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Reflecting on the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs)

The Voice of God through the UAP’s - By John Maro, SJ

The words of Fr. General, “Suppose God speaks to you today! What would He tell you?” was the preliminary question of Frs. Mark Ravizza’s and John Dardis’ presentations on the UAP’s at Arrupe Jesuit University. These words were inspirational for me and they presented a new way of perceiving the UAPs as God’s voice calling each one of us to respond to the cry of our contemporary world. In connection with the contemplation of the incarnation where the Trinity looks down and sees the world in chaos and decide to send the second person to save humanity, God is inviting and sending us for the same purpose.

The preferences are a call to imitate Jesus, that is, to show others a way to God the way He showed us, to set the prisoners free, to liberate the captives, and to give hope to the hopeless. If He, our Lord and Master, has washed our feet, we also ought to wash each other's feet (Jn 13:14) through the implementation of the UAPs. Since we want to be distinguished as companions of Jesus, and have already heard God’s voice, we should ask ourselves “what ought I to do?” in my apostolate, region, province and the universal Society at large, taking into consideration time, person and place.



The UAPs: A direction for Our Vocation - By Abel Ogonah SJ

In our life as religious men and women in various capacities and realms of life, there is a persistent call to turn our hearts to God. This is to do God's will in our lives. Our desires and dreams lead us to realize God's will for us. We, however, need to pay attention and to know how they lead us to this course. The Universal Apostolic Preferences are the expression of the Society's desires. As companions of Christ, we want to show people a way to God through the spiritual exercises hence win many people for Christ. Following in the footsteps of our head, Christ Himself, cannot be done better than showing solidarity with the poor and walking with the marginalized. The youth are taken away by false . They need hope in life. It is our task to work with them, empower them and create an environment where they can grow and live to actualize their potentialities. Finally, we realize that the earth is God’s hence it must be taken good care of and so that it becomes a comfortable home for all and sundry.

In this manner, the UAPs are a process, direction or an orientation for our realization of our vocation. With them, we discern and respond appropriately to the call of Christ who came save not the healthy and righteous, but the sick and sinners, who desire healing and redemption (cf Mat 9:12-13). The big question for each one of us individually and collectively is: how can we make these UAPs into a narrower focus?



Drawing nearer to God through the UAPs - By Evans Okoth Okoth SJ

Before the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) workshop at Arrupe Jesuit University, I was in the category of those who thought that the UAPs were all about what I ought to do. This notion changed when the two facilitators brought it to our attention that the UAPs are dynamic means of how God is calling me to live and to be, or rather, a call to draw nearer to God in the course of these ten years. Reflecting on this new understanding gives me a beautiful image of a God who works in and with me gradually and allows me to dream with him of a better me in a decade to come.

For me to be in a position of leading others to God, a lot of spiritual capital will be invested in me and much will be expected in return. Reflecting on it challenges me to have an open heart, mind, and will, for this end to be achieved.



New wine, New wineskins; Taking on the reality of the UAPs - By Michael Odhiambo SJ

After the resurrection of Christ, he reassured his disciples that he would send them the Holy Spirit who was to be their teacher and reminder of all that Christ had taught them. It was a promise that materialized and the same Spirit has continued to teach us, and to remind us of the reality that we find ourselves in in our world today; the poor are getting poorer, the youth are continuously seeking identity and a listening ear and the environment is being polluted. The challenges today are so dynamic that we need dynamic means to mitigate them.

The Universal Apostolic Preferences invite us to desire a new path and a different outlook on what matters to us today. This comes in the form of a spiritual path that offers a dynamic means to be guided by the Holy Spirit, embracing the communal dimension of Ignatian spirituality and spiritual conversations, and discernment in common. These are key aspects to see the implementation and the adaptation of the U.A.Ps. It is that moment that we need to open our hearts and minds to listen to each other recognizing the voice of the Holy Spirit in each one of us. The preferences are the visions of the Society for ten years, where we are to journey with people through discernment and Spiritual Exercises, to accompany the youth and the poor, and take care of our sister/brother earth. It is a vision that we are invited to see things with the eyes of God.

Annotation 53 of the Spiritual Exercises invites us to gaze at Christ on the cross and ponder on these crucial issues, what have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? And what ought I to do for Christ? We are invited to a process of self-giving and hearing the voice of God telling us, “you can’t give your life for a small dream”, thus being invited to a spiritual moment of defining our own dreams, our formation at Arrupe, and that of the Society of Jesus as a whole. We pray and hope that as we dream so deeply that our desires would meet that of God. Without forgetting the core of our Ignatian spirituality, the Examen; to examine all our actions and to order them and to make a resolution to continue with these conversations at community and family level and any other avenue that might be useful. All for the greater glory of God!


Source: Eastern Africa Province