Loading
Pope focuses on centrality of Christ and Church for Jesuits
Pope Francis outside of the Chiesa del Gesu before celebrating Mass for the July 31, 2013 Feast of St. Ignatius. ANSA/CLAUDIO PERI
Pope Francis outside of the Chiesa del Gesu before celebrating Mass for the July 31, 2013 Feast of St. Ignatius. ANSA/CLAUDIO PERI
By David Uebbing
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Pope Francis celebrated the Feast of Saint Ignatius in Rome by reminding his fellow Jesuits of the dual centrality of Christ and the Church for their lives and their order.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, told journalists July 31 that it was “a unique and beautiful situation” for them as they remembered the founder of their order at the Church of Jesus (Chiesa del Gesú) in Rome.

The Mass began at 8:15 a.m. and was presided over by Pope Francis, who was joined in the celebration by Archbishop Luis Ladaria, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the Father General of the Society of Jesus, Adolfo Nicolas.

In his homily, the Pope reflected on three concepts: putting Christ at the center of the Church, allowing oneself to be conquered by him to serve, and feeling the shame of our limits and sins in order to grow in humility.

Pope Francis began his homily by noting that “the symbol of the Jesuits is a monogram, the acronym for ‘Iesus Hominum Salvator,’ which reminds us constantly of a fact we must never forget: the centrality of Christ for each one of us, and for the entire Society, that St. Ignatius chose to call ‘the Society of Jesus’ to indicate its point of reference.”

“The centrality of Christ,” he added, “also corresponds to the centrality of the Church: they are two flames that cannot be separated. I cannot follow Christ other than in the Church and with the Church. And also in this case, we Jesuits and the entire Society are not in the center; we are, so to say, removed; we are in the service of Christ and of the Church.”

The key to living this “dual centrality,” the Pope taught, is to let oneself “be conquered by Christ. I seek Jesus, I serve Jesus because he sought me first.”

He illustrated his point by recalling “a very descriptive” Spanish phrase: “‘El nos primerea’ – he is always first before us. To be conquered by Christ to offer to this King our entire person, all our effort to imitate him also in withstanding injustice, contempt, poverty.”

Reflecting on putting Christ first, brought Pope Francis to mention Father Paolo dall'Oglio, a Jesuit who has been missing in Syria for several days and is feared dead or kidnapped.

Fr. Lombardi told reporters that the Vatican does not have any “specific information (about Fr. dall’Oglio), so we can’t make a pronouncement on the situation.”

Pope Francis final thought in his homily focused on “the shame of not being able to measure up.”

He drew from the First Week of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, where Christ crucified is contemplated. During that period of mediation, the Pope said, “we feel that sentiment, so human and so noble, that is the shame of not being able to measure up; and this leads us always, as individuals and as a Society, to humility, to living this great virtue.”

“Humility makes us aware every day that it is not we who build the Kingdom of God, but rather it is always the grace of the Lord that acts in us; humility that urges us to give ourselves not in service to ourselves or our ideas, but in the service of Christ and the Church …” he preached.

The Holy Father also kept the eternal perspective in mind, saying that when he thinks “of the twilight of a Jesuit's life, when a Jesuit finishes his life, two icons always come to mind: that of St. Francis Xavier looking to China, and that of Father Arrupe in his final conversation at the refugee camp.”

“It benefits us to look at these two icons, to return to them, and to ask that our twilight be like theirs,” he said.

Pope Francis finished his homily by encouraging the congregation to ask Mary to help them “feel the shame of our inadequacy before the treasure that has been entrusted to us, to live in humility before the Lord. May the paternal intercession of St. Ignatius accompany our path and that of all holy Jesuits, who continue to teach us to do everything with humility, ad maiorem Dei gloriam.”

More than 200 Jesuits and around 600 employees of the institutions they run were present for today’s feast, which was an invitation-only ceremony.

After Mass, the Pope prayed at the altars of St. Ignatius, St. Francis Xavier, the Madonna of the Streets and Father Pedro Arrupe, all of whom are buried in the church.

Before returning to the Vatican, Pope Francis met with the Father General Adolfo Nicolas and some of his fellow Jesuits.
 

Tags: Pope Francis, Jesuits

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
21

Liturgical Calendar

October 21, 2014

Tuesday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 12:35-38

Gospel
Date
10/21/14
10/20/14
10/19/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Eph 2: 12-22
Gospel:: Lk 12: 35-38

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/21/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 12:35-38

Homily
Date
10/21/14
10/20/14
10/19/14