“What are your dreams? What are your hopes? What would be your desires at this early stage of 2021?”, asks JESC Director, Peter Rožič SJ, in his video welcoming the New Year.
In this Epiphany day marking the end of Christmas season, Peter Rožič SJ shares his wishes for the new year and reveals JESC’s goals and actions for 2021.
Dreaming and revealing the gifts of 2021
Let us reveal, uncover and dream together the gifts we might expect for 2021, with you as our friends and as our JESC partners in our justice and ecology works around Europe and the globe.
Like the Magi – the three gift-bearing Kings as they are traditionally remembered on this feast – we celebrate the Epiphany as the revelation of God’s incarnate love for us in Jesus Christ. We celebrate the many gifts and hopes given to us and we celebrate the many gifts and hopes we would like to give and share with others.
So, what do you think the God of Love is revealing to us and through us for this year of 2021? What are your dreams? What are your hopes? What would be your desires at this early stage of 2021?
To the extent we can dream and hope together and offer ourselves a good vision and values for Europe, I propose to hope for two tandems: One: Hope and kindness. Two: Adaptability and intentionality.
Pope Francis recently called us to be a people of hope, even of dreams and to be a people of kindness and friendship, as elaborated in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti. We cannot go through crises such as the global pandemic if we are without hope. We would be desperate and giving up, thus failing to serve those who are most in need. We might have hoped that 2021 would be easier than 2020. But, look, this year may turn out even more difficult: Covid is still there and looming; then EU and Brexit; the ongoing unrest in Belarus; the conflict in Ukraine and Syria and beyond; tremendous difficulties in Lebanon, not to mention Croatia, which has suffered one deadly earthquake after another – just to mention a few. So, we have to go against the odds. And the best way, besides our diligent work and life, the best approach is that of hope, of receiving and offering hope, even dreams.
And, we cannot do 2021 without kindness. All too often we succumb to sometimes legitimate emotions of anger and even to acts of rudeness and violence, not only in the political arena but also in our homes and families and communities. Kindness will help us to stay realistic about the dire situation we are in, a situation perhaps more difficult than we had anticipated and planned. Against these attempts to close ourselves to despair, to loneliness, to egotism or to anger, let us act with kindness. Kind, kind and kind we want to be with ourselves and with each other – a strength coming from the inside, and a strength that we want to share with others.
The other tandem I wish for us as a gift in 2021 is a combination of adaptability and intentionality.
The first Jesuits owed, at least in part, their early success to the great capacity of adaptability they possessed. We too can only succeed, or be fruitful, if we adapt with a wise and a meditative heart to the world around us. And run away from rigidity. True, norms and procedures are necessary for times when things do not go well, but in order to go beyond our disappointments, failures and occasional fruitlessness, we need to adapt to the situation and, learning from it, move on stronger. So, let us exercise this virtue of adaptability. While we keep our focus on providing good vision and values for Europe through the example of serving the marginalised and the planet, we know that the means will follow – through our own adaption. Adaptive leadership, right? For more about leadership in these uncertain times, please check our European Leadership Programme website and the ELP newsletter, and do not hesitate to take a look at a wonderful Discerning Leadership programme that the Jesuits now offer globally from Rome. The second part of this tandem – is adaptability combined with intentionality. We need to know what we want – what we want to achieve and what we are called to achieve as we adapt to this new normal of 2021. Be intentional. So, in JESC, we will strengthen our Jesuit ecology networks in 2021. We will recruit even more ELP Fellows and develop a new paradigm of leadership. We will continue to reflect on the Pope’s new encyclical and its message for Europe and we will act as a bridge between different social realities. And we will rely even more on your help and support in order to navigate together the challenge. We need you so we can serve better.
Can we dream together? Dream for hope and kindness, for adaptability and intentionality? Those would be our desired 2021 gifts for you and for us. We would like to share them with you as a team and as a community to which we all belong.
So, let us recognise in us these gifts and rejoice together over them so that we too become true gift-bearers.
Thank you and God bless you in 2021.