The heart on the horizon

Breaking new ground at the CLC

By Manuel Martínez Arteaga
[From “Jesuits 2021 - The Society of Jesus in the world”]

When in February 2019 the Society of Jesus shared the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP) 2019-2029, here at the Christian Life Community (CLC) – an international association of lay people with an Ignatian charism and spirituality – we were filled with joy. We sensed the convergence of two processes begun at different times and carried forward by two apostolic bodies that live their Christian vocation according to two different states of life. With a universal outlook and guided by the Spirit, we have decided to turn our gaze toward the same horizon. This gaze is in line with the kairos the Church is experiencing. As we find ourselves breaking new ground, Pope Francis with his encyclicals and apostolic exhortations, makes us feel at one with the Church, inviting us to a greater commitment, to “come out of ourselves in order to meet others.”

The last General Assembly (Buenos Aires 2018) focused our attention on deepening communal discernment. As CLC, we then feel called to offer ourselves, achieving a better integration of our three dimensions: spirituality, community and apostolic impulse. And we know, because we have experienced it, that discernment in common is what gives unity of purpose. It is part of who we are, it is at the heart of our mission and it is the way we do things. Pope Francis has insisted very much on the need for discernment at this time. It is one of the least developed facets, both in the Church and in society. In permanent contact with reality – source of inspiration – we are invited to open up places for coming together that allow us to create a culture of discernment. We are convinced that, through discernment and its fruits, we are meant to create, transform, reconcile and love. May who we are shine forth.

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Our reading about what happened in Buenos Aires kindles anew our deepest desire to be an apostolic body, in which “our way of being is mission and we will have to boldly dedicate every effort” wherever we are in order to continue building the Kingdom. There are many examples throughout the world in which CLC is committed to concrete actions. The experience in conflict mediation, led by CLC in Spain with the collaboration of Elias Lopez SJ – who works on reconciliation – regarding the situation in Catalonia, has meant truly experiencing a community of discernment aimed at creating reconciliation. It is a proposal that recognizes the formation of people as the only real tool for peace: to be trained in the pedagogy of forgiveness and to shape oneself conforming to Jesus. It is a way to help in the transformation of society as a response to following Jesus. We walk striving for harmonious living that goes hand in hand with justice and the invitation to integral reconciliation with God, with others and with our Common Home.

The youth have become a priority for the Ignatian family. They are also a priority for CLC. The apostolic exhortation Christus vivit has given us a new framework, one that is more essential, more profound and more apostolic. Each heart’s personal encounter with the living Christ leads to a personal life commitment. It is important to give young people dynamic, cheerful, enthusiastic and creative common spaces so that they can continue their process of growth, accompaniment, discernment and celebration. Ignatian spirituality, and in particular the path of the Spiritual Exercises, is a cherished gift that we can share with the Church. Youth can be considered a vulnerable stage. However, “it is young people, with their perspective, who can help us better understand the changing times we are living and the new hope they promise” (Father Sosa). Therefore, it becomes a responsibility to work with them and for them structurally, preventively and with lasting foresight. It is the best way to build a more just and more humane world.

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These times we are living represent a new opportunity to move forward in our permanent journey of learning and maturing as collaborators in the mission of Christ, which has been entrusted to the Church. We are often to be found working together in the different places where we have a presence. We drink from the same spiritual source – the Spiritual Exercises – and we have set ourselves a hope-filled challenge that invites us to be creative in the search for new ways to give concrete answers to this world that needs to be reconciled.

The reading of the UAPs, the different missionary fields of CLC, the messages of Pope Francis, do not make sense if we read them independently. We live in a hyper-connected world. The great problems have an ever growing more global impact. Our approach to them, our actions and our outlook on the horizon must be integral. Prayer and discernment in common are the basis for bringing about unified action. In CLC we want to continue along the path of deepening our identity and we wish to keep on sharing the journey with those who contemplate the horizon with confidence and hope.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles public relations.

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