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

Collecting Pine Needles

by Benedek Rácz

Again this morning at home I received this assignment, “collect pine needles on the garden paths”. Every morning we have to do some assignment, but you know that collecting pine needles means that we didn’t find anything more important to do today, after all there are always pine needles to collect. This is a never ending job.

I grab my broom, rake, bags and wheelbarrow, and go out slowly. I get to work.

Sscihh, Sscihh. Cchrrr, Cchrrr.

Okay, there isn’t likely, that as a Jesuit Father, I will be given this job as my main assignment in the future. I don’t think the purpose of this job is to develop my skill in collecting pine needles. So instead what is the purpose?

Sscihh, Sscihh. Cchrrr, Cchrrr.

Obedience. This has always seemed to me to be the most difficult of the religious vows. To fulfill the task I have received.

Sscihh, Sscihh. Cchrrr, Cchrrr.

Okay, but how? That seems like a better question! (cf. Luke 1:34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How … ?”) How is one to obey? What is the purpose?

Sscihh, Sscihh. Cchrrr, Cchrrr.

What have I been sent to do? To clean the paths? In this case, I should ask for a bigger rake and a new broom so that the job can be done faster.

Sscihh, Sscihh. Cchrrr, Cchrrr.

What am I sent to do? To do things in which I feel useless, so that I may grow in humility? In this case it’s actually a useful assignment: it grows my humility. So it’s useful. But if it’s useful, doesn’t it make me more humble!?

Sscihh, Sscihh. Cchrrr, Cchrrr.

What am I sent to do? Thinking about all this, asking myself these questions?

I don’t know.

My brethren and superiors are close to me, though. What would happen if I asked them?

Sscihh, Sscihh. Cchrrr, Cchrrr.


Benedek Rácz

summer break

11 Aug 2022

We inform our reader friends that the publication of articles on our life in the novitiate, for this year, stops here. We will see you again as always in September, after the August break.

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