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Pope Francis advises Jesuits on unity and reconciliation

Never take a step to divide — we are men of the whole, not of the part, pope tells Jesuits during hour-long conversation

Pope Francis advises Jesuits on unity and reconciliation

Pope Francis, flanked by his spokesperson Matteo Bruni, addresses journalists during his flight from Antamanarivo to Rome, on Sept.10, after his seven-day pastoral trip to Mozambique, Madagascar, and Mauritius. During his time in Mozambique he met with a group of 24 Jesuits; 20 of whom were from Mozambique, three from Zimbabwe and one from Portugal. (Photo by Alessandra Tarantino/AFP)

During Pope Francis’ recent trip to the African nation of Mozambique he met with 24 Jesuits and spoke with them for an hour. The following is part of the conversation the pope had with the Jesuits that’s been published by La Civilta Cattolica.

Father Paul Mayeresa, who works in Beira in the educational apostolate, asked for the pope’s thoughts on the apostolic preferences of the Society and for advice on how to live them in Mozambique. The pope replied:

“It is not easy to rebuild a divided society. You live in a country that has experienced civil strife, with Mozambicans fighting one another. I think, for example, that the apostolic preference regarding the Spiritual Exercises can help a lot in this context. They can be given to people engaged in different sectors of society and thus make them more able to carry out their task of uniting and reconciling. The experience of spiritual discernment can guide action.

“It is appropriate to accompany all parties, especially where there is a need for unity and reconciliation in society and in the nation. We know that sometimes the best is the enemy of the good, and at a time of reconciliation bitter pills must be swallowed. In this process you have to teach yourself to be patient. It takes the patience of discernment to reach what is essential and put aside the accidental. It takes a lot of patience sometimes! Of course, it is also necessary to share our wisdom, that is the social doctrine of the Church. But be careful: Jesuits must not divide. There is a need for reconciliation in the society of Mozambique: unite, unite, unite, unite, unite, have patience, wait. Never take a step to divide. We are men of the whole, not of the part.

“You work in the educational apostolate, and you are among the young. Your work is important and demanding. Young people have good will, but they can be easy prey to deception as well as [can be] impatient. It is necessary to be close to the young people, to give them space so that they can discern what is happening in their hearts. Formation considers ideas and feelings together. To act well you always have to consider your ideas and feelings. For example, we must help the youngest to recognize when they live in resignation, and therefore in stagnation, and also to recognize when they live a healthy restlessness. In short, we need spiritual discernment, of accompaniment for the good of society.”

To read more click here to be redirected to La Civilta Cattolica.

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