vote counting concluded, a round of applause started and the hands of the brothers embracing him and applauding him had not completely surrounded him, I had time to whisper in his ear: “You are our Father General”, emphasizing with my voice the word “father”.  And then: “Always be a father”.

Arturo Sosa is then the new Father General of the Jesuits.  He is 68 years old and a Venezuelan.  We well know what strong tensions they have experienced in Venezuela, tensions that he has experienced first hand.  Venezuela is one of the “peripheries” about which Francis has talked.  The “black pope” is proof that the very peripheries where tensions simmer, can convey energies to put at the service in the center of the Church universal.  People like Arturo Sosa have experienced such tensions through which at the end the spiritual energy of their personality flows calm, serene, without tensions.  Mature.  People like him don’t have to prove anything to themselves.  They have already done so, perhaps.  They gambled.  They have now won and now lost.  They took the walls by headbutts. They have even had ideological passions arriving then at near nothingness in their inconsistency.  Thiers is no longer an ideological critique of ideology, but a hand-to-hand combat with the reasons why it’s worth spending (and sometimes losing) their lives.  Now these people like Sosa, like Bergoglio, can bear the weight well without taking to many measures.  They can even resist the bewitching bureaucracy of power by remaining themselves.

14716206_10154515891227508_6256879352948603279_nAnd Sosa, like Bergoglio, is from Latin America.  Their countries—Venezuela and Argentine—are certainly two different countries.  And moreover, they witness together that the Church of that subcontinent is a “source” Church, and not a reflection, capable of bearing mature fruit for the universal Church.  Also for that of the European Church, and without contrasts, because they have European roots in their blood:  Bergoglio in the Piedmont of Nonna Rosa, Sosa in the Spain of Santander of his maternal grandfather, a tailor passionate about bulls and bullfights, who died at 104 years of age.
In the homily at the beginning of his mandate, Arturo Sosa said of the Jesuits something which can cause all to reflect.  He said that we must leave the fears behind that we feel and we must be creative and audacious, we must take the bulls by the horn.  He understood that the problem is simple: we make mistakes because we act motivated by fear.   And then Sosa had the courage to say in his first homily as General:  “We also want to contribute to what today seems impossible: a Humanity reconciled in justice, that lives in peace in a common home well cared for, where there is a place for all of us because we recognize our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the same and one only Father”.   He spoke of the “audacity of the impossible” that flows from faith.  Only a man who has gone through the ideologies knows that you must not be afraid of utopias if they are able to supply the gasoline to move forward in the building of a better world.  In a time in which one lives fears and disappointments, in a time in which you only take account of secure things, with few certainties at your disposal, Arturo Sosa invites us to not lose that healthy utopia that allows us to believe that the world is not destined to perdition and that it is possible to work to make it what the Lord wants it to be.

750x420x161015_gc36_thanksgiving_mass_arturo_sosa_sj_election_ie_250-750x420-jpg-pagespeed-ic-y63vnor4lrThis is why, deep down, Sosa was an intellectual—professor of the Theory of Politics and Rector of a university.  Because he wanted to understand how the world goes, how it functions, what makes it turn in the opposite direction in its orbits fixed by God’s plan.  He said in his first homily at the Church of the Gesù, dressed in the same liturgical vestments worn by Francis for his first Mass with the Jesuits: “Thinking to understand in depth the moment of human history that we live and to contribute to the search for alternatives to overcome poverty, inequality and oppression.  To not cease thinking to propose the pertinent questions to theology and to deepen the understanding of the faith that we ask the Lord to increase in us”.

He had written in 2008: “The Society of Jesus does not hide the complexities of the problems that afflict human beings and the multiple bridges that it is necessary to stretch to overcome the barriers between the social classes, ethnicities, religious differences or of gender and many others that prevent and block reconciliation among human beings.  One of the characteristic traits of the Society of Jesus since its foundation has a special importance: the commitment to the intellectual apostolate through which it can effectively contribute and fully understand the mechanisms and connections of real problems, a condition without which it is not possible to build the necessary bridges to facilitate reconciliation with others”.

But Arturo Sosa was not solely an intellectual.  He was and is a man of government.  He has participated in four General Congregations, and was Provincial of Venezuela, he served on the Council of Father Generale Adolfo Nicolás, and lastly he was responsible for the international houses of Rome.

Between local and international commitment, the key word for him was “frontier”.  He wrote: “The frontier in the life of persons and peoples is a challenging sign.  It represents the limits of reality itself or the limits of the other.  It represents, at the same time, the possibility of going beyond the initial limits, and moving towards less familiar areas and ideals.  It represents the challenge of transcending what we are, to draw closer to what we should be, and, finally, to open ourselves to the totally other, to God”.

Sosa’s discourses end up always in God.  You can easily understand him:  this man of government, this intellectual, this man of ignited and resolved tensions, is a man of God.  First of all he is a spiritual man who reminds the brothers who have elected him that they must have: “the whole heart that we want to have in tune with the Merciful Father”.

What is the Society of Jesus for Arturo Sosa?  We will understand that better in the near future.  For now it is enough to quote one of his dazzling definitions of eight years ago: un grupo mínimo para la magnitud de lo que se propone (“a minimum group for what is proposed”).14691964_10154517696227508_691428205635277744_o

(translation by Reyanna Rice from the original text in Italian)




«The Resurrection» of Bruce Springsteen

2Noted as a musician, Springsteen reveals himself the author of texts of various inspiration and sensitivity: now visionary, now lyrical, now narrative.  In fact one care recognize a kind of journey in his production, that moves from dense verses of abstract images to texts that recount stories with a precision of language, woven with metaphor, alliteration, allegory, that make stories in the form of poetry[1].  A characteristic trait of his album is a realism innervated by dreams and desires in which everyone can find himself or herself.  His art is not detached from common life:  he wants to acknowledge the dignity or, better, the «nobility»[2] of daily life.  To draw inspiration the Boss therefore doesn’t go far: he looks precisely at his personal life—interwoven of high and lows, affective crises and desires of a serene life—and to that of people around him, squeezed between an unrealizable American Dream and the crude daily life of the periphery.

This cord makes it vibrate in unison with writers like John Steinbeck and Flannery O’Connor.  But, among his sources of inspiration is even the Bible.  Springsteen comes from a family of Italian-Irish roots. However his relationship with his religion was never idyllic.  He traced back his refusal of the faith to a negative experience he had as a child: «God was used purely as an instrument of control.  When I turned thirteen I had enough and said: “Enough!”»[3].  The God imagined and refused is therefore the controller God.  Recently some simple gestures by the Boss have given pause to his perception of the sacred[4].

Any consideration linked to the personal conscience of the musician would therefore be undeserved.  What interests us is not to say if Springsteen is a believer or not, nor if his music expresses the faith genuinely or if it betrays it, even why his production in this sense is not even unique.  We intend therefore to note how, consciously or not, his inspiration is rich in figures, terms and symbols of religious meaning.  If, in fact, some of his youthful songs appear blasphemous and banal and are fruit more of an acid vent than of true inspiration, what appears obvious from a complete reading of his tests is the fact that, from the evident rebellion of his adolescent years, it is matched by a sensitivity for the language and symbols of the Christian faith.  Moreover, various theologians—both Catholic and Protestants (Andrew Greely, Jerry H. Gill, Kate McCarthy, William D. Romanowski…)[5]—have noted how the work of Springsteen has a «redemptive» quality: it plays his symbols and his principal themes (street, car, darkness, love…) in a dialectic of damnation and hope, adopting frequent images and terms of the biblical tradition.


From visionary «flash» to dark stories

Springsteen, born in 1949 in a New Jersey small town, by 1965 played in the circuits of Greenwich Village of New York[6].  In 1972 an audition with the producer John Hammond opens the doors of dreams and so in 1973 he brings out his first album: Greetings From Asbury Park, N. J.  He who was launched as a kind of new Bob Dylan already presented an acerbic but personal style, that will allow him to move with a certain freedom between folk, rhythm n’blues and rock.  The scenarios of this album are composed of robbery, the underworld, drunk women, rhythmical drama on the road of escape.  In the piece Growing Up he seems to find the key of the universe in the rumble of an old car.  The restlessness of the twenty-three year old musician to his debut are distilled in a dizzying succession of flash and visions: these songs, Springsteen will say after years, «were flashes of lightning, authentic energy.  I wrote like in the grip of a fever.  I had no money, no place to go, nothing to do.  It was winter, it was cold and I wrote[7]».

His second disc, a collage of frames and extensive sequences held together by the piano, The Wild, The Innocent And The E Street Shuffle (1974), marks the beginning of his collaboration with the «E Street Band».  Springsteen sings of the survival of the desperate searching for a landing, of a «redemption».  In that masterpiece that is New York City Serenade he sings: So shake it away, so shake away your street life/ shake away the city life and grab the first train.  The rapid visions of the first disc here already seem to begin to stretch out in the form of stories and descriptions.

Born To Run (1975) it the disc that make the Boss become one of the more acclaimed stars of world rock. From now on, the Springsteen «myth» is consolidated.  In this disc, he is framing the symbols of the world from which he comes in a cinema-photographic way: cage, rebellion, escape.  The direction is Northeast, that is Manhattan through the Holland Tunnel (Meeting Across The River and Jungleland), that becomes the cradle of misfits and outcasts.  The tensions he expresses in the power of the automobile, in the magic of the night and of the infinite direction of the street moves towards a longed for liberation in terms of the religious flavor.  Springsteen in fact uses words like faith, redemption, promised land, as far as invoking a savior: that from these streets a savior rises up. If the night is dark, the sidewalk is lighted / and covered by light and in the night it is possible to find a passage / for the soul.  We must believe, clenching the faith between our teeth.  The direction remains towards that place / where we really want to go / And finally we will walk in the sun / But until then vagabonds like us / We were born to run.

In 1978 Darkness On The Edge Of Town comes out.  Springsteen relishes the realization of his dream of success, but he is aware that it is only «an illusion of salvation»[8].   And then the question: «Where is the man OK with his guitar?  What is my place in the world?»[9]  The question opens gloomy scenarios and night time sequences in the white and black of strong contrasts.  The objective is not focused on the escape, but on the difficulties of the journey.  Yet again, the religious language becomes a way to tell the purely human experience.  In Adam Raised A Cain—inspired by the novel East of Eden by Steinbeck—Springsteen sings of the his relationship with his father telling of an inherited sin and of coming into the work paying / for the sins of the past of somebody else.  Clearly, even if the words used are those of the faith, the vision is gloomy and, in desperate strokes, unacceptable for an illuminated prospective of Christian hope.

Springsteen’s poetry rings in consonance with that of the writer Flannery O’Connor who John Landau, reviewer for the magazine Rolling Stone and then his manager, advised him to read[10].  Although he is not able to fully grasp the theological depth of Catholic writers, the reading of these writers was for him a «great, great revelation»[11].  This reading, matured to the threshold of 30 years, produced a notable effect.  Springsteen became passionate about the story A Good Man Is Hard To Find, so much so that he wrote a song with the same title, and for the novel Wise Blood, as well as then to the movie by John Huston in 1979.  Hazel Motes precisely, the protagonist of this novel, affirms that «nobody needs justification if he goes around in a good car».  This phrase could be put in the mouth of the characters of Springsteen’s songs[12]:  in fact, all are, really or metaphorically, embarked on a street, in a car, that is the place of justification, of absolution, of redemption.  The world of the Boss’s characters is gloomy.  For the poetry of O’Connor grace acts «in a territory held in great part by the devil»[13].  Springsteen seems however too blinded by darkness and by badlands, to use two of the many possible metaphors, to see the action of a form of «grace».  In any case, if there can be light, here it shines only if there is darkness.  Darkness On The Edge Of Town leaves man nailed to his own radical condition: sin.  You can make out the temptation that leads to a despairing attitude all too insisted.  Nevertheless he resists a form of redemptive tension, even if in a horizontal direction and therefore insufficient to reach the borders of a real salvation.  Maybe it appears from far away: we’ll run / up to the sea / And we’ll wash these sins from our hands (Racing in the street).  I am a man—he affirms again in The Promised Land—and I believe in a promised land.

In the double album The River (1980) the songs tell of sharp contrasts of states of soul between the lack of a center and the desire for escape between streets and rivers.  The dreams assume the form of an inexhaustible restlessness like in Hungry Heart, that the Swedish theologian Ola Sigurdson reads comparing it to the Confessions of Augustine[14], where it reads: «Our heart is restless until it rest in You».  The reading can appear too generic, because, basically, the heart of every man and woman is always restless.  However, in effect, in the song we notice the contrast between the affirmation that Everyone needs a place to rest / everyone wants to have a home and, on the other hand, the fact that the protagonist, while having a wife and kids, goes out for a spin and then doesn’t return home anymore and goes like a river that doesn’t know where it flows.  At the end, Springsteen rips out of himself a desire: And I wish that God would send me a word / Something to be afraid of losing (Drive all night).

in-concert-unpluggedIn 1982, when music video and postmodern and jazzy elaborations dominate the market, Springsteen comes out with the album Nebraska, that was defined as «resolutely and provocatively out of date» for the «monotone and simple singing, essential music, slow and unadorned»[15].  The songs are presented in the temporary, acoustic form without electric arrangement.  In faded scenarios, they are focused on human failures[16].  Beginning from this experience, Springsteen develops in symbolic terms and implicit poetry of sin, so to speak[17].  The song My Father’s House tells of the return of a son to his father’s house and the model is that of the «prodigal son», but reversed in its meaning.  The conclusion, is in fact bitter and disappointing: the father has moved or is no longer there and the house is cold and isolated / Shining beyond this dark highway where our sins / lie unatoned.  The Boss seems therefore to exclude an intervention that comes for on «high» and that is from above the ribbon of asphalt on which the car is launched.  After the tragedies of madness, images of emptiness, desolation, jail and execution, a last prayer is launched, a dry, sharp scream: free me from nothing (State Trooper).   Despite the gloomy tones, Nebraska however manages to distill even some words of compassion (cfr Highway Patrolman) and hope, like those that harbor in the long stanzas of Reason To Believe.  At the end, despite the daily tragedies, there is always that blind, incomprehensible hope that leads the characters to believe that at the end / people find something / reasons to believe.

In 1984 Born In The U.S.A. comes out, Springsteen’s true, great, world success.  The song that has given the album its name seemed to many a patriotic and triumphal hymn.  Reagan sought to use it in his election campaign.  It was a blunder: the strong and hard rhythms conceal a text that speaks of rage, disillusionment, frustration: I’m ten years burning down the road / Nowhere to run ain’t got nowhere to go.  Yet again, Springsteen tells stories of hard times where the images of an angry vent, of a rainy fog, of a train that drags you down appear.  Sometimes—Springsteen writes—it’s like someone took a knife baby / edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley / through the middle of my soul (I’m On Fire).olland


A turning point in search of «human contact»

At the release of the next disc, Tunnel Of Love (1987), the magazine Rolling Stone comments that here «the Catholic education received by Springsteen can be clearly perceived; the protagonists pray repeatedly to be delivered from evil, stories of love are represented as a manifestation of divine grace»[18], beside those doubts and that perception of evil that we already recognize.  It’s no coincidence, therefore, that after the release of this disc, America¸ the U.S. Catholic weekly, dedicated a cover to the Boss.  The words are more interior.  Now on stage is the Leggi tutto “«The Resurrection» of Bruce Springsteen”

The first homily of the General of the Jesuits, Fr. Arturo Sosa S.J., translated into English

750x420x161015_gc36_thanksgiving_mass_arturo_sosa_sj_election_ie_250-750x420-jpg-pagespeed-ic-y63vnor4lrOctober 15, 2016

Dearest brothers,

A few days ago, in this same Church of the Gesù, where the remains of St Ignatius and Father Arrupe rest,  Fr. Bruno Cadorè invited us to have the audacity of the improbable as the proper attitude of people of faith who seek to witness it in the complex current events of Humanity.  He invited us to leave fear behind and to row towards the open sea as the attitude for being both creative and faithful during the General Congregation.

Certainly, the audacity we need to be servants of the mission of Jesus Christ flows only from faith.  Consequently, our gaze is in the first place directed to God, because only one is your Father in heaven, as the passage of the Gospel we just heard reminds us.  And, as the Formula Instituti at n. 1 reminds us “(the Jesuit) as long as he lives, first of all, to keep before his eyes God and then the nature of this Institute”.  Or rather, it is our whole heart that we want to have in tune with the Merciful Father.

If our faith is like that of Mary, the mother of Jesus and the Mother of the Society of Jesus, our audacity can go even further and seek not only the improbable, but the impossible, because nothing is impossible with God as the angel Gabriel proclaims in the scene of the Annunciation (Lk 1:37).  It is the same faith as St Theresa of Avila or St Teresa of Jesus, whose remembrance we celebrate today.  Even she, fearlessly, trusted the Lord to undertake the improbable and the impossible.

We ask, then, of the Lord for this faith, so that we also can make ours, as the Society of Jesus, the word of Mary in answering the extraordinary call she received: Behold the handmaid of the Lord: may it be done to me according to your word.  As Ignatius and the first Companions, like so many of our brothers served and serve under the standard of the cross only at the service of the Lord and of his Church, we also want to contribute to what seems impossible today: a Humanity reconciled in justice, that lives in peace in a common home well cared for, where there is a place for all of us because we recognize our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the same and one only Father.

Therefore, we reiterate today St Ignatius’ conviction in writing the Constitutions: The Society was not instituted by human means; and it is not through them that it can be preserved and increased, but through the grace of the omnipotent hand of Christ our God and Lord, in Him alone must be placed our hope.

With hope placed in God and only in Him, the General Congregation will continue its deliberations and will contribute to the responsibility to maintain well and develop the whole of this body (Cons. 719).

Maintaining and developing the body of the Society is closely bound to the depth of the spiritual life of each one of its members and of the community in which we share the life and mission with our companions.  At the same time it takes an extraordinary intellectual depth to think creatively the ways through which our service to the mission of Jesus Christ can be more effective, in the creative tension of the Ignatian magis.  Thinking to understand in depth the moment of human history that we live and to contribute to the search for alternatives to overcome poverty, inequality and oppression.  To not cease thinking to propose the pertinent questions to theology and to deepen the understanding of the faith that we ask the Lord to increase in us.

We are not alone.  As companions of Jesus, we too wish to follow the path of the incarnation, to become like the human beings who suffer the consequences of injustice.  The Society of Jesus will be able to develop only in collaboration with others, only if it becomes the least collaborator Society.  Beware of the language traps.  We want to increase collaboration, not only seek others who collaborate with us, with our works as if we do not want to lose the prestige of the position of the one who has the last word. We want to collaborate generously with others, within and outside of the Church, in the awareness, that comes from the experience of God, of being called to the mission of Jesus Christ, that does not belong to us exclusively, but that we share with so many men and women consecrated to the service of others.

In the journey of collaboration, with the grace of God, we even find new companions to also increase the number, always least to great that is, of collaborators with others invited to be part of this body.  There is no doubt regarding the need to increase our prayer and our work for vocations to the Society and to continue the complex commitment to offer formation that makes them true Jesuits, members of this multicultural body called to witness the wealth of interculturality as the face of humanity, created and in the image and likeness of God.

We take today for us the words of the apostle Paul: the God of perseverance and of comfort grant you to have towards one another the same feelings as Jesus Christ, so that with one mind and one voice we give glory to God, Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Church of the Gesù in Rome October 15, 2016

(translation by Reyanna Rice. The original text is in Italian)



La prima omelia del Generale dei Gesuiti, p. Arturo Sosa SJ

cuzcwltxgaayypoCarissimi fratelli,

pochi giorni fa, in questa stessa Chiesa del Gesù, dove riposano i resti di Sant’Ignazio e Pedro Arrupe, p. Bruno Cadorè ci ha invitati ad avere l’audacia dell’improbabile come l’atteggiamento proprio delle persone di fede che cercano di testimoniarla nella complessa attualità dell’Umanità. Ci ha invitati a lasciare indietro la paura e a remare verso il largo come l’atteggiamento per essere nello stesso tempo creativi e fedeli durante la Congregazione Generale.

Certo, l’audacia della quale abbiamo bisogno per essere servitori della missione del Cristo Gesù può sgorgare soltanto dalla fede. Perciò il nostro sguardo è in primo luogo indirizzato a Dio, perché uno solo è il Padre vostro, quello del cielo, come ci ricorda il brano del Vangelo appena ascoltato. E come ci ricorda la Formula Instituti al n.1: “(il gesuita)

faccia in modo di avere dinanzi agli occhi, finché vivrà, prima di ogni altra cosa, Iddio, e poi la forma di questo suo Istituto”. Anzi, è il cuore intero che vogliamo avere in sintonia col Padre Misericordioso, il Dio che è solo Amore, il nostro Principio e Fondamento. Il cuore di ciascuno di noi e anche il cuore del corpo della Compagnia.

Se la nostra fede è come quella di Maria, la mamma di Gesù e la Madre della Compagnia di Gesù, la nostra audacia può andare ancora più avanti e cercare non solo l’improbabile, ma l’impossibile, perché nulla è impossibile a Dio come proclama l’arcangelo Gabriele nella scena dell’Annunciazione (Lc 1,37). È la stessa fede di Santa Teresa di Avila o Santa Teresa di Gesù, la cui memoria celebriamo oggi. Anche lei, senza paura, si è fidata del Signore per intraprendere l’improbabile e l’impossibile.

Chiediamo, dunque, al Signore questa fede, perché possiamo fare anche nostre, come Compagnia di Gesù, le parole di Maria nel rispondere alla straordinaria chiamata ricevuta: ecco la serva del Signore: avvenga per me secondo la tua parola. Come Ignazio e i primi Compagni, come tanti confratelli che hanno militato e mìlitano sotto il vessillo della croce soltanto al servizio del Signore e della sua Chiesa, vogliamo anche noi contribuire a quanto oggi sembra impossibile: una Umanità riconciliata nella giustizia, che vive in pace in una casa comune ben curata, dove c’è posto per tutti quanti perché ci riconosciamo fratelli e sorelle, figli e figlie dello stesso e unico Padre.

Perciò ribadiamo anche oggi la convinzione di Sant’Ignazio nello scrivere le Costituzioni: Poiché la Compagnia non è stata istituita con mezzi umani, non può conservarsi né svilupparsi con essi, bensì con la mano onnipotente di Cristo Dio e Signor Nostro, in Lui solo è necessario riporre la speranza.

Con la speranza posta in Dio e soltanto in Lui la Congregazione Generale proseguirà le sue deliberazioni e contribuirà alla responsabilità di ben conservare e sviluppare tutto questo corpo (Cons. 719).

Conservare e sviluppare il corpo della Compagnia è strettamente legato alla profondità della vita spirituale di ciascuno dei suoi membri e delle comunità nelle quali condividiamo la vita e missione con i compagni. Allo stesso tempo ci vuole una straordinaria profondità intellettuale per pensare creativamente i modi attraverso i quali il nostro servizio alla missione del Cristo Gesù può essere più efficace, nella tensione creativa del magis ignaziano. Pensare per capire in profondità il momento della storia umana che viviamo e contribuire alla ricerca di alternative per superare la povertà, la ineguaglianza e la oppressione. Pensare per non smettere di proporre le domande pertinenti alla teologia e approfondire la comprensione della fede che chiediamo al Signore di aumentare in noi.

Non siamo soli. Come compagni di Gesù vogliamo anche noi seguire il cammino dell’incarnazione, diventare simili agli esseri umani che soffrono le conseguenze della ingiustizia. La Compagnia di Gesù potrà svilupparsi soltanto in collaborazione con altri, soltanto se diventa la minima Compagnia collaboratrice. Attenzione alle trappole del linguaggio. Vogliamo aumentare la collaborazione, non soltanto cercare altri che collaborino con noi, con le nostre opere perché non vogliamo perdere il prestigio della posizione di chi ha l’ultima parola. Vogliamo collaborare generosamente con altri, dentro e fuori dalla Chiesa, nella consapevolezza, proveniente dall’esperienza di Dio, di essere chiamati alla missione del Cristo Gesù, che non ci appartiene in esclusività, ma che condividiamo con tanti uomini e donne consacrati al servizio degli altri.

Nel cammino della collaborazione, con la grazia di Dio, troveremo anche nuovi compagni per aumentare anche il numero, sempre minimo per grande che sia, dei collaboratori con gli altri invitati a far parte di questo corpo. Non c’è nessun dubbio circa il bisogno di aumentare la nostra preghiera e il nostro lavoro per le vocazioni alla Compagnia e di continuare il complesso impegno di offrire la formazione che faccia di loro dei veri gesuiti, membri di questo corpo multiculturale chiamato a testimoniare la ricchezza della interculturalità come volto dell’umanità, creata a immagine e somiglianza di Dio.

Prendiamo dunque oggi per noi le parole dell’apostolo Paolo­: il Dio della perseveranza e della consolazione vi conceda di avere gli uni verso gli altri gli stessi sentimenti ad esempio di Cristo Gesù, perché con un solo animo e una voce sola rendiate gloria a Dio, Padre del Signore nostro Gesù Cristo.

Nella Chiesa del Gesù a Roma il 15 ottobre 2016

P. Arturo Sosa, el nuevo Padre General de la Compañía de Jesús

0-arturo-sosa-informalP. Arturo Sosa, venezolano, es el nuevo Padre General de la Compañía de Jesús.

Nació en Caracas el 12 noviembre de 1948.

— Licenciado en Filosofía en la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello.
— Estudió Teología en la Pontificia Universidad Gregoriana de Roma.
— Es doctor en Ciencias Políticas por la Universidad Central de Venezuela.

Director de la Revista SIC (1979-1996).
— Fue Profesor en la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, en la Universidad Central de Venezuela y en la Georgetown University, Washington, EEUU, impartendo clases de Historia de Ideas Políticas
— Superior Provincial de la Compañía de Jesús en Venezuela (1996-2004). —  Desde 2004 es Rector de la Universidad Católica del Táchira.
— Desde 2014 es miembro del Consejo del Prepósito General de la Compañía de Jesús.

Ha escrito una docena de libros sobre la democracia y dictadura en la Venezuela del siglo XX, el colonialismo y la emancipación en Venezuela, el pensamiento político venezolano.

Sus principales intereses son la espiritualidad ignaciana, la solidaridad con los más vulnerables, la migración y los refugiados, la reconciliación y el diálogo, l’apostolado intelectual.

Un artículo sobre la situación en Venezuela después el golpe de Estado de 2002 publicado en La Civiltà Cattolica 



Pape François: “AUJOURD’HUI L’ÉGLISE DOIT GRANDIR EN DISCERNEMENT”. Une rencontre privée avec quelques jésuites polonais

tumblr_ocmn1jp2zg1qz6bc9o1_1280Au cours de son voyage apostolique en Pologne à l’occasion de la 31e Journée mondiale de la jeunesse, le 30 Juillet, 2016, premières vêpres de saint Ignace de Loyola- à 17 heures, François a rencontré un groupe de 28 jésuites polonais qui sont membres des deux Provinces de la Compagnie de Jésus du pays et deux collaborateurs laïcs, accompagnés par les deux pères provinciaux : les pères Tomasz Ortman et Jakub Kolacz. Présents aussi à la réunion étaient trois autres jésuites: p. Andrzej Majewski, directeur des programmes à la Radio Vatican, p. Federico Lombardi, à l’époque directeur du Bureau de presse du Saint-Siège, et p. Antonio Spadaro, rédacteur en chef de La Civiltà Cattolica. La rencontre a eu lieu à l’archevêché de Cracovie, dans un climat d’une grande simplicité, spontanéité et cordialité, et même si elle n’a pas été dépourvue de contenu significatif à l’Ordre, il a également tenu une signification pour l’Église en général. Francis a salué toutes les personnes présentes, un par un, et il se concentre sur en particulier ceux qu’il avait connu dans le passé. Quand il était assis et a commencé le dialogue, l’écoute des questions posées et de répondre en italien, le P. Kolacz Ses paroles traduit en polonais, même si la majorité des personnes présentes a bien compris l’italien. Puis le Pontife a reçu des cadeaux. Avant de conclure la rencontre, d’une durée totale de 40 minutes, le Pape a voulu ajouter une recommandation facilement compréhensible dans le cadre de sa récente Magistère. Avec l’approbation du Saint-Père, nous rapportons ici le dialogue, dans son immédiateté, tout comme il est arrivé, même en conservant quelques souvenirs personnels. Il est conçu comme un témoignage qui, comme vous le lirez vous-même rassemble quelques impressions de l’expérience du Pontife avec les jeunes des JMJ et fournit également des lignes pastorales significatives.

Antonio Spadaro S.J.

Votre message est au cœur des jeunes. Comment parlez-vous à eux avec tant d’efficacité ? Pourriez-vous nous donner quelques conseils pour notre travail avec les jeunes?
Quand je parle, je dois regarder les gens dans les yeux. Il est impossible de regarder dans les yeux de chacun d’eux, mais je regarde dans les yeux de celui-ci, de celui-ci, de celui-ci … et tout le monde se sent que je les regarde. Il est quelque chose qui me vient spontanément. Voici comment je le fais avec les jeunes. Mais, les jeunes, Quand vous parlez avec eux, poser des questions … . Aujourd’hui au déjeuner, ils ont posé quelques questions … .Ils m’ont même demandé comment je me confesse! Ils n’ont pas le pouvoir discrétionnaire. Ils posent des questions directes. Et vous avez toujours besoin de répondre à une jeune personne avec la vérité. Un jeune homme m’a demandé: “Comment tu confesses?”. Et je commençais à parler de moi. Il m’a dit: «Dans mon pays, il y avait des scandales liés aux prêtres et nous n’avons pas le courage de nous confesser avec ces prêtres qui ont vécu ces scandales. Je ne peux pas le faire.”. Vous voyez: ils vous disent la vérité, parfois ils vous réprimandent … Les jeunes parlent directement. Ils veulent la vérité ou au moins la clarté.  «Je ne sais pas comment vous répondre». Vous ne trouverez jamais subterfuges avec les jeunes. Donc, avec la prière. Ils me demandaient: «Comment priez-vous?». Si vous répondez à une théorie, ils restent déçus. Les jeunes sont généreux. Mais le travail avec eux exige aussi de la patience, beaucoup de patience. L’un d’eux m’a demandé aujourd’hui: «Que dois-je dire à un ami qui ne croit pas en Dieu afin qu’il puisse devenir un croyant?». Ici, vous voyez que, parfois, les jeunes demandent «recettes». Ensuite, vous devez être prêts à corriger cette attitude qui exige des recettes et des réponses toutes prêtes. Je répondis: «Voyez que la dernière chose que vous devez faire est de dire quelque chose. Commencer à faire quelque chose. Puis il ou elle vous demandera des explications sur la façon dont vous vivez et pourquoi ». Ici, vous devez être direct, directement avec la vérité.

Quel est le rôle des universités jésuites?

Une université comme une ligne droite des jésuites doit pointer vers une formation globale, non seulement intellectuelle, une formation de toute la personne humaine. En fait, si l’université devient tout simplement une académie d’idées ou d’une «usine» de professionnels ou d’une mentalité centrée sur des affaires qui prévaut dans sa structure, alors il est vraiment hors des sentiers. Nous avons les Exercices à la main. Voici le défi: prendre l’université sur le chemin des Exercices. Cela signifie risquer sur la vérité, et non pas sur la «vérité fermée,” Que personne ne discute. La vérité de la rencontre avec les gens est ouverte et exige que nous nous laissons vraiment faire des enquêtes de la réalité. Et l’université jésuite doit être impliqué dans la vie réelle de l’Église et la Nation: aussi cette réalité est, en fait.

Une attention particulière doit être toujours accordée aux marginalisés, à la défense de ceux-ci ont plus besoin d’être protégés. Et cela est clair-it-est de ne pas communiste: il est tout simplement être vraiment impliqué avec la réalité. Dans ce cas, notamment une université jésuite doit être pleinement associé à la réalité l’expression de la pensée sociale de l’Eglise. La pensée du marché libre qui enlève l’homme et la femme du centre et met l’argent au centre n’est pas la nôtre. La doctrine de l’Eglise est claire et elle doit aller de l’avant dans ce sens.
Pourquoi êtes-vous devenu un jésuite?
Quand je suis entré au séminaire, je l’ai déjà eu une vocation religieuse. Mais à ce moment-là mon confesseur était anti-jésuite. J’ai aussi aimé les Dominicains et leur vie intellectuelle. Ensuite, je suis tombé malade et j’ai dû subir une chirurgie pulmonaire. Plus tard, un autre prêtre m’a aidé spirituellement. Je me souviens que lorsque j’ai dit au premier prêtre que j’étais entré chez les jésuites, il ne l’a pas bien reçu cette nouvelle. Mais ici, l’ironie du Seigneur s’est fait voir. En fait, à ce moment-là, ils recevaient les Ordres mineures. La tonsure s’est fait dans la première année de théologie. Le recteur m’a dit d’aller à Buenos Aires à l’évêque auxiliaire, Mgr. Oscar Villena, qui faisait la cérémonie de tonsure. Je suis allé à la Maison du Clergé, mais on m’a dit que Mons. Villena était malade. Il était à sa place un autre monseigneur qui était précisément ce premier prêtre qui avait alors devenu évêque! Et je reçu la tonsure précisement de lui! Et nous avons fait la paix après plusieurs années …. Mais, oui, je peux dire, mon choix de la Société a mûri par lui-même …

Il y a quelques prêtres récemment ordonnés dans ce groupe. Avez-vous des conseils pour leur avenir?

Vous savez: l’avenir est de Dieu. Le plus que nous pouvons faire est faisable. Et le possible sont tous du mauvais esprit! Un conseil: le sacerdoce est vraiment une grande grâce: votre sacerdoce comme un jésuite est trempé dans la spiritualité que vous avez vécu jusqu’à présent: la spiritualité du Suscipe de saint Ignace.

[A ce moment la rencontre semble être terminé jusqu’à la présentation au Pontife des dons de quelques jésuites qui ont suivi certains jeunes connectés à la spiritualité ignatienne qui sont venus de partout dans le monde pour les JMJ. François veut ensuite ajouter une recommandation et tout le monde s’assoit de nouveau.]

Je veux ajouter quelque chose maintenant. Je vous demande de travailler avec les séminaristes. Par-dessus tout, leur donner ce que vous avez reçu des Exercices: la sagesse du discernement. L’Église a besoin aujourd’hui de grandir dans la capacité de discernement spirituel. Certains programmes de formation sacerdotale courrent le risque de l’éducation à la lumière des idées trop claires et distinctes, et donc d’agir dans des limites et des critères qui sont rigidement définies a priori, et en septembre que les situations de côté concrètes “vous devez faire cela, vous ne devez pas faire …”. Et puis les séminaristes, quand ils deviennent prêtres, se trouvent en difficulté à accompagner la vie de tant de jeunes et d’adultes. Parce que beaucoup se demandent: «Pouvez-vous faire ceci ou pouvez-vous pas?”. Voilà tout. Et beaucoup de gens sont décus lorsqu’ils quittent la confession. Parce que le prêtre n’est pas mal, mais parce que le prêtre n’a pas la capacité de discerner les situations, de les accompagner dans le discernement authentique. Ils ne possèdent pas la formation nécessaire. Aujourd’hui, l’Eglise a besoin de grandir dans le discernement, dans la capacité à discerner. Et surtout les prêtres ont vraiment besoin pour leur ministère. Ceci est la raison pour laquelle nous devons enseigner aux séminaristes et prêtres en formation: ils sont ceux habituellement en qui on se confie, et ceux qui recoivent les confidences de la conscience des fidèles. La direction spirituelle n’est pas seulement un charisme sacerdotale, mais aussi un charisme laïc, c’est vrai. Mais, je le répète, vous devez enseigner ceci surtout aux prêtres, en les aidant à la lumière des Exercices sur la dynamique du discernement pastoral, qui respecte la loi mais il sait comment aller au-delà. Ceci est une tâche importante pour la Société. Une pensée du P. Hugo Rahner m’a souvent frappé. Il a écrit clairement et il a pesé clairement. Hugo a dit que le jésuite doit être un homme avec le nez pour le surnaturel ; qu’il doit être un homme doué d’un sens du divin et du diabolique liés aux événements de la vie humaine et de l’histoire. Le jésuite doit donc être capable de discerner dans la domaine de Dieu et dans la domaine du diable. Voilà pourquoi dans les Exercises, saint Ignace demande d’être introduit aux intentions du Seigneur de la vie et à ceux de l’ennemi de la nature humaine et à ses mensonges. Ce qu’il a écrit est audacieux, il est vraiment audacieux, mais le discernement est précisément cela! Nous avons besoin de former les futurs prêtres non aux idées générales et abstraites, qui sont claires et distinctes, mais à ce vif discernement des esprits afin qu’ils puissent aider les gens dans le concret de leurs vies. Nous devons vraiment comprendre ceci: dans la vie pas tout est noir sur blanc ou blanc sur noir. Non! Les nuances de gris prédominent dans la vie. Nous devons leur apprendre à discerner dans cette zone grise.

[La rencontre prend fin ici avant tout par la nécessité de poursuivre le programme de la journée porté à l’attention du Saint-Père par ses collaborateurs. Avant de prendre congé, cependant, Francis voulait une fois de plus saluer les jésuites une par une concluant avec une bénédiction finale.]

*** Le texte original est publié ici par la revue La Civiltà Cattolica: http://www.laciviltacattolica.it/it/quaderni/articolo/3867/oggi-la-chiesa-ha-bisogno-di-crescere-nel-discernimento-un-incontro-privato-con-alcuni-gesuiti-polacchi-/


Papa Francisco: la alegría y las condiciones de vida en común

0,,18936356_303,00Lo que hay de común en los tres documentos más importantes del Papa Francisco — la exhortación apostólica Evangelii Gaudium, (La alegría del Evangelio), la encíclica Laudato Si, (sobre el cuidado de la casa común) y la exhortación Postsinodal Amoris Letitia, (sobre el amor en la familia) — es el tema de la alegría que aparece en distintas formas: gaudium, laudatio, letitia y esta alegría está vinculada a la idea de las condiciones de vida en común: la comunidad eclesial, el medio ambiente y la familia. Esta alegría se origina en la experiencia del encuentro con Jesucristo, “la alegría interna que llama y atrae a las cosas celestiales y a la propia salud de su alma, aquietándola y pacificándola en su Criador y Señor” (Ignacio de Loyola). La alegría del evangelio debe llegar a cristianos y no cristianos porque todo el mundo tiene el derecho de recibir el Evangelio, de allí que todos los cristianos estén permanentemente en una dinámica de salida hacia los demás. Otro núcleo fundamental de la enseñanza de Francisco es el discernimiento pues gracias a este se puede iluminar la realidad concreta de cada vida, este es un proceso que nos lleva a ser dóciles en el Espíritu, que nos invita a actuar con amor y misericordia en cada situación particular. Finalmente la preocupación del Papa es la de recontextualizar la doctrina al servicio de la misión pastoral de la Iglesia. La doctrina debe interpretarse en relación con el centro del Kerygma cristiano y a la luz del contexto pastoral en la que se aplica para la salus animarum.