An introduction to the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP), modern world-level priority issues of the Society of Jesus, for the coming ten years.

What we deal with here is the fact that in the course of the coming ten years, the institutions, schools, and other organizations of the Society of Jesus are slated to tackle issues such as these, with an awareness that they constitute an aspect of the mission of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits. These worldwide priorities orienting the works of the Society of Jesus may be broadly classed under four groups, and briefly described as follows.

  1. To take special care of the vulnerable (namely, the poor and marginalized) of Society.
  2. To take special care of our earth, namely the environment in which we live. (Specifically, not to destroy the surrounding nature, but to protect it).
  3. To take special care of and walk along with the youth, the creators of the future. (That is, to join them in confronting challenges the future may bring, with an attitude of hope).
  4. To be the type of persons who choose and bring to fruition, that which is seen as more vital among our chosen priorities. (In other words, to educate and turn out people who will choose the better option, in order to resolve issues and lead more meaningful lives. The word used in this context is Discernment).

With these four world-level priorities in mind, we need to reflect and find out as to what would be the priorities for Asia? What would serve as priorities for each Asian nation including Japan? What would serve as priorities for the school or institution we are affiliated to? And what would serve as priorities for each one of us? These are questions to be discussed and pondered over in small groups and larger communities, and the ways of realizing them have to be decided upon. This is what is referred to as Communal Discernment. In this procedure the following points are to be underscored, as being of crucial value.

  1. We need to gain a grasp of reality, specifically our current situation. (We need to discern and see the precise situations that surround our world, Asia, Japan, the school or institution we are affiliated to, and ourselves).
  2. When confronting a certain issue, we need to be imbued with a desire that is both intense and strong, regarding the extent to which we wish to change it for the better. (Is our desire to change a situation, deep enough to get the job done?).
  3. We need to reflect and see as to what our chances are of realizing our desire (considering our own and our team’s abilities). In the case of youngsters, I think it essential they consider ways and means of enhancing their powers of bringing about this realization.

(1) To see the reality. (2) To have a strong desire to change it. (3) To extend our abilities even more so as to bring about the actualization of our desire, is vital. This is what we refer to as the Spirit of Magis.

Of the issues in the world, what do you feel is a priority issue? What are the issues in which you wish to be involved, and which you wish to transform for the better? Right now, what special talents or abilities would you need to develop within yourself, in order to carry out your resolutions? What sort of opportunities would you like to have in your school for that? I would like you all to spend a day pondering over these matters.