May is known not only for the summer heat. There is also the heat of transfers. Heat and sweat occasion grins and gloom, tears and laughter.
Transfers remind me of a beautiful experience. Once, as the Provincial of Karnataka, I had to give a new assignment to a senior Jesuit. I called him and asked: ‘I want to meet you. When should I come?’. He replied: ‘you need not come. I will come’. ‘Tell me when’. I told him. He came right on the dot. I broached the subject. His reply stunned me and edified me: ‘Sure! When should I go?’
However, I must confess that not all transfers are so smooth. Some Jesuits do not like to move. They think that without them the mission will collapse. Some argue, some lobby, some eventually move with good grace, but some others crib about it till their last breath.
What makes some to accept transfers readily and happily, while some others find it hard? There is no easy answer.
We have Jesuits leading an exemplary life, choosing to be simple and spiritual, and giving their best wherever they are. They go where they are sent. Distance and difficulties do not deter them.
There are also others, who need to be pushed and prodded, giving their minimum to the mission, and, with their difficult personality, can be a drag on the community and apostolate.
What can be done? The core of religious life is mission, which comes from the Latin word, ‘missus’, meaning sent. A religious is sent on a mission as Christ was sent by God. It means that we have not joined religious life to do what we like. A religious needs to understand one’s identity in relation to mission, and needs to be gripped by the mission. Otherwise, it can be hell for him and others.
There are a few transfers made at the Conference level. Its effect is felt on JIVAN as well. Fr Vinayak Jadav moves out and Fr M A Joe Antony moves in. Vinayak, who, during the six years as the editor of JIVAN, with his inimitable style, raised its standards to a completely new level and made it a platform for new themes and for budding writers. I thank him on behalf of all Jesuits of the JCSA and the readers. Joe Antony, who is no stranger, having been an acclaimed and appreciated editor of JIVAN and many other journals, I am sure he will take this mouth piece of the Jesuit Conference of South Asia to greater heights. I wish and pray all success to him.
Change is a law of nature. Everything changes but one thing never changes: God is still there and God invites us to work with and for him. In other words, the mission does not change. Let us, therefore, constantly ask ourselves how we can always be alive and active as companions of Jesus sent on Christ’s mission.
President of Jesuit Conference of South Asia.