The paths to hope

The recent XVIII General Assembly of the Christian Life Community had a truly multicultural flavour, with 206 delegates from 76 national communities spread across five continents.


By Manuel Martinez A.

The Christian Life Community (CLC) held its XVIII General Assembly from 3 to 12 August at the College of La Providence in the city of Amiens, France.

This important event in the life of the Community takes place every five years. It marks the end of the term of the current World Executive Council. The process to elect new members of the Council, who will govern and serve the World Community, took place during the Assembly.

The Assembly meeting brought together a diverse community from a variety of backgrounds. There were 206 delegates from 76 national communities spread across five continents. This gives some idea of how pluralistic and multicultural the event was. During our meeting, we brought together the fruits of the journey traversed in the past five years, reflected on where we are now, and opened ourselves to discern which paths the Lord wishes us to continue to follow together.

The theme of the Assembly was Discerning the Paths to Hope. The scripture passage that accompanied us came from the Acts of the Apostles: “You will be my witnesses … to the ends of the earth.” And the grace we asked from the Lord was to reveal the way to us, to help us move forward.

One of the “three windows”, which the previous Assembly, in Buenos Aires in 2018, discerned as a call to the CLC, was to move forward in service to those most in need and to sow seeds of mercy, joy and hope.” This was our starting point in Amiens.

Photo by Curia Generalizia della Compagnia di Gesù – Roma

We asked ourselves: How can we live and stand in the world today as a lay, apostolic, and Ignatian community? How do we remain faithful to our identity? We aim to deepen our spiritual, communal, and apostolic charism in order to share with others the gift of Ignatian spirituality, especially the gift of discernment. The gift of our lay vocation urges us on to mission at whatever level we find ourselves.

We are always called to discern paths, means and structures which correspond to our identity: to discern horizons which offer hope to life within the CLC, and to its mission. During Advent, we recall that our life is full of promise, active and creative. It moves us to mission, and in partnership with God, creates and builds up the Kingdom

In 2013, when planning our collaboration in mission, we chose four apostolic frontiers for special attention: Family, Ecology, Globalisation and Poverty, and Youth. In the last few years we have added a fifth frontier: Spiritual Ministry, including spiritual formation. Our desire is to link these frontiers with the “three windows” of Buenos Aires (“Deepening, Sharing, and Moving Forward”). We recognise that communal discernment is our way of proceeding. In this way we can continue to be witnesses of the Risen One who is present in the lives of so many people whom we meet along the way.

Fr Arturo Sosa, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus and the World Ecclesiastical Assistant of CLC, joined us at the Assembly on 6 and 7 August. On 6 August?he presided at Mass in the Cathedral of Amiens and the next day he met with the delegates. We are very grateful that he was available to accompany us in this important moment of the Christian Life Community.

The original version of this article was published on the Jesuits Global website.