After a long period of discernment, the Jesuits worldwide announced four Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP) in Winter 2019. These Preferences will guide the global Jesuit mission for the next decade.
All of us who are inspired by the spirituality and mission of the Jesuits are invited to join in this mission through prayer and action. Though we may not be Jesuits, we are all called to love more deeply. These Preferences identify some of the most pressing needs facing our Church and world. In Chapter Five of "Works of Love," we consider the second Preference, "walking with the excluded," and what this means for each of us.
Of this Preference, the Jesuits write:
"To become companions on the way in the style of Jesus, we need closeness to the poor. Our mission continues to be the service of faith and the promotion of justice. Today, we are particularly called to strive for a path that promotes social justice and reconciliation, for a culture of hospitality for all forcibly displaced, for the promotion of a culture of safeguard of all vulnerable persons."
Let us all strive to accompany our brothers and sisters and to offer hospitality to those whom society has excluded.
With Whom Do We Walk in the Way?
"As I begin my prayer, I ask for the Grace: of desiring to be closer to the poor, the outcasts, the victims of abuses.
I am confronted by Jesus’s identification with the marginalized.
I let myself be challenged by the desires expressed in the second UAP.
What has been my experience of being close to the poor and marginalized and what have I gained from it? How can I make this closeness more effective and fruitful? How do I experience my apostolate as mission of justice and reconciliation? I consider these questions and talk about them with the Lord.
Following my prayer, I reread section B of Fr. General’s letter Feb. 2019 "To walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice" (pp. 3-4)."
Matthew 5:1-11 – The Beatitudes
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for what is right.”
Luke 10:25-37 – The Parable of the Good Samaritan
"Go and do likewise."
|WALKING WITH THE EXCLUDED|
Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus
The second of four Universal Apostolic Preferences announced by the Jesuits in early 2019 is "walking with the excluded." It states: "We desire, first and foremost, a conversion in our own hearts, that makes us alive and sensitive to the suffering Christ in our midst. Our communities desire to be more hospitable and open, learning how to live more deeply in the Spirit of Jesus, a Spirit that welcomes."
Learn more about this important priority of the global Jesuit mission.
Stories from the Venezuelan Diaspora (Jesuit Refugee Service/USA)
The invitation to "walk with the excluded" is all about accompaniment and hospitality, getting to know those who are excluded and welcoming them into our community.
"Venezuela is in the midst of a humanitarian emergency. Approximately 5,000 people leave Venezuela every day due to severe economic contraction, hyperinflation, political turmoil, persecution, and inability to access food, medicines, and healthcare." The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is working to accompany, serve, and advocate for these people. JRS/USA has shared the stories of a few of the people they are serving, so that we might get to know their stories.
Who exactly are we talking about when we say "the excluded"? In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis makes this clear:
"We have created a 'throwaway' culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society's underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised — they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the 'exploited' but the outcast, the 'leftovers'" (Evangelii Gaudium 53).
The full text of Evangelii Gaudium is available for free here.
Blessed are the Refugees, for They Are the Presence of God
Fr. Leo O'Donovan, S.J., Executive Director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, wrote this prayer for us to pray for the conversion of our own hearts and to bring the needs of refugees before God.
Click here to pray.
|HOW TO GET INVOLVED|
with Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
"If you are a student, parishioner, or simply a person who wants to assist forcibly displaced individuals, there are several ways you can help within your local community."
Organize. Advocate. Get involved with JRS/USA.
UAP: Walking with the Excluded
For specific ideas on ways to take action in response to the Jesuit Universal Apostolic Preference "Walking with the Excluded," the Jesuits Global offer a few ideas.
Click here, and then scroll down to the "Take Action" section.
BECOME AWARE OF GOD'S PRESENCE
Take a few deep breaths. It’s the same air that we all breathe - from the refugee on the road to those of us in the comfort of our home. It’s the breath of the Spirit that gives life to each and every one of us. God is present.
Take a moment to gather the information you know about a refugee situation or crisis. Where is it happening? Who is being affected? Where are they going? How are they being welcomed?
As you review the information, what strikes you? What do you keep returning to? How does it make you feel? Are you angry? Upset? Saddened? Inspired to make a change?
CHOOSE ONE FEATURE AND PRAY FROM IT
By this point, you may have identified one thing — a thought, an image, or a feeling — that you can’t leave behind. It’s something that sticks with you. Pray from it.
LOOK FORWARD TO TOMORROW
Carry that thought, image, or feeling to the next day. How will it form tomorrow? What will you do differently? Move away from indifference and allow this prayer to become inspired action on behalf of refugees and the forcibly displaced.
God of all people,
We pray that we may accompany those on the road,
Walking in solidarity with those forced from their homes.
May we serve them humbly, recognizing not the cost,
But freely giving from what we have.
Remove all fear and allow us to become a voice crying out in the desert,
Proclaiming the good news and advocating on behalf of all those forcibly displaced.
May we follow your example in being a friend to the excluded and a ready defender in their time of need.
Please keep us united as a family, brought together in faith, hope, and love.