TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE MEETING
"EUROPEAN JESUITS IN FORMATION"
Aulette of the Paul VI Hall
Wednesday, 1 August 2018
Good morning. I'm happy to welcome you. Thank you so much for this visit, it's good for me. When I was a student, when we had to go to the General, and when we had to go with the General to the Pope, he would bring his cassock and cloak. I see this fashion is gone, thank God.
The priest made me laugh when he spoke of unifying the Jesuit ministry. I understood that it was a question of unifying the souls and hearts of the Jesuits, not the modalities, because if this is done, the Society of Jesus ends. The first role of the General was said to "graze the Jesuits", and another said : "Yes, but it is like grazing a herd of frogs": one from here, one from there ... But this is beautiful, because it takes a great freedom, without freedom you can not be Jesuit. And a great obedience to the shepherd; who must have the great gift of discernment to allow each of the "toads" to choose what he feels the Lord asks him. This is the originality of the Company: unity with great diversity.
Blessed Paul VI told us, in the XXXII General Congregation, that there where there are intersections of ideas, problems, challenges, there is a Jesuit. Read that speech: in my opinion it is the most beautiful speech that a Pope has made to the Company. It was a difficult time for the Company, and Blessed Paul VI began the conversation like this: "Why do you doubt? A moment of doubt? No! Courage!". And I would like to link it with another speech, not of a Pope but of a General, of Pedro Arrupe: it was his "swan song", in the refugee camp in Thailand, I do not know whether in Bangkok or south of Bangkok. He made that speech at the plane and landed at Fiumicino with the stroke. It was his last sermon, his will. In these two speeches there is the frame of what the Compagnia must do today: courage, going to the suburbs, to the intersections of ideas, problems, of the mission ... There is the will of Arrupe, the "song of the swan" , prayer. It takes courage to be a Jesuit. It does not mean that a Jesuit must be unconscious, or reckless, no. But have courage. Courage is a grace of God, that Pauline parrhesia ... And it takes knees strong for prayer. I believe that with these two discourses you will have the inspiration to go where the Holy Spirit will tell you, in the heart.
Then we talk about communication, which is one of your themes. I really like the communication method of San Pietro Favre: yes, Favre communicated and let the others communicate. Read the memorial: it is a monument to communication, both the inner one with the Lord and the external one with the people.
And I thank you for what you do. Go ahead, at intersections, without fear. But be anchored to the Lord.
Pray for me, do not forget! This work [by the Pope] is not easy ... Perhaps this seems a heresy, but it is usually fun. Thank you.
We still have a few minutes: if any of you want to ask a few questions or some reflection, let's take advantage of these minutes. So I learn from your heresies ...
Question [in English]: Thank you for your words, Holy Father. The theme of our meetings is communication, young people. Someone once told me that being religious or priests means that one thing we will never have to face is unemployment. But many young people, even with a high level of preparation, are at risk of unemployment. I find this a challenge for me, to see things from their point of view, because I know that the Society of Jesus and the Church will always have a task for me, somewhere. I find this a great challenge for communication: this is an experience of unemployment that I know I will never have. It's something that I find difficult ...
Perhaps this is one of the most acute and painful problems for young people, because it goes right to the heart of the person. The person who has no work, feels without dignity. I remember once, in my land, a lady came to tell me that her daughter, a university student, spoke several languages, did not find a job. I moved with some laymen there, and they found a job. That woman wrote me a note saying: "Thank you, Father, because you helped my daughter to regain her dignity". Not having work removes dignity. And more: it's not the fact that you can not eat, because you can go to Caritas and feed them. The problem is not being able to bring home bread: it takes away dignity. When I see - you see - so many young people without work, we will have to ask ourselves why. You will surely find the reason: there is a reorganization of the world economy, where the economy, which is concrete, gives way to finance, which is abstract. At the center is finance, and finance is cruel: it is not concrete, it is abstract. At the center is finance, and finance is cruel: it is not concrete, it is abstract. And there it is played with a collective imagination that is not concrete, but it is liquid or gaseous. And at the center is this: the world of finance. In his place there should have been the man and the woman. Today this is, I believe, the great sin against the dignity of the person: move it from its central place. Speaking last year with an International Monetary Fund executive, she told me that she had a desire to make a dialogue between the economy, humanism and spirituality. And he told me: "I managed to do it. Then I got excited and I wanted to do it between finance, humanism and spirituality. And I could not do it, because the economy, even the market economy, can open up to the social market economy, as John Paul II had asked; instead, finance is not capable, because you can not grasp finance: it is 'gaseous' ". Finance resembles the chain of Saint Anthony on a worldwide scale! So, with this shift of the person from the center and with putting at the center something like finance, so "gaseous", they generate emptiness in the work.
I wanted to say this in general because there are the roots of the problem of lack of work, posed by your question: "How can I understand, communicate and accompany a young person who is in that situation of not working?". Brothers, it takes creativity! Anyhow. A courageous creativity, to look for the way to meet this situation. But it's not a superficial question, the one you did. The number of youth suicides is increasing, but the governments - not all - do not publish the exact number: they publish up to a certain point, because it is scandalous. And why hang themselves, these young people commit suicide? The main reason for almost all cases is the lack of work. They are unable to feel useful and end up ... Other young people do not feel like facing suicide, but seek an intermediate alienation with addictions, and dependence, today, is an escape from this lack of dignity. Do you think that behind every dose of cocaine - we think - there is a big world industry that makes this possible, and probably - I'm not sure - the biggest money movement in the world. Other young people on the mobile phone see interesting things as a project of life: at least they give a job ... This is real, it happens! "Ah, I take the plane and go to enlist in ISIS: at least I will have a thousand dollars in my pocket every month and something to do!". Suicides, addictions and exit to the guerrillas are the three options that young people have today, when there is no work. This is important: understand the problem of young people; make [that young man] feel that I understand him, and this is communicating with him. And then move to solve this problem. The problem has a solution, but we must find the way, we need the prophetic word, we need human inventiveness, we need to do many things. Getting your hands dirty ... My answer to your question is a bit long, but they are all elements to make a decision in communication with a young person who has no job. You did well to talk about this, because it's a problem of dignity.
And what happens when a Jesuit has no work? There is a big problem there! Speak early with the spiritual father, with the superior, make a good discernment on why ...
Thank you. I do not give you more work [to the translator].
Tomorrow is the feast of St. Peter Favre: pray for it to give us the grace to learn to communicate.
Let us pray to Our Lady: Ave or Maria ...
And please do not forget those two discourses: that of Blessed Paul VI, in 1974, at the XXXII General Congregation, and that of Father Arrupe in Thailand, his swan song, his will.