After an extensive consultation and discernment process involving Jesuits and lay people, the Society of Jesus has selected four Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs): showing the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment; walking with the poor and excluded; journeying with youth; and caring for our common home. They are to serve as our guide and inspiration in all that we do for the next decade.
For us at Canadian Jesuits International (CJI), the four UAPs are both an affirmation of who we are and what we do, and a source of inspiration to go deeper in our understanding of our reality, in our commitment to the universal good and in the way we work and live.
For this issue of the newsletter, we asked friends and partners we work with in the Global South and whose work we support, to write about how the four UAPs are reflected in their current work and how they will affect their future direction. Their rich reflections show us that when discernment is rooted in the day to day lives of people who are relegated to the margins of society, it deepens our understanding of the UAPs. Their contributions do not illustrate how to implement a specific UAP, but rather how to integrate and fulfill all four. Indeed, all four of the experiences presented are rooted in the practice of discernment based on the Spiritual Exercises; all four work with people who are poor and excluded; all of them have youth as an integral part of their work; and all allow care of our common home to guide their choices.
We at CJI take our inspiration from our partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America. They will continue to share with us how to make the four UAPs a source of personal and institutional renewal, so that we can respond to the call for a deeper conversion, a greater commitment to justice and peace, and a bolder response to the cry of the earth and its people.