Jesuit Novitiate
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus


A hundred times as much

by Pietro Coppa

During the novitiate it often happens that you feel you are living firsthand what is recounted in the Gospels. To really adhere to the good news, to internalize it, you have to experience it. Not by chance did Jesus, to those who asked him: “where do you live?”, reply: “come and see”.

Those who embrace religious life know well that they will have to rethink their relationship with their family of origin. Opportunities to share time with close relatives and friends will be reduced down to the bone. As is natural, each of us lives this aspect of our choice as a renunciation. In the Gospel Peter gives voice to this difficulty: “Behold, we have left everything and followed you”. At this point the Lord reassures the disciples that the abandonment of the places of everyday life and of the most loved ones, will not result in a life without affections. On the contrary, they will witness the multiplication of relationships of love and friendship.

I experienced this from the first months of novitiate and did not take long to perceive Villa S. Ignazio as my home and the novitiate community as a family. Recently, during a one-month service experience at the Cottolengo in Turin, I, Nicola and Ale were hosted in the guesthouse of the structure where a community of eight university students lives. Almost immediately, the boys warmly welcomed us into the group, offering us their friendship and helping us out in every way. They offered to drive us to the Sacra di San Michele and the Basilica di Superga. They took us to some of the most beautiful places in the city. With them we watched films, played football, had profound and interesting conversations, lived hilarious situations.

It is true that there is no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields because of Jesus and because of the Gospel, which does not already receive, now, a hundred times as much.

We continue the journey waiting for persecutions and eternal life!,isz:l&tbm=isch&source=lnt&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi7tdjfqprgAhW-AWMBHbKqDMkQpwUIHw&biw=1366&bih=657&dpr=1#imgrc=ci3ic4NTFtwE0M:

Love, distance, communion

by Pietro Coppa

Each of us is convinced that it is impossible to love someone without being close to him or her. The lover, by definition, experiences a continuous tension that pushes him to seek the beloved. The Latin poet Tito Lucrezio Caro, in his De rerum natura, sketches this characteristic of love in a masterly way, referring to the carnal union of the two lovers. In the highest expression of physical love, both seek to “lose themselves in the other body with one’s whole body” (RN IV, 1095). A desire for fusion that cannot be fulfilled and therefore is continually reactivated. On the other hand, even the forms of love that do not find expression in the union of bodies, like the affection that is felt towards parents and friends, require a certain proximity to be able to keep alive. This is where one of the most recurrent objections to the religious life undertaken by the novice arises. An objection that is often put forward by parents: “how can you say you love us, if you have chosen to live a life away from us?”. Such a criticism could be put forward also by dearest friends and by the people met during the apostolic experiences that put us in contact with the young and the poor. Our formation needs do not allow us to establish lasting links with them. And yet it is possible to live a form of communion even in distance. Intercessory prayer fills this distance by filling it with love. The request for concrete benefits in favour of those for whom the prayer is intended does not exhaust its significance. What is more vital than anything else in this type of plea is to perceive upon ourselves and others the merciful grace of the Father who with his embrace of love transforms us into one (Jn 17:20). This prayer helps us to regain unity despite living in dispersion and teaches us the mystery of love between God and us, where love, distance and communion co-exist.


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