Manila, Philippines, Jan 29, 2015 / 15:12 pm
During his pastoral visit to the Philippines Jan. 15-19, Pope Francis held an unscheduled meeting at the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila with 40 Jesuit priests and told them how it feels to be the Successor of Peter.
After the meeting with families at the Asia Arena on Jan. 16 in Manila, Pope Francis met with members of his own Jesuit order, including Father Antonio Spadaro, director the of the Jesuit magazine Civilta Cattolica, who shared some of the details of the meeting with CNA.
He said Pope Francis was asked if he liked being the Pope.
"It doesn't displease him and he hasn't lost his peace since becoming Pope but rather has found consolation and great peace," Father Spadaro said.
The Holy Father feels that his ministry from the Chair of Peter "is very much connected to his service as pastor" in Buenos Aires, and that his pastoral experience inspires him to remain close to the faithful, he said.
The Pope also spoke of the role of the Jesuits in the Church, emphasizing the mystical aspect of the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Jesuits "are men of transcendence and discernment. They are not afraid. Those who are afraid are like old people!" he told those gathered, according to the Jesuit priest.
Fr. Spadaro said the Holy Father underscored the importance of an examination of conscience, "which is the fundamental basis of discernment. The examination of conscience means verifying one's personal story in God's light, what one does throughout the day, implying thus a dynamism in one's own life, helping to look beyond the ideas or the rules which ideology can reduce us to."
During the meeting Pope Francis greeted a Jesuit from China and gave him a rosary. "I have a special love for China," the Holy Father said.
This was not the first time the Pope has surprised Jesuits during his apostolic journeys outside the Vatican. He also met with members of the Society of Jesus during his visit to South Korea last August and in Turkey last November. "These meetings tend to be private and low-key," Fr. Spadaro said.