Weekend Reflections for 5/11/18
Why have the Jesuits chosen the theme of reconciliation to guide our discernment for the future? This choice is the result of an ongoing process of “reading the signs of the times,” (Mt 16:4), discernment, rooted in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Just as St. Ignatius had to discern his own life journey from his initial conversion and pilgrimage to his final determination to gather together companions into the “Company” (Society) of Jesus, so too Jesuits continue to read the signs of the times, and adapt our ministries through a process of ongoing discernment in collaboration with our partners in ministry. This priority of reconciliation has been confirmed by the three most recent Jesuit General Congregations 34, 35 & 36.
The New Jerome Biblical Commentary explains “reading the signs of the times” as “God gives hints of his will in each age, but believers must be attentive to them. The saying is an invitation to the hermeneutics of history and as such a permanent challenge to the church” (p 659). It was a basic summons of the Second Vatican Council to continue Jesus’ mission through the renovation of the church, grounded in Jesus’ mandate.
Our ongoing challenge is to reflect deeply on the events unfolding before our eyes, judge them by the values of Jesus’s good news, and respond to them out of mature faith. This unending dynamic process of the “ecclesia semper reformanda” (ever-reforming church) is succinctly summarized in three steps of Catholic Social Teaching to: “see, judge, act” on the signs of the times around us. And it is in this context that the Society of Jesus has chosen three dimensions of “reconciliation” as our next steps in this process: reconciliation: with God, with humanity, and with creation. We will develop these three in the next three weeks of White House Reflections, but for here and now, you might take some time in the next week to “see, judge, and act” on the “signs of the times” in your own personal, ecological and social context, our world groaning for reconciliation. (Romans 8:2).
-Fr. Ted Arroyo, S.J.