It would be impossible to catalogue all the multifaceted, diverse and fascinating initiatives undertaken by Jesuits and their partners in mission to celebrate this auspicious milestone of the conversion of Ignatius of Loyola. It is fair to ask: So, what next, now that the year has ended? I believe it would be regrettable if the Society were to draw the curtains on Ignatian Year, simply because it was meant to last one year.
The diversity and creativity of this Ignatian Year has brought renewal to the Society of Jesus across the world. Jesuits and collaborators tried new and innovative things; they have discovered new apostolic opportunities to deepen the life-mission of the Society of Jesus. The richness, energy and creativity ought to be harnessed for the ongoing renewal of the Society of Jesus in provinces, regions, communities, apostolates, networks, etc.
Seeing all things new in Christ is a process and a never-ending experience. I wonder what Ignatius would make of these events and activities of his year? Imagine Ignatius contemplating the Jesuit and Ignatian world, just as he did in the contemplation of the Incarnation in the Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius would be proud of the creativity that characterised the activities of Jesuits and partners. He would be delighted to see how much more Jesuits and their partners in mission are still capable of doing and rejoice that the Society he founded is thriving. More importantly, though, I also think Ignatius would exhort Jesuits and partners in mission to “go further still” and not to settle for less or rest on their laurels (Spiritual Exercises, 97).
As we formally conclude the Ignatian Year, may this feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola mark the true beginning of the Ignatian Year. May every year become an Ignatian Year – a time and season of never-ending creativity; a graced opportunity to live up to the best of our traditions and ways of proceeding, always reminding ourselves that Jesuits and partners in mission “are never content with the status quo, the known, the tried, the already existing. We are constantly driven to discover, redeﬁne, and reach out for the magis. For us, frontiers and boundaries are not obstacles or ends, but new challenges to be faced, new opportunities to be welcomed. Indeed, ours is a holy boldness, ‘a certain apostolic aggressivity,’ typical of our way of proceeding” (GC 34, d. 26, no. 26).
May St. Ignatius intercede for us that God may grant us this grace of seeing all things new in Christ now and every moment of our life-mission. Let the Ignatian Year begin!
–Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator SJ, President of Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar.
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