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Cp70-8 14 July 2012
Press Release n. 08
Our life in common was at the heart of today's reflections and conversations. Two Procurators introduced the theme.
Father Andreu Oliva de la Esperanza, from the Province of Central America (El Salvador), spoke about community as mission, pointing out both positive and negative aspects of our life in common today in light of the 35th General Congregation. He particularly highlighted those elements that make up community life as mission, reminding us what the 35th General Congregation has said: "Community life is the privileged place for collective witnessing, where we live a personal and communal relationship with the Lord, mutual relationships as friends in the Lord, solidarity with the poor and the marginalized, and a lifestyle that respects creation". These relationships mirror some characteristics proper to our common life, which friendship and an authentic evangelical lifestyle render more credible. However, for this to take place, community structures which meet these new demands need to be rethought.
Father Michel Nader, from the Province of the Near East, reminded us that community life emerged out of the last General Congregation as an essential dimension of our Jesuit life. He emphasized that "we cannot think about community life as something done in isolation, as something independent from what makes up our spiritual identity and our mission as Jesuits." He then moved on to make some observations about our spiritual and apostolic community life in the Society saying that "when spiritual sources dry up in us, we should not be surprised that we behave like the rest of the world". He concluded by saying that "reflecting about community life in the Society is an open-ended project, a great challenge which we face..., therefore we cannot live outside this fraternal context, since people who love us will feel more at ease with us if they find us to be honest with our obligations and happy to be together as Jesuits". However, the topic merits more research and further deepening.
After some time for personal prayer, the Procurators gathered in language groups to evaluate the presentations they heard and answer three questions: What are some positive aspects of our communities that can help other communities? What are the challenges and difficulties that we find in our communities? What kind of recommendations can be made to Father General for the benefit of the whole Society?
These three questions were engaged during the afternoon session. The session ended with a summary by Father General of the day's work.