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

Annoying differences

24 Jan 2020

The year 2020 has arrived and with it many events, possibilities, people, different from last year. These new things come many times from the people that are already around us or from others that arrive in our life.
We know, however, that many times it is difficult to accept the differences, even those that derive from the encounters with our relatives and friends. Sometimes we are just “annoying” to each other. Let’s see some simple examples of relational difficulties.

  • Q: Why did you clean the sink so badly? A: Because I am in a hurry. And in turn; Why are you so slow in cleaning the shower?
  • Q: But why are you always so silent? A: I like it, I don’t have things to say; And you, why are you always talking?
  • Q: Why don’t you walk on the sidewalk? A: Come on, there is no car around; But you, why do you always have to be so rigid?

These are only a few trivial cases of differences, which can reveal aspects of character. Despite all this, Jesus told us to accept everyone. He even prayed for us:”That they all may be one”(Jn 17:21). But if we experience difficulties in small things, how can we expect that we will ever be united?
Fortunately, Jesus understood this problem and expressed himself in a prayer, the meaning of which is not to become equal.”Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ” (1Cor 12, 12). Sometimes it is difficult to try to live one’s own uniqueness and accept that of others and at the same time live the imperfect, human unity. This was one of the ways of life of Jesus with his apostles and Ignatius of Loyola with his ten companions and we see that their project has brought us a positively changed world. Even in the novitiate, in this mixture of young (or not so young) novices and formators from six different nations, who are from twenty-three to seventy-nine years old, we are discovering a miriad of treasures in each other. I’ll write some examples:

  • Someone did not care so much about sacred art (he took it almost for granted) but the passion of another novice brought him closer to it’s beauty and importance.
  • Another was not used to eating salty food in the morning, but one of the foreign novices intrigued him with his habit. He tried it and now he doesn’t mind eating like that either.
  • There was a novice who was not used to a creative and somewhat disorganized way of doing things and recognized that it also works and that there is no need to always plan everything perfectly.
  • Yet another of us recognized that some other boys, who seemed closed and superficial, are actually very profound, even if this way of being is foreign to him.
  • One was surprised by the different way of doing things of the master father in comparison with his previous spiritual father and found the change positive.

Living, working, being together in this composite group brings so many possibilities and so much beauty to
discover in life that it is worth making the effort to experience it.


Urban Gartner, novice of the second year

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