The search for “something more”
I was firmly convinced that I had and wanted a normal life. The great adventure of being a scout, my questions about reality led me to look for something more. So I started the journey for a deeper life in the Society of Jesus. The “something more” of God.
I have pushed myself much further than when I entered the penumbra of the Sapienza University Chapel. I am amazed at how mysteriously the Lord brought me to the Novitiate. My name is Alessandro, I come from Rome, I am 22 years old and I am a Jesuit novice. I grew up in a Christian family, but without a strong sense of faith. I lived a tranquil childhood with my younger brother and my parents. As a child I was very fascinated by reading, I would immerse myself in novels and in my imagination. Perhaps this is why I developed a very reflective side to my character. Karate and scouting have been among the strongest and most lasting experiences of my life. Karate taught me how to use my body.
The world of the Scouts of Europe is an environment in which I entered as a child, which has taken me very far. I grew up like this, from studies and commitment to school, to karate training and scouting and many beautiful friendships. And so I encountered faith. In child’s play, in the deepest reflection as an adolescent. Not always with satisfying answers. Like many others, during adolescence I lived moments of inner doubt and of aversion towards this strange and distant institution that was the Church. But scouting was much more: the search for simple joys, living on the essential, activities in nature, the possibility of meeting others. In one of these meetings organized with my Clan we ended up at the Sapienza University Chapel. It was my first year at university, I had chosen philosophy in line with my tendency to think and reflect critically. At that time I had a “common” life: I was studying, taken up by many activities, in a beautiful relationship with a girl. Just in that year of changes, an interesting opportunity presented itself, much more involving than I expected. Itpresented itself to me or Someone prepared it for me. I participated in a course of spiritual exercises in daily life. It was the first time I had entered into contact with Jesuits. Since then I continued to follow the deep impact that experience left on me. It was a year immersed in prayer, the discovery of Ignatian spirituality. Fresh but deep, able to enrich life. It was the moment of encounter with a Person called Jesus and with his life. But I didn’t think it would anything but a lovely experience. Yet there was something more. A desire stirred in me, very subtle, confused and at times frightening, the desire to live that sort of life too. The reason why clarified itself and is still being clarified today. The life of the Jesuit was the way to follow the “better” that made me feel good and allowed me to share this happiness with others. I remember the tranquility of the Jesuit to whom I described this feeling. While I was terrified he just said: “Well Alessandro, there is a journey to be started.” So it was that two years passed: the first a long year of discernment through the course “the compass”, a year which was not easy nor to be taken for granted. But at the end of that year, I agreed to reply to a desire that challenged my whole life. The second year was a year of waiting and experimentation of this desire in everyday life. I left scouting with the Departure, grateful for what I had received, feeling a bit like someone looking for their homeland, a bit like Abraham. That year too was a year of personal discoveries and colloquis to bring me to the reply in the affirmative of the provincial and my joy in receiving it. Many shared this joy with me but not everyone. I left many friends perplexed at such a choice so great, so strange. So I entered the Novitiate in the midst of a thousand dreams and memories of the past, some uncertainty about the future. That Jesus who had fascinated me until I decided to try to follow him continued to amaze me. Ever since I entered the Novitiate, I am learning to discover how many things are not useful for my relationship with the Lord. How much more free my life can be with Him. A journey to be discovered.