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!