In a fragmented world ridden with a thousand tensions, what task does communication occupy today? This reflection was proposed to the communication persons of the various European provinces who met in London from 8 to 11 May.
“It is becoming increasingly urgent to communicate peace, reconciliation, and consolation”. This was highlighted by Fr Damian Howard SJ, Provincial of the British Province, who welcomed the participants and presided over the opening celebration.
The examen and the richness of Ignatian spirituality
“It is important to go deep into this mission, to be men and women of prayer, starting with the practice of the Examen”. Paul Nicholson SJ of the London Jesuit Centre explained its process.
“As explained in the first week of the Exercises the Examen covers 18 paragraphs focused on sin. Today the Examen has changed profoundly, after the contribution of psychological reflection and the Second Vatican Council. It invites us to start from an attitude of gratitude, recognising God’s gifts and to ask Him for the ability to see. The examen is a build-up towards the process of discernment and helps us to recognise consolation and desolation”.
For those involved in communication, it is a real human and professional challenge. “It is not just a matter of offering information, but of giving people the opportunity to respect themselves or feel respected, on a journey travelled together”.
An attractive and contemporary spirituality
The reasons for the strong interest in Ignatian spirituality were explored by Fr Nikolaas Sintobin SJ. The analysis of the context, the changes taking place, the processes of secularisation and restlessness, strong subjectivity, the culture of suspicion amplified by social media and the growing thirst for spirituality is the ground to be fertilised.
“The richness of Ignatian spirituality lies in its flexible adaptation to reality. In it the experience of the world is fundamental. It has a preferential option for feelings, and becoming aware of the different types of feelings, the relationship between feelings and the transcendent, and finally to work on them intelligently.
It contextualises, enters into culture, adapts and is creative.
It allows an experience of encounter with Jesus”.
The richness of the British Province’s proposals
The days spent in London allowed those present to come into contact with and get to know the proposals initiated in the British Province on the Ignatian spirituality front: from Pray as You Go, an online prayer podcast in 11 languages, to Thinking Faith, the online magazine on themes of faith and spirituality, the enhancement of the Archives also through social media, and the promotion of art and culture in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in the heart of the city.
These were three intense and enriching days with participants from Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Switzerland, Poland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Slovakia, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
A protocol of action was also defined on the subject of communication in the event of abuse, to promote transparency and truth in the light of the great work of prevention now taking place in the different contexts. Finally, the best experiences which are active in the field of communication in the different territories were shared.
The next meeting will take place in Budapest from 8 to 12 May 2024.