We are now at the business end of the Congregation. As the highest legislative body of the Society of Jesus, there are matters to be considered, some of which will take the form of law. Other matters, like renewing our understanding of our Jesuit identity, our life and mission, for our present times, could take the form of a more inspirational text. But getting 215 Jesuits to agree on a common text, can be quite a task; the process never seems to end. ‘Process’, that is the key!
We were looking forward to Pope Francis’ visit, expecting him to identify for us clear apostolic priorities, a precise space in the Church and the world, that he wanted the Society of Jesus to occupy (It would have made our task here so much easier). He offered us none; but he opened the world to us. He used the word ‘process’ to emphasise the dynamic character of our vocation – an on-going dialogue between our Jesuit identity and mission that we hold together as companions. Our Jesuit vocation flows from the joy of the gospel, looking on the world with the compassion of the cross, discerning where the good spirit leads. In this ongoing dialogue we discern each step forward, with the Cross before us, but not knowing where the path might lead, so with each step forward, we ‘create spaces’ where the seed of the gospel is sown.
The process in the Aula over the last few days has followed similar lines. We have the joy of the gospel to drive us forward, trying to fight off every form of desolation, we are trying to look at our world through His compassionate gaze from the cross, attentive to where the good Spirit is leading us. Sometime in the next few weeks, this process in the Aula has to end. Hopefully it will be concretised in some short decrees, legal and/or inspirational. But we all know, that while the Congregation will end, the ‘process’ will go on, for each of us individually, in our communities, provinces and as a universal Society, for as the Holy Father reminded us, “We neither walk alone nor comfortably, but we walk with a heart that does not rest.”