This week started with Fr. Adolfo Nicholas, S.J. nominating Fr. James Grummer, S.J. as Vicar General of the Society of Jesus, and entrusted the General Congregation to his care, till the election of the new General. He then placed his resignation on the floor of the house, which you already know, was accepted. Fr. Nicholas’ term as General would rank amongst some of the shorter ones, but there were none-the-less eight eventful years. The need for us to be men of depth, to stay focussed, and the universal mission, were three major contributions of Fr. Nicholas, that we will do well to remember in the days ahead. From there on began the task of preparing for the election of a new General.
How do two hundred and fifteen men, many of whom are meeting for the first time, arrive at a decision regards who would be the best person to lead the Society of Jesus over the next decade or so? The thought becomes all the more baffling when you consider that the choice for General need not be restricted to the 215 men in the Aula, but could be any professed Jesuit across the globe. Yesterday afternoon, today and the days ahead will be precisely for this — to get to know one another, to arrive at a shared understanding of our world, the Church and our least Society, and a possible profile of the one to lead us. What underlines the sharings of today and the next few days is a deep respect for different perspectives arising out of different contexts, willingness to listen and openness to the Spirit.
Earlier this morning as I walked out of the Aula, the noise of the leaf blower caught my attention, as the gardener collected the autumn leaves. Summer is on the wane, and autumn beginning, but the streets in Rome are still bustling with crowds of tourists, visibly and audibly loud … and somewhere in that upper room, are these 215 men, listening intently for the promptings of the Spirit. Keep us in your prayers.
Wendell D’Cruz, S.J.