Air force

Global testimonies from Jesuits and lay people
put a spotlight on the Society’s ecological focus.

 CARING FOR OUR COMMON HOME 

The digital version of the latest edition of the magazine of the Society of Jesus, JESUITS 2024, is now available here. It is a striking collection of global testimonies, reflections and concrete examples of how Jesuits and their partners in mission are committed to living out the Fourth Universal Apostolic Preference of the Society of Jesus: “Caring for our Common Home” for the years 2019-2029. 
 
Combining ecology and spirituality: 
 
The publication opens new windows on the Society’s mission in the ecological sphere. In this area, we collaborate with so many others who care about the future of our planet, but we do so from a particular angle – that of the light and depth of the Gospel. 
 
The magazine is divided into the following sections: the voice of the youth; integral ecology, eco-science; eco-spirituality; eco-experiences; eco-education. The 2024 edition also includes a collection of nine articles on “Jesuits at the frontiers”, which collectively are a fascinating read. 
 


The story of the cover image: 
 
The cover image, evocatively titled ‘The way to joy’, is by Jesuit artist Arturo Araujo SJ and Pia Jondonovan. It is part of the artwork series ‘Heaven’s Heart’. In the corridor of Father General’s office in Rome, a series of artworks illustrate the Society of Jesus’ commitment to reconciliation and justice. The panels, created by Arturo Araujo with students from Seattle University, evoke the Society’s Universal Apostolic Preferences. 

The message from Fr General Arturo Sosa SJ: 
 
The change of era we are living through is shaking all levels of our life. The most urgent among the immense challenges facing humanity at this time is to restore the conditions of life on planet Earth. Otherwise, there is no future for our common home. Environmental imbalance, with its effects on the lives of human beings, especially the poorest, touches the hearts of those of us who want to contribute to a world that is more just. The Society of Jesus – Jesuits and those who share the mission of reconciliation and justice – feels it has a responsibility to contribute and to leave to the future generations a living environment in which to breathe clean air, have access to uncontaminated water and enjoy the fabulous diversity of creation.  

We want to follow the example of Pope Francis. Inspired by his commitment to the gospel, in his encyclical Laudato Si’, he made a call heard in all parts of the world and by all people of good will, to listen to the cry of the earth. The Society of Jesus, invited to renew its spiritual and apostolic life, wants to find in the Good News of Jesus Christ the strength to increase its involvement in the care of our common home.   

In the words of the editor, Fr Pierre Belanger SJ:  

I have a niece – just one – and she is 25 years old. She is actively concerned about the future of our planet. She speaks a lot on this topic. And above all, she makes choices in her way of life, consistent with her vision of the world and the future. My niece is, for me, a credible witness.   

What is it that I find most compelling, that prompts me to reflect, to evolve and to commit myself? First and foremost, the personal testimonies of credible people. My Christian life, my religious life, my Jesuit life, have been deeply influenced by credible people, witnesses, I have met along the way. My faith in the Resurrection is based on the testimony of women and men who, on Easter morning, yes, but throughout the centuries have manifested the Life of the Risen One.   

My desire to serve, to help, to support people is rooted in the testimony of my parents. My commitment as a companion of Jesus was made possible thanks to the strong testimony of many Jesuits: first those I met in the College des je suites de Quebec, then the missionaries I knew, and now the courageous companions in Haiti.  All these witnesses have opened the way for me to commit myself to do my best to build a better world.   

The voice of youth: 

Nahir Andrada, from the Ignatian Youth Network in the Province of Paraguay, writes: When I think about the future, I cannot reduce its dimensions to myself. I think of all young people like me. In Paraguay, our future is uncertain. We live doubting that we will be able to find a job that will provide us with the resources to live with decency; not knowing whether the world we know will even exist in a few years, or whether it will be reduced to the ashen landscape portrayed in disaster movies. The Society of Jesus cannot change the whole of reality, but it can change the world of its collaborators, by accompanying the actions of young people with deeds as well as with words.   

We need the Jesuits to walk with us and support us, and not only with their prayers. There is much to be done, and we are all needed. Most importantly, the Jesuits can share funding with partners in mission, creating spaces and jobs where people can pursue their dreams in love, committed to the roots of their Ignatian spirituality. Then, when it comes to formulating projects in favour of ecology, they will find real leaders capable of generating realistic and effective proposals. We, your youthful partners, are your hands, your apostolic body, your burning hearts of service. We are always ready; we are also human beings who require support and care.   

In the words of Collin Price SJ, “If we see ourselves as part of ecological systems, not separate from them, we will take better care of the gift God has given us and learn how to thrive together with each other.” Photo: David McMahon

Seeing ourselves as part of the ecological equation:  

Collin Price SJ from the United States West Province, writes: I saw first-hand the effects of our collective carelessness last summer in Newtok, Alaska. I stood on the bank of the eroding Ningliq River, felt the warm air melting the permafrost and saw remnants of homes that had been washed into the mud. A beautiful landscape scarred by global sins. As I looked across the river and tried to imagine its banks three miles away, where it was just a generation ago, I became aware of how connected our earth is.   

What we eat, the way we move around town, the temperature at which we keep our homes, all affect the livelihoods of people in a small fishing village near the Bering Sea. We have forgotten that we are all connected. Separation harms, but connection heals. If we see ourselves as part of ecological systems, not separate from them, we will take better care of the gift God has given us and learn how to thrive together with each other and with the land.  

Living the call to ecological conversion:  

In the words of Joseph Do Van Lieu SJ, scholastic from the Province of Vietnam: While nature is being destroyed and severely abused, Mother Earth’s cries for help are being forgotten by ambitious human beings. I, as a Jesuit scholastic, feel asked to listen to God’s call through his creation. Yes, it is a call from God who leads me towards an ecological journey where I commit myself to the well-being of the gift of nature.  

The same journey gives me a clear and a vivid experience to contemplate and to see God’s presence in everything, especially in nature. Ecological conversion is a journey which invites me to take responsibility in favour of an integral ecology and the safeguarding of the world from threatening and destructive human activities.  

As a Jesuit, I need to commit myself to promote integral ecology. This invitation requires much collaboration with others because we share the same Mother Earth. Ecological conversion is a concrete way of life. It is a way to live the Gospel through taking care of Mother Earth, where God is relentlessly at work. One should never forget that nature can survive without human beings, but human beings cannot survive without nature.  

Banner image of the remote Kaskawulsh Glacier in the Yukon Territory, northern Canada, by David McMahon.

 

Share This