DAY SEVEN: Jesuit General Meets with Jesuits in Formation

Rev. Fr. Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, concluded his Philippine visit with a meeting with Jesuit formands yesterday afternoon, December 14, at the Cardinal Sin Center, Loyola School of Theology. 

Just hours after arriving from Cagayan De Oro City, Fr. General Sosa addressed an eclectic audience of novices and formands in First Studies, Regency (from Zamboanga), and Theology. Many of them are Southeast Asian and African residents of Arrupe International Residence.

Loyola House of Studies Rector Fr. Silvino Borres presented the formands’ general sentiments and various “lights and shadows” concerning formation. Addressing the formands, Fr. General Sosa said he felt pleased to have gained “a better picture of the context of where you are, and I’m happy for this opportunity at the end of the visit.”

Fr. General Sosa provided a quick recap of the five main discussion points he underscored during his discussions from days past, namely, universal apostolic preferences, poverty in life’s missions, safeguarding of minors, collaboration and the Synod on Young People, and faith and vocational discernment.

Fr. General Sosa reminded the formands that, in understanding that their mission as Jesuits should go beyond mere “work,” they should look to the First Companions in Venice for their inspiration to carry on: “The most powerful image in the Society is the First Companions, our inspiration for our life and mission. They lived close to the poor, served the poor and lived with the conditionS of the poor, and led a spiritual life of prayer.”

Fr. General Sosa also gave importance to the value of building community in the Society: “Being Jesuit means more than just doing what we do, but a way of living together, and collaborating together. To build a community is our mission in the Society forever–from the novitiate to the infirmary. The Eucharist is the source of our community life, the foundation of our energy that makes possibilities.”

Reflecting on the topic of discernment, Fr. General Sosa highlighted the two “legs” of every Jesuit: “Our spiritual life and the intellectual way of approaching reality are the legs of the Jesuit. They need to be in equilibrium in order for us to run, because the times demand us to do so. The structure of probation is the time to test, prove, and see if a man has a vocation to the Society, to the religious and consecrated life. Together with intellectual formation, a Jesuit needs time and all the dimensions of his person.”

During the celebration of the Holy Mass, Fr. General Sosa encouraged the formands to think concretely of God’s surprises: “Brothers, do we listen to God in our lives? Are we still being called to go to mass fervently? Let us allow God to surprise us.”

In his homily, Fr. General Sosa centered on the Jesuit ideal of the magis. “Magis does not simply mean ‘extra.’ For a Jesuit to live out the magis, he must have space in his heart for the ever-greater God. In times of crises, suffering, and vulnerability, how is God creating space in your life? People listen to God when they are open to surprises, when they see them as God’s way of opening up space again. Let us listen to God’s voice once more.”