At our Jesuit School of Theology—Hekima University College—in Nairobi, Kenya, there are a series of unique paintings of the Way/Stations of the Cross in the chapel. Of the various people portrayed, only the eyes of one person—those of Jesus—are open. All others are closed! I have often wondered what the artist, poet and theologian from Cameroun, Fr. Engelbert MVENG, SJ, wanted to invoke in us through this piece of art.
GC36 continues our pilgrim voyage, searching for the way and direction that the Lord may be pointing out to us. Sometimes our vision on this pilgrimage is foggy, thanks to various types of spiritual and physical “ecological pollutions.” We seek for clarity. We desire for our eyes to be open, especially the eyes of our heart. And we pray that the Lord, whose eyes alone are open, may grace us to see through His own eyes. It is said that when Fr. Pedro Arrupe was the Superior General, he was once asked where the Society was heading. He replied, “Where the Lord is leading her!” All we want is the inner eyes to see where it is the Lord is calling the Society of Jesus today, and to have the courage to generously respond.
Yesterday Fr. General Arturo gave a formal address to the Congregation, during which he outlined his “First reflections on the Central Government of the Society of Jesus.” His speech was very consoling. He spoke in a way that exhibited both leadership and inspiration. Governance structures are only a means to enable us, in our communal living, to be more effective in carrying out the mission entrusted to us by the Lord. With the rapid changes and complexities of our modern world, every governance structure would need to have an in-built mechanism for necessary adaptability, while creatively remaining faithful to its fundamental goal.
Sometimes we see things more clearly through the eyes of our heart. So too do we often hear better through the ears of our heart! When a teenager returned home very late one night, he found his mother seating alone by the fire place, with her eyes closed. As he tip-toed past her, she called his name! “Mum, I thought you were asleep,” he said. “My eyes may be closed,” she replied, “but the eyes of my heart are always open!”
And so as this Congregation continues to gaze at our world and to listen to each other in our deliberations, we strive for a wider opening of the inner eyes and ears of our heart!
Chuks Afiawari, SJ