By A Elango and George Peter
New Delhi: The leader of Jesuits has urged his men to work hard to help people lead a dignified life amid refugee crisis, terrorist attacks and unjust social conditions.
“Every human being is holy and deserves respect. Such respect stems from our experience of God’s love,” Fr. Arturo Sosa said on February 19 during the first Mass he celebrated in India.
The superior general of the Society of Jesus arrived in the Indian national capital the previous day on an 11-day visit. He spent the night at the headquarters of South Asian Jesuits in Jor Bagh, New Delhi. Jesuits residing at the headquarters and at the nearby Indian Social Institute in Lodi Road attended the general’s Mass at the Jor Bagh chapel.
Father Sosa was on October 14, 2016, elected the head of the Society of Jesus, the largest Catholic religious congregation for men in the world. He chose India as the first country for his official visit. Indian accounts for the largest number of Jesuits in India.
During the homily, he urged his men to try their best to experience God’s love so that they can work hard to help all to lead “a human and dignified life” in the world.
The 68-year-old leader reminded his men that real conversion occurs only when people act according to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and go beyond the law. “A profound conversion” happens when one is able to “turn the other cheek to” the evil, give it cloak or “walk extra mile with it."
Fr Sosa asked Jesuit to amend the way they normally relate to others so that they can experience this “profound conversion.”
The Venezuelan Jesuit reminded his Indian confreres that their religious life should be entirely dedicated to the promotion of justice, to the ministry of reconciliation among humans, to struggle to change social structures and establish right relation with creation.
The Mass was the Jesuit leader’s last engagement in New Delhi before heading for Jabalpur in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. He will attend the biannual meeting of the Jesuit Conference of South Asia comprising 19 provinces and two regions.
Fr Sosa’s last engagement on February 18 was a meeting with Jesuits of Delhi province at Navjivan Renewal Centre, a spirituality center at Raj Niwas Marg in Old Delhi.
During the talk, he spoke of certain important points in the life of a Jesuit. Every Jesuit, he said, is on a mission to find out God’s will through the discernment process taught by their founder St Ignatius of Loyola. This helps a member of the Society of Jesus to lead a consistent life of commitment for the Kingdom of God and its values.
The general also stressed the need for Jesuit communities to make Eucharist as its center and unifying force so that it could become a mission in itself while it works for God’s mission.
The Jesuit leader also emphasized the need of “affective and effective affinity” toward the poor. “We need to ask ourselves the basic question whether we work for the poor or if we are with the poor.”
The head of Jesuits, who are known as the schoolmasters of Europe, urged his Indian men to strive for “solid intellectual formation” not just for intellectual curiosity, but for the apostolate and to become effective witnesses of God’s Kingdom.
Fr Sosa stressed the need of networking and collaboration with people of good will. “We need to relate with our collaborators as companions in our mission, and not just co-workers in order to establish God’s Kingdom on earth. It is possible only when we are united with Christ in deep prayerful communion,” he added.
Jesuit Father Sunny Jacob, a resident of Jor Bagh, described him as a “very warm, friendly and welcoming” person.