Dear CLC National Presidents and Ecclesiastical Assistants.
I would simply like to greet all the people of the Christian Life Community who throughout the world are animating their Christian life from the spirituality of St. Ignatius. The reason for this fraternal greeting is my appointment as World Vice-Ecclesiastical Assistant of CLC. I have the feeling that I am getting on a train that is already underway, that I am following a call to walk with others, to move forward with a world community that is on a united pilgrimage.
Someone may ask the same question my brother-in-law asked me: “if you are the Vice, who is the Assistant?”, the answer is simple: Father General. He is the one who has given me the mission to accompany and assist CLC in its needs, in a process of discernment with the World ExCo. So, the first thing is to thank God for this mission and to be grateful for the warm welcome I have received from all of them.
It is true that we have met before. It was two years ago, at the General Assembly in Buenos Aires. I was part of the ESDAC team that facilitated the Assembly experience. Those days in Argentina when we encouraged discernment, facilitated spiritual conversation, and shared prayer, are for me the example of what I want to do now as Vice-Ecclesiastical Assistant. In Buenos Aires, you taught me that we cannot stand as statues, but are called to share, to deepen and to move forward as an Ignatian apostolic body. This year 2020, we can feel especially called to respond to the challenges and suffering that the pandemic brings to our families and countries.
I have known CLC for many years and it is part of my family. I come from a large family, which was my first community until I entered the Society of Jesus at the age of 19. I have been a Jesuit for 31 years living in different countries and assigned to different missions in education, youth ministry, among others, and in the last seven years as a Socius of the President of the European Provincials.
As you know, there is a novelty in my appointment as Vice EA with respect to the previous Jesuits who had this mission. I do not reside in Rome, but in Manresa (Spain). Both are
fundamental Ignatian places: In Rome, St. Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus with the fellow priests he had gathered in Paris. In Manresa, as a layman, he began to write the Spiritual Exercises. Here he arrived, defeated from Pamplona and Loyola but convinced that he wanted to follow the Lord. In Manresa, he found his vulnerability, unveiled his conversion and received the illumination that he reflected in all his spirituality. In year 2022, it will mark the 500 years since this experience of “seeing all things new in Christ”. Living here in Manresa, borne as a fruit of the discernment of Fr. General and my Jesuit Provincial and fruit of what CLC wants for its World Vice-Ecclesiastical Assistant, is also a great opportunity to invite you all to share in the inner journey of St. Ignatius. If there is one piece of advice I can give you all, it is this: do Spiritual Exercises and give Spiritual Exercises.
I want to send a fraternal greeting to all my Jesuit companions and to all the ecclesiastical assistants of CLC. I extend this greeting to all the other members of the National Council, I ask for your blessing and prayer that we may walk together, with the World ExCo, to becoming the apostolic, ecclesial, and international body that we are called to be, as a world community.
God bless you, a hearty greeting.
Fr. José de Pablo, SJ
CLC World Vice-Ecclesiastical Assistant
Manresa, 15 October 2020