August 23, 2019 — During his visit to the Jesuit provinces of Asia, Father General of the Society of Jesus, Arturo Sosa, gave a speech to lay people involved in the works and activities of the Society of Jesus in Taiwan. This speech was posted online by the General Curia of the Jesuits. "Is there a model for collaboration between Jesuits and non-Jesuits? The answer is 'No'; there is no single model. Each place will have to decide how to work together better," explained Fr. General. He also stressed that Jesuit colleagues are essential to evangelization, the spreading of the Gospel, the Good News, all in a context of reconciliation. This reconciliation is guided by, among other things, the new Universal Apolitical Preferences.
Reconciliation with God, others and creation: Fr. Sosa's speech
Before anything else, I would like to
say a very warm xie-xie to all of you, our friends and partners in
mission here in Taipei. I feel blessed to have you as friends of the
Jesuits, because I have heard of how much you share of your time, your
talents and gifts, your resources, all that you are. After all, these
are gifts from God that are for the good of those we serve here in
Taiwan. But now more than ever, we really need to work together, the
Jesuits and yourselves, because the situation is ever so complex, and
the mission is ever more urgent, and because this mission is entrusted
to us by God and the Church, we must do our best to be of service.
What exactly is that mission? Through
the centuries, the mission has remained the same – evangelization, the
spreading of the Gospel, the Good News. But there is something more
specific to these times that focus this general mission even more. The
last two big gatherings of the Jesuits (GC 35 & 36) used the same
word – reconciliation. Why reconciliation? Because we
live in a broken world, that is breaking into pieces, and reconciliation
has to do with bringing things together again.
First of all, the mission calls for a
reconciliation with God. In the lives of so many, whether Christian or
non-Christian, God has either been pushed aside or completely forgotten.
Others have even been more aggressively challenging any kind of belief
in any God. Many see this pervading secularism as a threat, an obstacle,
an evil. But perhaps, we should take it as a challenge, a sign of the
times. One good aspect of secularism is that faith now is no longer
simply a cultural given, but it becomes a free choice once again. In
some ways, we are returning to the situation of the early Church, and we
are called to practice in word an action what Pope Francis has called
Second, the mission calls for a
reconciliation with others. We live in a very frightening world in which
divisions, polarization, violence, anger, fear of those who are
different seem to be growing. In so many places of the world, populist
leaders come to power promoting hatred and fear, saying that certain
kinds of people are not treated as human beings, whether they be
migrants, refugees, the poor, the homeless, the growing numbers of
unemployed or underemployed, the many beggars we meet. Part of our
mission today then means paying special attention to those who are being
excluded, marginalized, and dehumanized, so that we can be near them,
walk with them, serve them, defend them.
Finally, the mission calls for a reconciliation with creation. As Pope Francis has emphasized in Laudato Si’,
the dominant way human beings produce and consume and the spread of a
“throw-away” culture have gravely harmed the environment and threaten
the sustainability of our planet for future generations. Those with the
expertise need to search for and promote more sustainable economic
models and policies. But all of us need to begin where we are, with
lifestyles that counter the “throw-away” culture, in our personal lives,
our families, and in our institutions and places of work.
This is the mission of reconciliation in
today’s world that we all share. Is there a model for collaboration
between Jesuits and non-Jesuits? The answer is “No”; there is no single
model. Each place will have to decide how to work together better. What
is important is that we enter into a process of dialogue and spiritual
conversation, listen to where the Holy Spirit is leading us, and decide
among ourselves how best to move forward.