At this time of the year in Rome they talk of the Sirocco, the warm southerly winds that originate in the Sahara Desert and blow across the Mediterranean. These interchange quite freely with the cold winds from the north coming over the Alps and the Apennines. So one day is warm and sunny with clear skies and the next is cloudy, wet and cold. Every morning, before I leave the house for the General Curia, I look out into the western horizon to try and figure out what kind of day it will be — Are there clouds building up? Should I carry my umbrella or not?
The weather in Rome is somewhat symbolic of what’s happening in the Congregation at the moment. We seem to be oscillating between Jesuit life and mission and governance. Last week we elected a new General. Then, before proposing names for appointment as Regional Assistant, we took time out to discuss issues of central governance that were raised in postulata from different provinces. But governance structures must be determined by mission, so we took a brief look at the postulata related to Jesuit life and Mission. Yesterday we proposed names for Regional Assistants, who will be appointed by Fr. General, and assume their roles as General Counsellors in the central governance. Today we looked at possible legislation regards the future possibility of resignation of Fr. General. With all this back and forth, one cannot help but ask, “Where is the Spirit leading us?” Here, possibly, comes the reprimand of the Lord in Lk 12: 54 – 56:
“When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and sky; but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”
Would that we could interpret the motiones of the Spirit as well as we read the wind and the clouds!
In our discussions during the last week, on Jesuit life and mission we have become increasingly aware of a world fundamentally fragmented, peoples excluded, exiled and eliminated, by the lie of global inclusion. If, as a universal Society, we are to become a counter cultural witness to a more inclusive world, then we will have to defragment our own lives, transcend provincial, ethnic boundaries that divide us, radically recommit ourselves to the vision of GC35 – the integration of identity/community, mission and governance. Could what’s happening in the Aula be a pointer in this direction? We’ll have to wait and see. But one thing is for sure — There is a “southerly” wind blowing in the Church, and now in the Society. May it truly be for us the breath of the Spirit.