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


by Gianluca Severin

Non coerceri a maximo,
contineri tamen a minimo
divinum est

This ancient verse from an anonymous young Jesuit could be translated:

Not to be constrained by the greatest,
To be contained by the smallest,
this is God’s own

Advent calls us to await filled with hope; over the centuries men have walked tirelessly looking for that place to feel at home, countless nights they have stayed awake searching for that light that could brighten their days, they have raised loud cries to the sky trusting in an answer, they have dug to the boundaries of the soul, wholeheartedly they have searched within themselves to meet Someone. The man felt called out of himself, as a restless wayfarer, to meet Who had always been waiting for him. In our desire to meet him fails to constrain us the greatest.

Advent calls us to await filled with praise; so many moments of our days, so many things of our daily life, so many acts of our relationships pass fragile, humble, ordinary and even dull. Yet in our lives we have those special moments, those dear objects, those meaningful acts that often come to us unexpectedly, suddenly. When we tell them to others, full of memories and emotions, they listen to us, carried by our warmth, but can they fully understand why that afternoon in the mountains, that worn-out shirt, that tear lit up our existence? Maybe not, but they too have a precious fragment and they too can figure that joy. To find Him the smallest is enough for us.

In his life as a pilgrim and as a companion of Jesus, saint father Ignatius learned to contemplate the revelation of God in human and earthly realities. In the last leg of his journey, whenever he wanted to find God, he found Him.

Christmas, God who chooses to become man, gives us a chance to contemplate these realities: in the upheavals of history, in the vastness of geography, the Spirit descends, delicate and full of affection, on the womb of a young girl. In a marginal village of Galilee, the Lord, the God of the Universe, the Awaited for the centuries, became a tiny embryo of human flesh.

In these days of Advent, let, in peace and silence, grow within us the promise of love and of a new life.

And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us,
(and we beheld his glory,
the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace and truth. (Jn 1, 14)

He came to live among us

by Gianluca Severin

The night looms dark and silent over the world. Men, living in darkness and in the shadow of death, ask themselves: who am I? Why was I born at this time? Why do I love? Why do I suffer? Why will I die? While a profound silence enveloped all things, and the night was halfway through its course, God responds, becoming man. The star shines: darkness remains, but the light pierces it, does not allow itself to be buried and shows the way. It is a single celebration, on earth as it is in heaven: the peace promised to all men has arrived because He loves them.

Scattered everywhere are the shepherds; there are those who waited, those who feared what would happen, those who didn’t care: all of these, first, receive the news, suddenly in the tiring boredom of a cold and lonely night. Some come running, amazed and hopeful, the first witnesses of God-with-us; others remain at their occupations; some don’t listen, others fear deception and danger, others don’t believe it’s worth it. There are all of them in the nativity.

The Magi come from afar. Wise and thirsty for the infinite, they faced, following the star, a journey of desires and doubts, hopes and fears, they arrive in Bethlehem. In that stable they kneel, in front of that naked child on the bare rock the joy is immense, they open their treasure chests, offer gold, incense and myrrh: God, whom the greatest cannot contain, now inhabits the smallest.

In the background here is Jerusalem, majestic and crumbling, which rejects those in need and kills the prophets who are sent to it. What do you fear, O Herod, at the announcement that the King has been born? You make your choice: a God who is not reflection or prop of your glory must be destroyed; power reasserts itself by shedding innocent blood. You want to kill the Life that, lying in a manger, makes your throne totter. He did not come to be served but to serve! You decree, to eliminate that one, the extermination of many children: heartbroken mothers don’t make you hesitate, the lament of fathers doesn’t move you, the moan of newborns doesn’t stop you.

To the announcement of the angel asking her to become the Mother of God, Mary responded with confidence.

Joseph, a righteous man, had entrusted himself to the will of God, had taken charge of the mystery surrounding that child and his wife.

Now they flee, alone in a foreign land, His promise of a new life is followed by dangers of death. They leave everything, keeping everything in their hearts, with a child in their arms who, when the time has come, will leave them in order to take care of the Father’s affairs, to fulfill His will and travel the path that, from that cave, leads to the tomb and…

The nativity scene narrates the love of God who emptied himself by choosing the condition of every human being, in whatever condition. He came into our truth because He loves us, He exposes Himself to our rejection but He is always here, a gift without conditions. Put everyone in your nativity scene, your whole life, all your traditions and tastes, and in a corner, even if it is poor and hidden, put baby Jesus.


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