Good afternoon and welcome to the presentation of
“Walking with Ignatius”.
How to achieve true freedom is the question that opens
this presentation and the reflection that accompanies it.
An unexpected and long experience of collective and
global health measures, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has revived the yearning
and the question of freedom.
To live in freedom is the greatest aspiration of every
human being and of Humanity. Reality contradicts this aspiration in many ways.
Life in freedom encounters obstacles of all kinds: personal, family, cultural,
economic, social... As humanity, as a people and, many times, as individuals, we
are far from a life of freedom. However, we are convinced that it is possible
to achieve freedom, which is why the question of “how” is so pertinent.
An important aspect of the answer is that it is a “way”,
a process... Freedom is not achieved “in a flash”, suddenly. It is not the
fruit of an act of magic, nor of utopian ideologies, nor a gift from some
populist messiah who offers it just like that. To achieve freedom is,
therefore, to travel a long and complex path of liberation.
The wound received by Ignatius of Loyola in the battle
of Pamplona, five hundred years ago, was a crucial moment in his path of
liberation. With his leg shattered, he became a pilgrim, a wayfarer towards
true freedom. He freed himself from the illusions he had built up from his
family experience and in the royal court, to pursue the ideal built from the
personal encounter with Jesus of Nazareth, which allowed him to discover the
essence of freedom: the love that leads to the surrender of one’s own life so
that others may have life.
On his path of liberation Ignatius discovered that one
does not walk alone towards life in freedom. Following Jesus Christ, one walks
with others, in the community that has gathered around him, which is the
Church. Within the ecclesial community Ignatius found other companions on the
way with whom he founded the Society of Jesus to collaborate in the march of
humanity towards life in freedom.
Remembering the pilgrimage of Ignatius encourages us to
continue on the road to freedom opened up by Jesus’ gift of his life for the
life of the world. The book is inspired by this image of the pilgrim who
gathers many to walk together towards life in freedom.
At this stage of humanity’s journey of liberation, in
which the Society of Jesus wants to collaborate, we need to look at the world
and history with the gaze of the Lord. We have chosen as the motto of this
Ignatian Year 2021-2022 “to see all things new in Christ” because it is not a
question of looking back, nor of exalting the figure of Ignatius of Loyola.
Inspired by his experience, we seek to identify ourselves with the person of
Jesus Christ, the only Lord, in such a way that we may be in tune with the
endearing gaze of the one who gave his life for all human beings so that we may
show the way to life in freedom.
In the book we are presenting we offer some of the
ingredients of the path of liberation that, as Society of Jesus, we are
traveling. I say “we offer” because it has been the fruit of a long and
wide-ranging conversation in the form of an interview with Darío Menor,
completed with points of reflection by Sister Jolanta Kafka in the prologue and
Cristian Peralta, SJ, after each chapter. Enriched with illustrations by
various Jesuit artists, chosen by Pierre Belanger, SJ. Not forgetting the
editorial coordination work of John Dardis, SJ, Jesús Zaglul, SJ and José María
A path inspired by the pilgrim Ignatius is traveled
with a Church that seeks to grow as the People of God on a synodal journey,
contemplates the world with its lights and shadows, evidenced in a clear way by
the global pandemic, and recalls the guidelines that as Society of Jesus we
have for the journey.
We walk with so many other people collaborating in a
mission of reconciliation and justice. We walk with the discarded of the world,
accompanied by young people, sensitive to the deterioration of the environment
and encouraging better care for the Common Home. We walk and show the way to God
through discernment and the Spiritual Exercises that we inherited from Ignatius
As Society of Jesus we want to renew our commitment to
walk, together with the Church and so many other people of diverse cultures,
creeds and geographical locations, the path of liberation. This book is an
invitation to walk with energy and discern the path from the gaze of the Lord
Jesus in order to find the direction of life in freedom for all human beings.
Arturo Sosa, SJ
11 May 2021