Love Will Decide
Pedro Arrupe recovered the Ignatian ‘mysticism of open eyes.’

the outskirts of the city. A medical student before entering   now assumed responsibility for the largest religious order
gian Johann Baptist Metz calls “a mysticism of open eyes.”              fathers. In spite of the urgency of our work, we h...
world the triumph of God, for we see in the poor                 will decide everything.
   what salvation must mean and t...
Love Will Decides Everything  Arrupe Recovered The  Ignatian Mysticism Of Open Eyes
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Love Will Decides Everything Arrupe Recovered The Ignatian Mysticism Of Open Eyes


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Love Will Decides Everything Arrupe Recovered The Ignatian Mysticism Of Open Eyes

  1. 1. Love Will Decide Everything Pedro Arrupe recovered the Ignatian ‘mysticism of open eyes.’ KEVIN F. BURKE N is the centenary date of the birth of OV. 14, 2007, was, after all, the Jesuit general who opened his astonishing Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Many people—Jesuits and 1973 address, “Men for Others,” with the following rhetor- friends of Jesuits, women and men religious, lay ical strategy and prophetic courage: Catholics and Protestant Christians, and adherents of other great religious traditions—feel a need to Let me ask this question: Have we Jesuits educated celebrate this anniversary. For all the diversity among them, you for justice? You and I know what many of your their need to celebrate has a common root: deep love for a Jesuit teachers will answer to that question. They great man. will answer, in all sincerity and humility: No, we I share that need. When I edited Pedro Arrupe: Essential have not. If the terms “justice” and “education for Writings for the “Spiritual Masters Series” published by justice” carry all the depth of meaning which the Orbis Books, I noted in the acknowledgements that Arrupe church gives them today, we have not educated you was the superior general of the Jesuits when I entered the for justice. Jesuit novitiate in Denver in 1976. I added: “He was a hero to those entrusted with my early formation in the Jesuits From Hiroshima to Rome and he quickly became my hero. More importantly, Pedro Arrupe, S.J., (1907-91) assumed the duties of supe- although I never met him personally, I count him among rior general of the Society of Jesus and became one of the my spiritual friends and fathers in faith.” most recognizable leaders in the Catholic Church in the Hale in those days and serene in holiness, Father Arrupe years following the Second Vatican Council. He served enjoined every Jesuit to engage the courageous questions as Superior General from 1965 to 1983 and during that raised by the Society’s 32nd General Congregation (1974- time also served five consecutive three-year terms as 75) and to make its prophetic intuitions their own: president of the Union of Religious Superiors General (1967-82). What is it to be a Jesuit? It is to know that one is a Not incidentally, his life experiences prepared him for sinner, yet called to be a companion of Jesus as such leadership in dramatic and dangerous ways. Sent into Ignatius was: Ignatius, who begged the Blessed exile at the age of 24 when the Jesuits were expelled from Virgin to “Place him with her Son,” and who then Spain (1932), Arrupe studied in Belgium, the Netherlands saw the Father himself ask Jesus, carrying his cross, and the United States and eventually went to Japan to work to take this pilgrim into his company. (Decree 2) as a missionary (1938). In the weeks following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, he was arrested on charges of What is it to be a companion of Jesus today? It is to espionage and kept in solitary confinement for 33 days. engage, under the standard of the cross, in the cru- Tormented by uncertainty and in anguish for his small cial struggle of our time: the struggle for faith and Christian flock, he later wrote that this “was the month in that struggle for justice which it includes. (Decree 4) which I learned the most in all my life. Alone as I was, I learned the knowledge of silence, of loneliness, of harsh and The congregation’s capacity for courageous prophecy severe poverty, the interior conversation with ‘the guest of ripened in the nourishing light of Arrupe’s leadership. He the soul’ who had never shown himself to be more ‘sweet’ than then.” KEVIN F. BURKE, S.J., is academic dean of the Jesuit School of When the first atomic bomb destroyed Hiroshima on Theology in Berkeley, Calif. Aug. 6, 1945, Arrupe was master of novices in a suburb on 18 America November 12, 2007
  2. 2. the outskirts of the city. A medical student before entering now assumed responsibility for the largest religious order the Jesuits, he responded to the extraordinary events in the church at the very moment the church was asking unfolding around him by transforming the novitiate into a itself anew how to engage the world. hospital and his novices into nurses. Together The Challenge of they cared for 150 peo- Vatican II ple suffering from trau- In the early 1960s, still matic injuries as well as reeling from the after- the mysterious burns and shocks of the Second sickness associated with World War, the church radiation poisoning. asked itself how it could Without realizing it they best respond to the were living at the center changed world. That of a world-changing his- concern motivated torical moment. Arrupe Pope John XXIII to call later recalled the disqui- the Second Vatican eting experience: Council (1962-65) and set in motion an At first, without extraordinary process of electricity or renovation in the radio, we were church. Vatican II cut off from the reshaped Catholic litur- rest of the world. gy, renewed religious The following life and recovered the day cars and role of the laity. It trans- trains began ar- formed the way riving from Catholics related to Tokyo and Osaka other Christians, other with help for religions, secular soci- Hiroshima. They ety and even the world stayed in the out- itself as “secular.” skirts of the city, Without seeking it, and when we Pedro Arrupe found questioned them himself profoundly as to what had involved in these trans- happened, they formations. Taking his answered very mysteriously: “The first atomic bomb cue from Vatican II, he urged Jesuits to rediscover their call has exploded.” “But what is the atomic bomb?” They to be “contemplatives in action.” For Ignatius and his com- would answer: “The atomic bomb is a terrible thing.” panions this had meant “finding God in all things.” For “We have seen how terrible it is, but what is it?” And Arrupe and the Society in the late 20th century it meant they would repeat: “It’s the atomic bomb…the atom- “reading the signs of the times” and finding God in a world ic bomb.” They knew nothing but the name. marked by Hiroshima and Auschwitz, a world fraught with division, inequity and blind hatred. Before Vatican II Jesuits PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAD REYNOLDS, S.J. In 1958 Pedro Arrupe became superior of all the Jesuits in ran schools, sent missionaries to so-called mission lands and Japan. gave retreats. After Vatican II, with a renewed sense of dis- After the death of John-Baptist Janssens, general of cernment, Jesuits did these things in new ways. the Jesuits, in October 1964, the 31st General Congregation met to elect his successor. On the morning ‘A Mysticism of Open Eyes’ of May 22, 1965, much to Arrupe’s surprise, the congre- The “renewed sense of discernment” adopted by Jesuits gation elected him. A man whose life took shape in the under the inspiration of Pedro Arrupe seeks God’s will pre- midst of the great events of the time, who experienced cisely in terms of the crucial historical realities of the day. As exile, imprisonment, war and the dawn of the atomic age, such, it underlies the spiritual stance that the German theolo- November 12, 2007 America 19
  3. 3. gian Johann Baptist Metz calls “a mysticism of open eyes.” fathers. In spite of the urgency of our work, we had Writing in the shadow of Auschwitz, Metz uses this evocative first stopped to celebrate our Masses…. The exter- phrase to capture the spirituality of the Beatitudes and the nal surroundings in which the holy sacrifice was mysticism of Jesus unveiled by the Gospel’s passion narratives: being offered were not such as might promote sen- sible devotion. In turning around to say “Dominus In the end Jesus did not teach an ascending mysti- vobiscum,” I saw before my eyes many wounded, cism of closed eyes, but rather a God-mysticism with suffering terribly. While reading the Epistle and the an increased readiness for perceiving, a mysticism of Gospel, I had to be careful not to touch with my feet open eyes, which sees more and not less. It is a mys- the children who lay so close to me. They wanted to ticism that especially makes visible all invisible and see closely this stranger who was wearing such odd inconvenient suffering, and—convenient or not— clothing and performing those ceremonies they had pays attention to it and takes responsibility for it, for never seen before. In spite of it all, I do not think I the sake of a God who is a friend to human beings. have ever said Mass with such devotion. The God-mysticism of Jesus involves the possibility and Jesuit Education After Arrupe actuality of finding God in the world. Significantly, both The recovery of the Ignatian mysticism of open eyes trans- Metz and Arrupe insist that it is reality itself that opens our formed the way Jesuits approach education, their tradition- eyes to the One who transcends reality. Arrupe testifies to this al apostolate. In a speech at Santa Clara University in 1982, in a poignant description of the first Mass he celebrated after Ignacio Ellacuría, the Salvadoran Jesuit who later suffered the atom bomb exploded. He and several companions martyrdom, poignantly addressed this: labored all night to enter the ruined city to help several Jesuits wounded and trapped by the rubble. Arrupe later wrote: Reason and faith merge, therefore, in confronting the reality of the poor. Reason must open its eyes to At five in the morning, we finally arrived at our des- their suffering. Faith—which is sometimes scan- tination and began our first treatments on the dalous to those without it—sees in the weak of this 20 America November 12, 2007
  4. 4. world the triumph of God, for we see in the poor will decide everything. what salvation must mean and the conversion to which we are called. Finally, Father Arrupe’s capacity to trust God’s love wells up from the awesome silence that descended on the Ellacuría’s words drew their inspiration from his superi- last 10 years of his life. On Sept. 7, 1981, while returning to or general. A decade earlier, in the famous speech cited Rome from a trip to the Philippines and Thailand, he suf- above, Arrupe announced: fered the massive stroke from which he would never fully recover. He resigned his office at the 33rd General Today our prime educational objective must be to Congregation (1983). Because of the effects of the stroke, form men for others; men who will live not for he could not speak directly to his brother Jesuits, but his themselves but for God and his Christ—for the final address was read to them in his presence. It was God-human who lived and died for all the world; received with thundering applause and a torrent of tears: men who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; More than ever, I now find myself in the hands of men completely convinced that love of God which God. This is what I have wanted all my life, from my does not issue in justice for others is a farce. youth. And this is still the one thing I want. But now there is a difference: the initiative is entirely with A generation after Arrupe one sees evidence that the God. It is indeed a profound spiritual experience to renewal has had a positive effect on Jesuit schools. Changes know and feel myself so totally in his hands. in curricula, the growing importance of immersion trips and community service programs, to say nothing of the found- Pedro Arrupe ended where he began, in love with God. ing of Jesuit Refugee Service under Arrupe (1980) and the That, above all, is why we celebrate him. A promotion of Jesuit Volunteer Corps, reflect the shift to jus- tice-centered evangelization characteristic of the Jesuit mis- From the archives: Peter Hebblethwaite on the life of sion after Arrupe. Jesuit education has always had an appro- Pedro Arrupe, S.J., at priate humanistic emphasis on excellence in the arts and sci- ences and attention to the education of the whole person. What it adds today is a commitment to praxis-based educa- tion, a special emphasis on education for justice and, above all, the promotion of education as a practical way to encounter the world and to find God in the world. Rooted and Grounded in Love The life story, the witness of heroic leadership and the sheer goodness of Pedro Arrupe give evidence of a man who found God in this broken world, a man who found God in others and a man who learned, above all, to trust love. This simple truth dominates Arrupe’s later writings, including his last major essay on Ignatian spirituality, “Rooted and Grounded in Love” (1981). It can also be felt in his sponta- neous words to a group of religious sisters, words that are among his most memorable: Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagi- nation, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love and it November 12, 2007 America 21