Rome, Church of Jesus, 3 November 2018
Dear brothers and sisters,
We accompany Dominik and Fabrizio in their definitive incorporation into the Society of Jesus between the Feast of All Saints (November 1) and that of all the saints of the Society of Jesus, which we will celebrate on Monday. Today is the day in which we remember Blessed Rupert Mayer, a German Jesuit, sensitive to the needs of the poor and migrants, military chaplain during World War I when he lost his leg and was imprisoned for his radical opposition to Nazi-Fascism in the camp of Sachsenhausen during World War II.
The XV Assembly of the Synod of Bishops dedicated to "Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment" concludes its final document with a call to holiness. In n. 165 we read: All vocational differences are gathered together in the one and universal call to holiness, which after all can only be the fulfilment of that call to the joy of love which resonates in the heart of every young person. Indeed, it is only by starting from the one vocation to holiness that the different forms of life can be articulated, knowing that God "wants us to be saints and does not expect us to be content with a mediocre, watered down, inconsistent existence" (Francis, Gaudete et exsultate, n. 1). Holiness finds its inexhaustible source in the Father, who through his Spirit sends us Jesus, "the Saint of God" (Mk 1:24), who came among us to make us holy through friendship with him, who brings joy and peace to our lives.
Dominik and Fabrizio, like Rupert Mayer in his time, were touched by God's love, invited to friendship with Jesus and to choose a consistent life, full of meaning, freed from all mediocrity. It is the same experience that makes Saint Paul proclaim: “For me, in fact, living is Christ.” The encounter with Jesus takes us in such a way that our life becomes the path to happiness.
The journey towards holiness is not to be walked alone or for oneself, but can only be made accompanied, that is, with others and for the service of others. We live in that tension expressed by the Apostle Paul between the desire to be finally – only and forever – with Christ and the effort to make him known to the greatest possible number of people. The path of holiness is that of reconciliation and justice as expressed in the Beatitudes which we can consider as the map of the path to holiness. Happiness is to be achieved by the poor in spirit, by those who are in tears because of inequality or violence, by those who hunger and thirst for justice, by the merciful, by those persecuted for the cause of the Lord…
The path to holiness leads to communion among human beings of every condition and with creation, to the service of the life of all, now and in the future, and with the Trinity as the source of all good and salvation. A journey that leads us to the Church, the community of believers gathered around the Word and the table of the Lord, sent to march together to make the Good News present in every corner of life and human history.
The Society of Jesus, as we read in the Formula Instituti of 1550, is a way to reach God, instituted with the principal aim of dealing especially with the defense and propagation of the faith, and with the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine... It is also an avenue for people who walk together, as companions aware of personal weaknesses, as sinners forgiven and called to get together around the Lord Jesus and to commit themselves deeply in the service of faith, in the promotion of justice, in interreligious and intercultural dialogue.
Not even the Society of Jesus makes the journey alone, but it does so as part of the community of Christ's followers, that is, within the Church and collaborating in the best possible way in the mission entrusted to it by Christ crucified and risen. In order to guarantee the total dedication of the Society of Jesus and of each of its members to the mission of the Church, a close bond with the Roman Pontiff is established. Again the Formula Instituti :“All who make the profession in this Society should bear in mind, not only when they first make their profession but as long as they live, that this entire Society and the individual members who make their profession in it are campaigning for God under faithful obedience to His Holiness Pope Paul III and his successors in the Roman pontificate. (…) so that whatever the present Roman Pontiff and others to come will wish to command us with regard to the progress of souls and the propagation of the faith, or wherever he may be pleased to send us to any regions whatsoever, we will obey at once, without subterfuge or excuse, as far as in us lies.”
It is a journey, without doubt, as beautiful as we can contemplate it in the Gospels... A journey that is also long and demanding, a journey for men who are very humble and prudent in Christ, such as those invited to the banquet of the parable of the Gospel who, on arriving, put themselves in the last place, waiting for the one who invited them, that is the Lord, to tell them the place to occupy.
Dear Dominik and Fabrizio, welcome once again to this group of companions of Jesus who want to serve the Church with all his energies and with the gifts that the Spirit has given us. You are some of these gifts and we thank the Lord for your vocation and your willingness to follow him with us for the rest of your lives. We are truly happy to welcome you so that we can walk together on the road to holiness. In the text of the Synod mentioned above, it is also written: There is a language that all men and women of every time, place and culture can understand, because it is immediate and luminous: it is the language of holiness (nº 166). Let us ask together for you, for all the members of the Society and all the companions in this mission, to be able to master the language of holiness in order to communicate the joy of liberation in Christ.
May Our Lady of the Way be your permanent companion in your path as Jesuits and may she bring you to her Son's side so that you may always be committed to him in carrying out his own mission.
[Original version - Italian]