Social Apostolate is “Concrete Way” of Following Jesus: Fr. Arturo Sosa, S.J.
BY: ISN STAFF | November 4, 2019
Fr. Arturo Sosa, S.J., the Superior General of the Society of Jesus welcomed delegates to the Golden Jubilee Congress celebrating fifty years of the Social and Ecological Apostolate with an opening address focused on the social apostolate as a concrete way of following Jesus through the accompaniment of God’s people.
As his address came to a close, he offered the following ten points for the Congress delegates to examine with transparency and courage:
- The spiritual dimension of our commitment with social justice and integral ecology: How much does our personal social commitment and that of our works bring us closer to God and point out the pathway to God?
- The role of personal and group discernment in our life-mission: How much are we discerning, personally and institutionally, the mission to which we are invited by the Spirit who acts in history?
- Collaboration among Jesuits, laymen and laywomen, other persons and institutions: To what extent do we take collaboration with other parts of the body as something normal and necessary in our work? To what extent do we build fraternal and horizontal relationships among all?
- The place of women in our social institutions and priorities: What role do women play in processes of discernment and decision-making for our life-mission? What place do they have among the priority challenges of a world that marginalizes women and a Church that is reluctant to recognize their co-responsibility in the leadership of the community of the followers of the Lord Jesus?
- Networking: How much are we working in networks: among us, with other apostolic works of the Society, and with other institutions that from their own identity contribute to the growth of the Lord’s reign?
- Closeness with the poor as a constitutive dimension of the path of redemption opened by Jesus of Nazareth: How close are we with the poor and excluded? To what extent are we effectively disposed to move our lives and work in that direction? How does closeness with the poor condition our way of viewing the world and our sensitivity in facing the situations that we live?
- Our intellectual work. The Society of Jesus has since its birth been associated with spiritual depth, closeness with the poor, and intellectual comprehension of human processes. The discernment that leads us to choose the actions to carry out needs intellectual depth. Do we accompany our social work with the reflection and research that are demanded by the complex global world that confronts us?
- Strengthening the leadership of the poor and excluded: What place in our social plans is occupied by the most excluded groups (migrants, women, youth, the vulnerable of our societies)? Are these people only objects of our mission or, on the contrary, are we opening spaces where they are subjects who have leadership of the processes of liberation?
- Local and global advocacy: Are we concerned about going beyond direct service to develop advocacy processes that can change structures of exclusion and produce the greater and more universal good?
- The commitment to eradicate abuse within and outside the Church as a necessary dimension of the transformation of the unjust structures of society. How great is our sensitivity to sexual abuse and abuse of conscience and power in our institutions, in the Church, and in the whole web of social institutions? Have we developed appropriate strategies to detect, respond, and avoid all forms of abuse? What is the place of the promotion of “a culture of safeguarding” in our struggle for social justice?
Experienced veterans who have spent their entire lives in the field of social apostolate say, “to carry out the fruit of one’s discernment in humbly serving humanity and the Planet, sky is the limit”.