What, to me, is the challenge for Jesuits today—and which we can share with the faithful we serve— is to live and teach fidelity to the Church. In his rules for thinking with the Church, which is expressed in and by the Jesuit vow of obedience, Ignatius exhorts us, above all, to “ever be ready and prompt to obey in all things the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, our holy Mother, the hierarchical Church.” Fidelity and obedience to the Church, in the person of the Pope and the local bishop, is the mark of a true Roman Catholic Christian, even when sometimes—or many times–we do not understand certain decisions or actions that cause us much hurt and confusion.
We may question certainly; we may represent; we may disagree, even dissent probably—but in the end, when we have exhausted all means to make our voices heard, we humbly bow and accept the inevitable because as Ignatius teaches us, God’s will is manifested in our all-too-human superiors and Church leaders. This is a hard saying for many, I know, and maybe even my fellow Jesuits will dispute this, but there is no other way we can preserve the unity of the Church which we all love, if we do not live and practice obedience to her.
Unfortunately, this Mother Church is not a democracy, and this is probably one of the reasons why “the gates of hell has not prevailed against it” for 2000-plus years. Only time will tell if our voices were disinterested and prophetic, or were they voices of vested interests under the guise of “for the common good.”Read the rest of the homily (here) of Fr. Timoteo Ofrasio, S.J.at The Monk's Hobbit.
Photo is of a statue of St. Peter at St. Peter's Basilica within the Vatican