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

Danimarca e pizza fritta


Denmark and Fried Pizza

07 Mar 2020

An hour to fry the pizzas. Filippo is still busy working the pasta and filling it with what he needs while Lorenzo and I are busy keeping the oil at temperature. From time to time the oil splashes due to the contact with the tomato that comes out. Delicate operations carried out without making noise because it’s 7 pm and it’s time for prayer, so while cooking, we pray the rosary and in the silence of the work our gaze is fixed in the oil of the pan and my memory takes me back to the moments of the month of the Spiritual Exercises.
I think back to how intense the recently concluded experience was, to the flame of the Spirit that animated the recent contemplations, to the life of Jesus and to all the gifts received, especially those that arrived without me asking for them, as the Gospel says, “your Father knows what things you need even before you ask Him” (Matt. 6:7-15).; I get back to myself to prepare supper and God already returns to manifest Himself in the daily life of the Novitiate.
But the community that has just been reunited is again close to separation because the second year novices have packed their bags for their Lent experiment and pizzas are the best way to celebrate a stage that has ended and another that is about to begin, but also an opportunity for deeper reflection: how many differences characterize us! Memory this time takes a leap back to the days when I worked ina Neapolitan pizzeria to pay for for my university studies. I notice the difference. The stress of work leaves room for joy in sharing a tradition of my Naples with others.
But after dinner another date awaits us. Daniel makes us fly to Denmark animating the recreation with a description of his country! He tells us about Copenhagen, the Queen, the “neighbouring” Faroe Islands and Greenland. Worlds unknown to me, entered my imagination thanks to Andersen’s fairy tales and some famous footballers: goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and the Laudrup brothers.
We have really a lot to thank the Lord for within the walls of our community. Just as the first founders of the Society of Jesus were Basques, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Savoy, so too we come from the most diverse places in Europe and so much richness is further enriched, to paraphrase Saint Paul, by the moans with which the Spirit speaks to each one in an absolutely personal way, making everyday life the best exercise to see God’s work.

Pasquale Landolfi, first years novice

All in the field…for a full life!

by Daniele Angiuli

Community life is like a big soccer game. That’s the image that flashed through my mind while playing on the field with my teammates, amidst the running and the shortness of breath, the falls and the sweat. Each in his own position and at the same time in close relationship with the others: those in attack, ready to run toward the goal and score for the team; those in midfield to retrieve balls and act as “bridges” between players; those in defense to prevent opponents from advancing; those in goal to catch the ball and avoid the net.

There is no one role more eminent than another but all are necessary for the success of the game, just as in the community everyone is important and everyone can contribute. It is essential that each person does his part without declining to others, knowing, however, that he can count on the help of teammates. All called, as Luciano Ligabue says in “Una vita da mediano,”” to cover certain areas, to play generous” to be “there in the middle” of life.

I believe that in the field the only valid personal pronoun subject is “We.” Even in community life it is necessary to move from the ‘individualism of the “I” to the communion of the “we,” to think and act in the plural as Pope Francis often reminds us. If every player on the field started to go it alone, to run like a loose cannon, he would fail in his goal and even if he managed to score a goal, he would not achieve the real “goal”: teamwork, full communion with his teammates. So too in community life in the novitiate: it is necessary to look beyond the tip of one’s nose, to notice who is beside us, his need, to have the courage to step back and pass the ball to the other, always for the true good of all.

Every team has its own coach: he is responsible for preparation and game strategies. He is the first one who cheers for his team, trusts each person and insists that they give their best, according to their abilities. I like to think of the figure of Jesus as the real coach, as Carlo Nesti had already guessed in his book “My Coach’s Name is Jesus.” He encourages, spurs, believes, hopes in each of us and in the work of the whole team; he wants our “joy to be full” (Jn. 15:11).

It is difficult at times to live according to the demanding proposal of this great Coach, but not impossible. We need to put ourselves in the school of the Gospel, which prepares us to be athletes as the apostle Paul tells us: “Do you not know that in the stadium races all run, but only one wins the prize? You also run so as to conquer it! However, every athlete is disciplined in everything; they do so in order to obtain a crown that withers away, we, on the other hand, one that lasts forever. ”  (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).

By living on “Jesus’ team,” our community, like every Christian community, will truly experience, in the midst of difficulties, the taste of a full existence, the flavor of true communion.

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