By Vatican News
In his Preface to the Writings of Jesuit Fr Miguel Angel Fiorito, Pope Francis himself describes the edition as “a source of consolation for us who have been nurtured by his teachings for many years. These Writings will do a great good to the Church as a whole”.
The Pope decided to present the 5-volume collection personally, visiting the Jesuit General Curia on the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination, and discussing the figure of Fr Miguel Angel Fiorito SJ, the man he considers his spiritual father.
A Master of dialogue
Pope Francis began his presentation by calling Fr Fiorito a “master of dialogue”, someone who spoke little, but who listened a lot: “a listening capable of discernment, which is one of the pillars of dialogue”, said the Pope. Fr Fiorito practiced and taught “dialogue between teacher and students, dialogue with authors and texts, with history and with God”.
He was a professor of philosophy but he loved spirituality, confided the Pope. “It was he who taught us the way of discernment”. He had a way of “awakening the passion to dialogue well, with oneself, with others, and with the Lord”.
Fr Fiorito's writings “distill spiritual mercy”, said Pope Francis: they offer “teachings for those who do not know, good advice for those who need it, correction for those who are wrong, consolation for those who are sad, and help to preserve patience in desolation”.
A Master of listening
Pope Francis described Fr Fiorito’s style of listening in detail: how it inspired students to confide in him and ask his advice. He favoured the attitude of not leaning towards one side or the other, said the Pope, “so that it is the Creator and Lord Himself who communicates to the person”.
The Jesuit Master had a way of "staying out" of issues without “the slightest shadow of partiality”. “He listened to you in silence”, continued Pope Francis, and instead of speaking, “gave you a piece of paper that he took from his library… that was reminiscent of a pharmacy. Fiorito resembled a wise pharmacist of the soul”.
Out of that library came not only remedies but, “things of the Spirit that had been waiting for the right question, for the fervent desire of someone, who found there the treasure of a discreet formulation that would direct him, that he could put into practice with fruit for the future”, said the Pope.
A Master of patience
Pope Francis highlighted the patience of his former spiritual director: “With the stubborn, with the ‘hard-headed’, he had a lot of patience”.
The Pope then cut short his own prepared remarks, and concluded with some personal memories of Fr Fiorito. Comparing “Maestro Miguel Ángel Fiorito” to the tree planted alongside the water (an image from Psalm 1), the Pope said he “allowed himself to be contained in the minimal space of his role at the Collegio Massimo di San Giuseppe… and there he put down roots, and bore fruit and flowers… in the hearts of us disciples of the School of the Exercises”.
“I hope that now, thanks to this magnificent edition of his Escritos, which reach the heights of a great dream, he will put down roots and bear flowers and fruits in the lives of many people who feed on the same grace that he received and was able to communicate discreetly [by] giving and commenting on the Spiritual Exercises”.