Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás, superior general of the Society of Jesus, recently spoke about the new evangelization, or missionary outreach, to the 25th Synod of Bishops. The synod brought together over 250 top church leaders for a three-week summit at the Vatican.
Father General Nicolás told the synod that the Ignatian spirituality he was formed in encourages finding God in all things.
“I am afraid that we missionaries have not done it with sufficient depth,” he said. Father General Nicolas also spoke about the need to enrich the universal church with the signs and seeds of God’s presence in other cultures and religions.
Father General Nicolás, who spent most of his priesthood in Japan and in other parts of Asia, said too many church members have “looked for Western signs of faith and sanctity and have not discovered how God has been at work in other peoples. This impoverishes all. We miss important clues, insights and discoveries,” he said.
“The fullness of Christ needs the contribution of all peoples and all cultures,” Father General Nicolás said. He said some of the keys to effective evangelization include:
- The simplicity of the message.
- Generosity in acknowledging the work of God in the life and history of people.
- Being aware of one’s own life as a factor of credibility.
- Forgiveness and reconciliation are the most helpful shortcuts to the heart of the Gospel.