A message from Fr Endashaw Debrework SJ, Regional Director of JRS Eastern Africa, on the Feast of St Ignatius.
Today [31st July] is St.Ignatius Feast Day, the day we commemorate the life of the founder of the Society of Jesus. This is a perfect occasion to reconnect with our roots as JRS. Much of what makes JRS unique has to do with the particular Ignatian worldview, a worldview infused with the spiritual revolution that St. Ignatius started.
St. Ignatius believed that God was at work in the world and that we are invited to participate in that work. Ignatius taught his companions how to find God in all things and wanted them to become “contemplatives in action”. By this he meant letting one’s actions be guided by the concrete experience of encountering God in the most ordinary events in one’s life. Through this attentiveness to encounter God in our lives, we become witnesses of the Kingdom of God unfolding here and now. The Kingdom of God is realized one act of kindness at a time. Ignatius lived this ideal to the fullest. Despite his demanding administrative duties as the Superior General of the Jesuits, he spent a lot of time on the streets of Rome caring for the poor, the sick, orphans and prostitutes.
This is the true meaning of our mission as JRS. In his message for the 104th Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis reminded us that “Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ…” We are called to be agents of the Kingdom of God whom we encounter in the faces of the refugees we serve. This is why accompaniment is so central to JRS, being present, walking alongside refugees, listening to their stories, sharing their ups and downs even when we have little to offer in the way of solutions. In this way, the story of refugees is the stories of JRS.
Let us pray to God that, through our humble service and presence among refugees, His Kingdom may come.