It is common knowledge, since the preparatory phase, that there are two significant topics under consideration for this Congregation: the revision of governance structures for a universal mission and a reflection on the renewal of life and mission.
This Congregation does not speak of identity and mission, a familiar and classic theme. Rather, it speaks of life and mission—perhaps because we can sense that identity is something abstract, which becomes concrete through a way of life intimately linked to mission.
We talked with Fr. Rafa Velasco, SJ, about this topic, he confirms that for him, “One of the more serious problems in the Society of Jesus is the way we live, not what we do. That’s why the questions of this Congregation should be more directed toward the manner in which we live out what we do, and to what extent that undertaking serves as a testimony to the Reign of God that we announce.”
One of the implications is the understanding of community as mission and in what way our choices for communal living are signs of our mission: in which places do we find our communities, in favor of whom, how are they open to those most poor, to what extent are they near to the needs of the suffering and to victims…
This reflection is important, Fr. Velasco points out, since a discussion on life touches what we do and affects our options. “It implies that there are things we should change about our way of doing things and this generates many forms of resistance.” However, at the same time, it’s also a source of grace and conversion. Fr. Rafael, a member of the commission working on this theme, ends by saying: “Hopefully, talking about life and mission, discerning about life and mission at the General Congregation means a process of spiritual conversion for the Society of Jesus, for us as Jesuits, which results in a more fruitful mission, that becomes a sign of what we believe and what we live.”