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

Advent time: so what?

29 Nov 2020

Advent: what does it mean? I make a click and I find one of the many definitions: arrival, coming (already announced). In the Christian tradition, it is the time of four weeks that prepares for Christmas, that is, it evokes, through readings and liturgies, the announcement and the waiting for a saviour. But what does all this have to say to us in the time we live? Certainly our greatest expectation seems to be that the virus will be defeated and we can go back to living as before. But perhaps this time has much more to transmit to us; perhaps it can take us to new horizons. In what way?

One day a person tells me that he feels a bit compressed, because he is used to living life as if he were in a moving car. Now we have to park, get out and try to make those usual routes on foot. You can observe so many things when doing small steps. What a different immersion in reality, which you can finally notice, without running through it. Landscapes; people; different routes; the existence of the poor around us…

This is what Advent opens us up to this year! Taking advantage of this forced slowdown, to give space to what we are living with haste and almost without value any more: time to observe; time to reflect; time for a conversation without a watch in hand; time to give. And, why not, time for a simple daily prayer in which to tell the Lord what I have lived through the day; what the expectations and desires of the heart were today. Perhaps no different from the characters I will find, taking the daily readings of Advent time.

Let us not waste these weeks! Let us not make them just an antechamber of Christmas, but an opportunity to let today’s time speak and to remind ourselves that ours is the God with us.

2020-11-29 Fr. Agostino Caletti

God saw it was very good

by Gianluca Severin

Among the experiences that characterize life in the novitiate are the outings that we experience together every week, walking in the nature surrounding the city.

When we arrive at the summit, under the deepest sky, on suspended peaks, surrounded by the mountains and the sea, our wonder blossoms into praise. The Lord passed through these woods, thoughtfully spreading a thousand graces, and gazing at them along the way, with his face alone, left them covered in beauty. Creatures are a footprint of God’s footsteps, thanks to which we perceive his greatness, power and wisdom. (Saint John of the Cross)

The heart unites us with every creature singing the joy of its existence, that proclaims His infinite creativity, His supreme wisdom, His eternal tenderness. An immense space opens up before us in which everything takes on the measure of infinite, and within us expands so much the desire for heights, for splendor, for freedom.

And here, without having asked, without having deserved, I am here too.

O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches [Psalm 104:24]

While the ear immerses itself in the silence, and notices the distant roar of a waterfall, the rustling of branches, the screech of a hawk, the sense of the sacred arises in us.

I respect very deeply and, at the same time, I retain the utmost intimacy in which He welcomes me; I am pervaded by an abysmal unworthiness and, at the same time, by the sweetest boldness when He approaches: “Don’t be afraid. It’s me”. Faced with the sublime, I am not afraid but attracted, in love; faced with the unknown I don’t fall silent but I dialogue about the deepest and most sincere things in life; faced with the infinite, I don’t run away but I entrust myself, I let be embraced; faced with mystery, I do not retreat but I open myself to friendship, to communion. And I perceive everything as work of God, myself as work of God, and God at work in life.

The Spirit of the Lord fills the universe, and embracing everything, knows every voice [Wis 1,7]

While we rest together among rocks that reach out to the sky, shaped and enlivened by the shining light, by the blowing wind, by the flowing water, we live not as servants, not as masters but as friends.

We share the journey, punctuated by the slow and persevering climb, and the pauses, the tiredness and the daring, the fatigue and the wonder. We share bread and water, a daily gesture, but which, after a common effort, is more frank and serene, it has a flavor of greater intimacy. We share the stories that everyone has to tell, the past that brought us here, the future that we glimpse on the horizon, the fears and passions, the laughter and the sadness, the doubts and enthusiasms. We share each other’s silent company. And I feel like I’m among brothers.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them [Mt 18:20]

By living these we save ourselves: in the praise, in the sacred, in the friendship of God, our salvation, the fullness of life, is already achieved.

God created human beings to praise, reverence, and serve God, and by doing this, to save their souls. God created all other things on the face of the earth to help fulfill this purpose [Principle and foundation of the Spiritual Exercise]

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