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

Be prepared

by Gianluca Severin

The life and the world we find ourselves in are a mystery to contemplate and where we are called to play our loving relationship. For love we can laugh and cry, we can listen, speak and remain silent, we can plan and work, contemplate and share, we can wait and meet; every effort and every consolation, every struggle and every desire, every pain and every comfort, if lived in love, is a sweet yoke and a light burden (Mt 11.30).

At the beginning of the search for this love there is the discovery within us of a more intimate and hidden desire then ourselves: “O God, you are my God, at dawn I seek you, my soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you, like a deserted, arid land without water” (Psalm 62:2). We seek Him, blind and thirsty, and everything disappears like a shadow, everything tastes like dust, every word is silenced; we experience how tremendously relative everything is other than the One Who is ineffable, Who has no name, Who surpasses all our understanding. Here, in the desert, He speaks to our hearts (Hos 2,16). By listening we discover ourselves loved, freed from our little asphyxiated world, freed from the anguish of having to cling to ourselves with gritted teeth so as not to lose ourselves. Love, which, satisfying itself, thirsts for itself (Pg. XXXI), breaks our fear and our secret selfishness and opens us to the infinite freedom of God. But the journey does not end here.

He, the Lord of life Who wants, creates and blesses every creature (Gen 1), sends us into the world, at the service of every creature: “As I have loved you, so you also love one another” (John 13, 34). We return with Him to the world and are closest to Him precisely where He would seem furthest from Himself: in His true love for the world. Here we find His creatures, which in our pride we had first idolized, then despised, we contemplate them in the gaze of the Creator. We find the small in the Large, the finite in the Infinite, the reality in God, Who is everything in everything, Who, origin and end of everything, embraces everything. Everything we love reveals itself to be true, authentic, definitive in His light, in His peace, in His silence in which every creature, including ourselves, vibrates. We see everything not as an idol, not as nothingness, but in its own truth, goodness and beauty before God, in Whom everything is loved, everything is praised, everything is recognized as magnificent.

The Spiritual Exercises are a path so that our affections are reordered and our love is resurrected and walks, pure and free, in the Spirit, with the Son, towards the Father.Out of love we are vigilant to leave everything that clouds and lukewarms, which is not the fulfillment of our thirst for love, to put nothing before His love and service; out of love we are free to give all of ourselves with generosity, thoroughly enjoying our life and His fullness: we are thus always prepared, in every circumstance, to love like He who loved the Father with all His strength, with all His His intelligence, with all His heart and us, His brothers, as Himself (Mt 22,37-40; Mk 12,29-31; Lk 10,25-28).

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