News Detail
“Keep your eyes and your hearts open.”
Jesuit Superior General Tells MAGIS Pilgrims to ‘Keep Eyes, Heart Open’

July 15, 2013 (SALVADOR, Brazil) — Using the example of a big-hearted giraffe, the superior general of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás, told 2,000 MAGIS pilgrims: “Keep your eyes and your hearts open.”

The young people from around the world — mostly students from Jesuit universities — gathered in Salvador for MAGIS, a 10-day, pre-World Youth Day program, designed for the young people to examine their lives to see how they can do more for Christ and for others.

Before they set off for prayer and service activities in dozens of locations throughout Brazil, they attended a Mass July 15 with Fr. Nicolás.

In his homily — in both Spanish and English — Fr. Nicolás told the pilgrims about a Cambodian bishop who chose the giraffe as his diocesan symbol because it has one of the biggest hearts in the animal kingdom — it has to have a big heart to pump blood all the way up to its brain. Because it is so tall, it has “a very high point of view,” he said.

“Humanity is more than any one of us has experienced in our own countries,” the Jesuit general told the young people. Approaching the people of Brazil and their fellow pilgrims with a big heart and a broad view can change their lives.

The Gospel story of the good Samaritan “contains one of the secrets our faith,” which is that “faith is mostly in the heart. It is not far,” he said. “We don’t have to go up to heavens,” but one must listen to the voice of God in his or her heart.

Some people, he said, want to hold on to ancient traditions “which say nothing to you young people. And many young people don’t come to church and the older people say, ‘They have no faith.’ But I say, ‘Yes, they have faith. Look at their hearts. There you will find it.’”

“God says to us that there is nothing complicated about the faith, but you must listen to your heart,” he said.

Fr. Nicolás told the pilgrims about being with a group of young Jesuits in Japan. They watched a program about 50 young, non-Christian Japanese who lived and worked abroad for two years, mostly in programs similar to the Peace Corps. He said they all admitted they went out of curiosity, but were changed by their contact the poor, “people who were suffering, people who had great difficulties, and yet, they had hope, they had joy.”

“What I thought at the time was, ‘This is the kind of people I would like to join the Society of Jesus,’” he said, “people with a heart, and therefore they have a capacity to grow into Christ. They have one of the secrets of our faith — that faith is in the heart.

“Jesus is the summary of our faith. He showed in his words — which were very simple — in his preaching and his life he told us what God is. He told us God is mercy and compassion. We don’t need to complicate that, we don’t need thick books of theology to prove that; we need a heart, a heart that can reach in the line of the compassion of God.”

“The secret of secrets” in Christianity is love, “love of God that turns into love of neighbor,” he said.

“It’s not whom we love, but whether we love or not, that’s the question,” Fr. Nicolás told the students. [Catholic News Service]


Recent News

September 19, 2014 — With the approval of Father General Adolfo Nicolás, the New England Province and the New York Province of Jesuits will unite to form the USA Northeast Province on December 3, 2014.

September 17, 2014 — Today is the feast day of Saint Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621), a Jesuit who was one of the most important cardinals of the Catholic Reformation.

September 15, 2014 — St. Anne’s Church in Kingston, Jamaica, has repurposed a plot of land behind the church to provide low-rent houses for the elderly.

September 15, 2014 — Jesuit Father John Cecero, a former psychologist and psychology professor, is the new provincial for the New York Province Jesuits.

September 12, 2014 — All 28 U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities ranked in U.S. News & World Report's 2015 America’s “Best Colleges” report.

September 10, 2014 — Pope Francis has appointed U.S. Jesuit Father Robert J. Geisinger as the Promoter of Justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

September 9, 2014 — Today is the feast day of Saint Peter Claver, a Jesuit missionary known as the patron saint of slaves, African missions and interracial justice.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America - 9/15/14

America - 9/1/14

America - 8/18/14



Jesuit Retreat House
Located 80 miles north of Milwaukee, the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago welcomes men and women of all faiths to its silent conference retreats.