Whoever has taken root in Christ
receives the Spirit that makes him a child of God, free from all
slavery, a co-heir with Christ in the passage from death to life. We
knew an Adolfo who was free – free with the audacity of those who have
lost their fear of following the inspiration of the Spirit. Nourished by
the soil of the Lord in which his roots were well planted, Nico
advanced steadily in the discernment of the spirits and attained the
wisdom of those who are guided by the Holy Spirit.
Through his wise discernment, the
Society of Jesus received an abundance of grace to grow in creative
fidelity to its original charism, responding to the demands of its
contemporary mission. Adolfo made every effort, in the various
responsibilities entrusted to him, especially as Superior General, to
incarnate in the life and work of the apostolic body of the Society the
demands and orientations of the General Congregations that followed the
Second Vatican Council. He strove to serve the Church through our way of proceeding.
He was always available to accompany his brothers and sisters in
religious life in deepening that sense of total consecration to the
Deep roots allow for unceasing growth
and bearing abundant fruit. Nico knew how to make the cries of all
humanity his own, building bridges from east to west, and from north to
south. Like Jesus, Nico knew how to engage diverse cultures, to learn
from them, always giving witness to the Good News. He was well aware of
the "failure to which humanity was subjected". He knew first-hand the
sufferings of migrants and the excluded, forced to live in the
peripheries and at the edges of society. He identified with their desire
for justice and reconciliation.
Nico lived with "the hope that humanity
would be freed from the slavery of corruption to obtain the glorious
freedom of the children of God”. We knew him as a person who was alive
to a universality that was grounded. He never lost sight of the vastness
and complexity of all humanity and was always down-to-earth in
participating in the simplicity of ordinary people's lives.
Adolfo was very intelligent. An
intelligence that did not lead him to take refuge in abstractions but to
penetrate deeply into the concrete life of his fellow human beings,
especially the poorest and that of his Jesuit brothers. An intelligence
that translated into a capacity for concrete service because it
understood each situation, and made room for the inspiration that came
from the Spirit.
For a long time to come, we will enjoy
the abundant harvest produced by this grain of wheat which, having died
to itself, has given so much life in the Spirit. His familiarity with
God illuminated all aspects of his life. From this came his welcoming
smile for each person or group he met, and his serenity in facing
thorny, tricky, or complicated situations without being overwhelmed. May
the Lord give us the grace to receive with joy so much fruit produced
by Adolfo Nicolás and to know how to savour it so that we too can become
disciples and companions of Jesus.
We celebrate this Eucharist in memory of
Adolfo Nicolás on the eve of the feast of Our Lady of the Way, the
Madonna della Strada. A devotion that has inspired the Society since its
beginnings. It reminds us that we are pilgrims, and that we do not walk
alone, but rather accompanied by Mary who takes us by the hand,
following her son Jesus who opens the way to the Father. We do not know
the details of the journey, but we have learned from companions like
Adolfo that it is not necessary to have the map, but to trust in the one
who opens the way for us and in his Spirit who reminds us what is
needed at each moment.
I invite you to turn this encounter
around the Word and the table of the Lord into an Ignatian "colloquy",
first with Nico, our dear friend in the Lord, so that he may share with
us his freedom, his joy, his wisdom, his radical love for Jesus Christ
and his Church. Then with Mary of the Way so that she may help us walk
more swiftly in the way of her Son and make the most of the
opportunities that history opens up for us to show others the way to God.
I also speak with our brother and Lord,
Jesus, the Crucified-Risen One, who precedes us in the loving gift of
self that brings about reconciliation. With God our Father,
acknowledging with gratitude so much good received through Nico and
begging him to fill us with his Spirit, to be collaborators in the
mission of making all things new.