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Pope Francis greets an elderly woman as he meets with world of Banado Norte, a poor neighborhood in Asuncion, Paraguay, July 12, 2015. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) 

On Feb. 19, the culture of Jesus sent out to that is members a letter detailing four “universal apostolic preferences,” authorized by Pope Francis, that space to guide the life and also work the the Jesuits end the next 10 years. They center about Ignatian spirituality, poverty, youth and also the environment. The second preference, walking v the poor, gives an opportunity for the Jesuits to change their method of life and also make their mission more credible.

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St. Ignatius explains the 30-day retreat that calls spiritual Exercises as a “way that preparing and also disposing the heart to rid itself of every inordinate attachments, and, after your removal, of seeking and finding the will of God in the disposition of our life for the salvation of our soul.” Anything the can aid people find the will certainly of God is that universal and permanent value for all believers.

The apostolic choice of “walk with the poor, the outcasts that the world, those whose dignity has actually been violated, in a mission the reconciliation and also justice” complies with from two key meditations in the spiritual Exercises. Yet the meaning of that preference can be missed. That is not around directly functioning for the poor, back it definitely includes that. Essentially, it is living choose the poor.

The 2nd preference, walking with the poor, provides an opportunity for the Jesuits to readjust their means of life and also make their mission more credible.

Because Jesuit life is based on the Exercises, my presumption is the this preference is grounded, first, on the “Kingdom meditation,” in which Jesus invites united state to “labor with” him to establish the reign of God on earth. However the an answer Ignatius proposes renders clear that the invitation is an ext to a method of life than to a certain kind the work: “Eternal mr of all things...this is the offering of myself which ns make...to imitate friend in bearing every wrongs and all abuse and poverty, both actual and also spiritual, need to your most divine majesty pick to recognize me to such a state and way the life” (emphasis added).

This is reinforced in the meditation top top the “Two Standards,” in i m sorry Ignatius identifies the corresponding strategies the the devil and also of Jesus. The adversary tempts world to two points that are not in and also of us sinful—to seek wealth and prestige—but nevertheless collection people up for the sin of all sins, pride.

The strategy of Jesus come combat proud is come urge people to embrace two things that in and also of themselves space not good but the together result in one an excellent good. The first, write Ignatius, is “poverty as opposed to affluence”; the 2nd is “insults or contempt as opposed come the call of this world.” this prepare the soil for us to get the third virtue: “humility as opposed to pride.” This strategic understanding may it is in St. Ignatius’ biggest contribution to theology.

If the clergy adheres to Pope Francis’ example, the public photo of the church could be reinvented from among wealth and prestige to one of poverty and humility.

We see a sterling instance of humility in Pope Francis. One of his first notable action when chosen was to move out of the papal palace. The first Jesuit pope refuse the honorific titles and also trappings of papal protocol and also made himself easily accessible to the poor. Francis has adjusted the whole image of the papacy and our expectation of just how a pope must act. If the hierarchy and also clergy follow his example, the public image of the entire church might be reinvented from its photo of wealth and also prestige to one of poverty and humility.

I to be a Jesuit for 32 years. Ns left due to the fact that I felt called to help type a new religious order (which go not work-related out). Though ns was an essential of the means we Jesuits were living the end our vow that poverty and made mine criticism recognized in talks and in the Jesuit publishing “Studies in the Spirituality the Jesuits,” my worries with poverty were not the factor I left. Ns was satisfied I can live an individual poverty, also if communal poor was not all the it must be. But because St. Ignatius calls poverty the “outer bulwark” of religious life, I believed then and still execute that the Jesuits necessary to defend it as a very first priority.

It is to this that the Jesuits have specialized themselves: to “walk v the poor and outcasts that the world” by living like them in “bearing every wrongs and all abuse and poverty,” according to the spiritual Exercises. And in this way to take on the “mission that reconciliation and justice.”

It is to this the the Jesuits have committed themselves: to “walk with the poor and outcasts the the world.”

To “walk with” is to accompany. The is to perform for the poor what God did for the human race by ending up being one that us. Jesus validated humanity by coming to be Emmanuel, “God v us.” Henceforth, naught human can be despised. By becoming negative with the poor, the Jesuits will certainly validate the “outcasts that the world, those whose dignity has actually been violated.”

To paraphrase Philippians 2:5 and Hebrews 4:15, to “walk v the poor” is to let the very same mind it is in in us that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he to be rich, emptied himself, being born in poverty. The is to provide to the poor ministers able come sympathize through what castle experience, being in every respect together they are, other than in what is dehumanizing or detrimental come the higher good.

Jesuit poverty must be as drastically visible and also shocking together the incarnation that Jesus. This statement only repeats Pope Paul VI, who characterized Christian witness together a way of life that “stirs increase irresistible concerns in the understanding of those that see exactly how they live: Why are they like this? Why perform they live in this way?” Jesuits need to live in a means that raises eyebrows. Anybody that sees a Jesuit on the street should have the ability to identify him together one that is at residence with “the poor and outcasts of the world.”

Jesuit poverty have to be as considerably visible and also shocking together the incarnation that Jesus.

Many Jesuit colleges educate primarily the wealthy. True, these high schools and colleges work hard to enroll as many bad students as possible. Nevertheless, in working through the sons and daughters the the top classes, one can conveniently slip into the trappings that the top classes. Have to the culture take its men out that these colleges or accept the challenge of life a bad lifestyle within them?

Living a poor lifestyle is a communal challenge. Stack Thomas, S.J., who operated with the bad in El Paso, Tex., said me that his disappointed when, in ~ a Jesuit conference in mobile Ala., he was offered steak. “The civilization I job-related with get a piece of meat like this maybe when a year,” Father thomas said. “I don’t desire to eat steak. Yet it’s all there is.” Not uncommon is the story that a college faculty member who was regularly invited come dinner at a Jesuit community and told one of his hosts: “I love dinner v the Jesuits. I can’t afford to eat favor that myself.”

So just how does one live poverty once it is not a communal commitment? that is the gauntlet the Jesuits have actually just take away up. Their 2nd apostolic preference, as I understand it, is to make poverty real.

Making poverty real have the right to be done, beginning with separation, personal, instance choices. Though surrounded by Vatican affluence, Pope Francis resides simply. In father Thomas’s biography, the photograph of his room is austere. Unlike many Franciscans, Jesuits don’t wear a habit, yet nothing would save them from wearing inexpensive clothes from the Goodwill store.

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Making poverty real have the right to be done, start with separation, personal, instance choices.

Do these instances sound ridiculous? Is this unrealistic? right here is wherein the speak to to discernment comes in. As soon as he to be a missionary in Japan in the 1500s, St. Francis Xavier found he might only victory over the Japanese because that Christianity by converting the judgment class. To execute this, he and also his companions gift themselves as dignitaries. It bore fruit by obtaining them access to scholars and other spiritual and civil leaders they would certainly not have encountered otherwise.