Restlessness, Incompleteness and Imagination

Diego Fares SJ

 Diego Fares SJ / Church Life / 28 March 2019

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On February 9, 2017, on the occasion of the publication of the 4000th edition of La Civiltà Cattolica, Pope Francis held an audience to receive the Jesuits who work for the magazine. On that occasion he proposed to the “workers” of La Civiltà Cattolica – and here the reference was specifically to “workers” and not “intellectuals” – three guiding words to animate the journal and ensure it is truly Catholic: restlessness, incompleteness and imagination. Last year, a volume came out titled Solo l’inquietudine dà pace (Only Restlessness Gives Peace)  a selection of writings by journalists from different cultural backgrounds reflecting on these words, compiled by Riccardo Cristiano.[1]

The source of the three inspirational words

Why did those words and that speech attract so much attention? Where did they come from? The source is in the spirituality of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Pope Francis imbibed restlessness from there, along with his incomplete thought – which is one way of describing discernment – and the imagining of “creative solutions” to current problems. Recalling this source sheds light on how to perceive and become aware of the fact that since the beginning of his pontificate we have been living a synthesis of his 40 years of pastoral leadership: 20 years as a Jesuit superior, and 20 as a bishop.

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