De-centering the Jesuits (Backdate)
Robert P. Imbelli July 31, 2013 - 1:27pm
... and the rest of us.
From Pope Francis's homily on this feast of Saint Ignatius, preached at the Jesuit mother church in Rome, il Gesù:
The emblem of us Jesuits is a monogram, the acronym of “Jesus, the Saviour of Mankind” (IHS). Every one of you can tell me: we know that very well! But this crest continually reminds us of a reality that we must never forget: the centrality of Christ for each one of us and for the whole Company, the Company that Saint Ignatius wanted to name “of Jesus” to indicate the point of reference. Moreover, even at the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises he places our Lord Jesus Christ, our Creator and Saviour (Spiritual Exercises, 6) in front of us. And this leads all of us Jesuits, and the whole Company, to be “decentered,” to have “Christ more and more” before us, the “Deus semper maior”, the “intimior intimo meo”, that leads us continually outside ourselves, that brings us to a certain kenosis, a “going beyond our own loves, desires, and interests” (Sp. Ex., 189). Isn’t it obvious, the question for us? For all of us? “Is Christ the center of my life? Do I really put Christ at the center of my life?” Because there is always the temptation to want to put ourselves in the center. And when a Jesuit puts himself and not Christ in the center, he goes astray.
By sheer coincidence (Providence?) I happened to consult Henri de Lubac's great work, Catholicism, only to discover that the original "Introduction" is dated: July 31, 1937, Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola. The great theologian, influential upon both Benedict XVI and Francis, wrote: "If Christ is the sacrament of God, the Church is for us the sacrament of Christ She represents him in the full and ancient meaning of the term: she really makes him present."
And this twenty-five years before Vatican II!
About the Author
Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is an associate professor of theology at Boston College.