It was impressive to gather all the contributions from
the six Regional Conferences and to spend ten days with the Extended Council -
a true retreat - to listen to what the Spirit wanted to say to the Society in
order to accomplish its mission in our times. Since then, we have noticed that
these Apostolic Preferences are taking root in the lives of our
companions and giving them, and all those with whom we collaborate, dynamism
and genuine joy.
This attitude of discernment in common, nourished by
the conscious practice of spiritual conversation, is now our usual way of
proceeding in Father General’s Extended Council. We have reduced the number of
topics we discuss and we take time for personal prayer to nourish our
conversations. This in no way takes away from Father General’s final
responsibility for decisions, but it does offer an unparalleled quality of
listening, speaking and sharing. This gives me confidence in the governance of
the Society, and I look forward to this approach becoming more common at all
levels of governance. The members of the Council bear witness to this: the
practice of discernment so dear to Ignatius, in both its personal and common
dimensions, is taking root throughout the Society.
It is striking to note that this renewal of
discernment in common within the Society is developing at a time when Pope
Francis is committing the people of God to the path of synodality. This can be
seen as a confirmation that we are working well in synergy with the Church. We
are also encouraged to put the resources of our spirituality at its service.
me, the Extended Council has been a wonderful experience of fraternity. I will
no longer be able to consider the central government of the Society as a
distant entity disconnected from the life of the body. I know that Father
General, together with all the Counselors, Assistants, Secretaries and all the
other members who are at work in Rome, are putting all their human and
spiritual strength at the service of the universal Society.I
will always be grateful to them.