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

What do you care? You follow me!

by Benedek Rácz

War. Just over 1,000 kilometers away from me. In the neighborhood of my homeland. While I stand here in Genoa, in the chapel and pray for peace, I plead for lives. My desires would lead me to help concretely where the pain rages. “Lord, you would do this too, wouldn’t you? You would go there and sit here doing nothing?”. But no. It is not that simple. Jesus in his earthly life was not a problem-solving machine. Only after allowing a few days to pass did he leave to heal – by then already to raise – Lazarus (Jn 11:6) and he did not run to save the men who had been crushed by the tower of Siloe, although he was aware of what had happened (Lk 13:4). Jesus often acts in a way that makes no human sense. His actions were pleasing not to men, but always to the Father. “Only” this is my duty, that I may hear, and that I may be ready and diligent to fulfill his will. (cf. Spiritual Exercises 91)

By praying day after day I am more and more certain that I am a Jesuit religious in the Father’s dream. His will is that I be formed here in Genoa in the Novitiate. As high as the heavens are above the earth, and as high as his ways above our ways and his thoughts above our thoughts, so much must I trust the Father, believing that my prayers are the best and the most I can do for peace (cf. Is 55:9). It is a shattering experience to put my whole being in his hands every day, accepting that his will now is that I do nothing humanly concrete, and being ready if tomorrow he calls me to get up, leave the novitiate and go help under the bombs. It is a shocking experience, but anyone who has already experienced the power of this relationship and met the attractive figure of Jesus knows that this is how it is.

So every day I accept all my weaknesses, my powerlessness, and every day I rejoice when I can see how God has used me as an instrument of his love, that is, how this little reality that I am has become enough and a gift.

Benedek Rácz

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