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A Meditation on our Response to the Call of Christ

Every human being is not only created in the image and likeness of God but is also one with Christ.  In the parable of the Last Judgment (Matthew 25), Jesus identifies himself with "the least" of his brothers and sisters.  Indeed, all of us count for the least, but our Lord goes to great pains to identify himself with those persons suffering the hardships of hunger and homelessness, thirst and nakedness, the alien and the imprisoned. 

In this light, how can we ignore the fact that those most in need of our solidarity are those who suffer painful hardships?  Their misery seems almost inescapable.  Many are trapped in poverty.  So limited are their opportunities, their poverty has become structurally entrenched.  Their lives are severely diminished; their hopes are crushed by persistent and oppressive poverty that denies to all but the boldest the basics of human dignity and the opportunity to live happy and fulfilled lives.  Perhaps the most pressing and painful examples are forced migrants (refugees, migrant workers, the undocumented); inner city populations (racial minorities, the elderly, the homeless, the persistently poor); indigenous people at home and abroad; and the globally destitute, more than 800 million people who go to bed hungry each night.

Our mission today is not a mission of Jesuits alone, but a mission in solidarity with numerous women and men who share the spirit of Ignatius.  In the Spiritual Exercises, we are asked to respond generously to the call of Christ the King - even to the extent of accepting hardship for the sake of his mission.  We recognize that colleagues, alumni, parishioners, retreatants, benefactors, and others have heard the call of the King and have entered into our communal mission.  Many are now responsible for the care of ministries founded by the Jesuits, and these partners will lead them in continued service to the Gospel.  Many also now stand at the center of American society in places and positions that can make them friends of the poor and humble Christ and, together with Christ's poor, artisans of a new society.  Together, then we accept Ignatius' invitation to save our souls through service to others.

The apostolic perspective that emerges from a meditation on our contemporary response to Christ, in short, calls all Jesuits and colleagues to conversions.  Every institution that presents itself as "Jesuit"must answer this call as well.

-From the Provincials in the United States Assistancy July, 31 2006