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Pope says a Jesuit is sterile without self-emptying, restlessness for God’s glory

January 03, 2014 - Pope Francis on Friday paid a visit to Rome’s Church of the Gesù, to celebrate the Jan 3rd feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, the namesake of the Society of Jesus or Jesuits. The Pope, history’s first Jesuit pontiff, celebrated Holy Mass in the mother Church of the Jesuits where he paid homage to the co-founder of the Jesuit order, St. Peter Faber, whom he declared a saint on Dec. 17. In his homily, the Pope explained to a packed church that Jesuits who bear the name of Jesus, must have “the same sentiments of Christ, think like Him, love like Him, see like Him, walk like Him and do like him with the very sentiments of Christ’s heart.” But this cannot be unless one empties his heart to self-abasement like Jesus did. The centre of the Society of Jesus is Christ and His Church, and if God is not at the centre, the Pope warned, the Society is disoriented. Self-emptied and open minded, a Jesuit always looks out for the greater glory of God in the horizon that always surprises us – a restlessness which the Pope described as “holy and beautiful”. In this regard, the Pope asked his fellow Jesuits to examine their conscience whether their hearts have maintained this restlessness and anxiety or instead have become atrophied, easy-going and closed in themselves. “One needs to search for God in order to find him, and to find him in order to search for him again and always,” the Pope said, adding, “without this restlessness we become sterile.” In this regard, the Pope held out St. Peter Faber as a model, a man of great dreams who learnt from St. Ignatius of Loyola how to blend his restless yet exquisite sensibility with the capacity to take decisions. Pope Francis also reminded Jesuits that the power of the Church does not live in itself and in its ability to organize, but rather it hides itself in the deep waters of God, in which Faber excelled. The Jesuit Pope spoke about the tempatation of linking linking the proclamation of the Gospel with inquisitorial beatings of condemnation. On the contrary, the Pope said, "the Gospel is preached gently, fraternally , with love." Explaining at length the spirituality of St. Faber, the Pope said we Jesuits are small and sinners, but we want to be soldiers under the banner of the Cross in the Society marked by the name of Jesus.


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