When I reflect upon what to wish all of us for the coming 2015, there are three future events that come to my mind. They show both how crucial a year 2015 will be for our long term future, and how we may engage some of the key challenges to our world and planet.
(1) The coming beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero. Romero embodies for me the conversion all of us need to engage the structures in our world, that provoke the evils and pains of poverty, injustice, oppression and marginalisation, violence, and all forms of abuse, financial, economic, cultural, social, military. We can change oppressive structures and institutions, as we can change ourselves and learn to collaborate towards justice.
(2) Pope Francis’ coming encyclical on the environment. Environmental abuse and climate change are the greatest threat through life humanity and our planet have faced, and as human beings we are intimately interwoven with this threat, that combines with financial, military, social and cultural crises on a worldwide scale. We will be able to answer this challenge only when collaborating worldwide and with the planet. The Roman Catholic Church is an institution that can provide some worldwide appeal, inspiration and impetus on these issues.
(3) Preparations for the Jesuit General Congregation in 2016. In 2016, the Jesuits will elect a new general to their congregation: he is a person who embodies, by taking at heart, the whole universal body of the Society of Jesus. Acting locally with a view on the planetwide realities and necessary changes, and acting globally while taking at heart the fact that changes will have a real effect only when enacted at local levels, combining structural and personal features … those are challenges for a Jesuit general, and they are crucial if we want to address worldwide challenges.
So, I look forward to these three future events, and I wish all of us, Chrisians and non-Christians, Jesuits and non-Jesuits, to grow into the attitudes and hope necessary for these necessary changes: the willingness to convert to the poor and the creative commitment to life they display amidst worldwide crises; the faith in the world as creation, i.e. as an interconnected whole that provides for life and the discovery of reality’s depths; the capacity to both deepen our own spiritual strengths and to collaborate with others precisely at this level.