The 36th General Congregation was called in December 2014 by the present Superior General, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, SJ. Earlier, in a letter published on May 20th of the same year, the Father General had told the Society, that he had reached the personal conviction that it was his duty to start the necessary steps to present his resignation to the General Congregation. In the same letter, Father Nicolás invited the whole Society to “enter in a profound and true spirit of discernment about our life and our mission”. He added: “Now that Pope Francis called the whole Church to a profound renewal, looking at the great needs and hopes of the Church and of the world, we can (also) answer with enthusiasm to his invitation”.
The plenary session of the 36th General Congregation will be opened in Rome on October 2nd, 2016. At the beginning of June 2016, as an element of the communication works of the General Congregation, Fr. Antonio Spadaro interviewed Fr. Adolfo Nicolás with the intention of promoting and make known the intuitions and messages of the outgoing Superior General. Through this interview – that has been published by magazines of the Jesuits in Europe as the fruit of a common project – we can appreciate the emphasis and accents that led the present Father General to ask for the convocation of the Congregation.
Adolfo Nicolás is hoping that this Congregation will not only elect a good General but will also make the “discernment on how to improve our service to the Church and to the Gospel, in the way Saint Ignatius wanted us to do”. This is why, in the words of Father General, “my desire is that the fruit of the Congregation be a better religious life in the spirit of the Gospel and a renewed capacity of imagination”.
The dialogue with Spadaro brings out the extraordinary sensitivity of Father Nicolás towards change, the new needs of the Church and the challenges of today’s world. “We need audacity, fantasy and courage to face our mission as a part of the larger mission of God in our world. I also hope that the Pope will talk to the Congregation and indicate his feelings and concerns”.
The interview, full of references and fundamental intuitions related to Father Nicolás’ eight years as general, insists on the need for a new language for the mission, a language of wisdom, “fruit of a thought that is open and incomplete, and of a faith able to recognize the Lord where He wants to be met, not where our routine ways seek him”. We believe that this quiet reading can be a valuable way to prepare ourselves during this important moment of discernment for the whole Society.