Jesuit Novitiate
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus
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Discernment with many voices

by Carmine Carano

On Tuesday, May 29th, I and the other members of the novitiate community lived a day of silence, prayer and sharing.

The day began at 8 with Lauds. At 9:15 am we received indications on how to live the first part of the experience: an hour of individual prayer, sharing in groups, and finally community sharing. We divided into three groups: first year, second year and the formation team. The aim was to identify consolations and desolations, the beautiful and arid moments, the joys and difficulties which the community experienced during the last year. Such as Moses saw the Lord behind him after his passage, so did we reread the year to understand where and when God had given something of himself.

First individually, then as a group. This moment allowed us to notice points in common, and to identify important elements that one group had underlined and the other not. It was enriching.

After lunch the same method: individual prayer, sharing in groups, then sharing all together. But the purpose was different. We did not reread the year, but with what had emerged in the morning review we searched for decisions to recommend. Here too we found convergent points and others less so. Each gave his own contribution, aware of being in search of the common and shared good.

It was something new for me. Prayer and sharing not simply for my journey, but with an attentive gaze upon the experiences of the community and listening to what the Lord wanted to tell me for the best of the community.

There is still a third step: to entrust everything to the prayer of the Novice Master so that the Lord shows us the way to go. This discernment does not want to arrive at concrete decisions by summing up the contributions of individual novices or formators. The exercise aims to identify, with the help of the Lord, recommendations which are deeply shared and community oriented that can show on which steps already made to insist or what new steps to take. The superior then collected and noted the consolations and desolations that had emerged, the proposed recommendations, and now brings them before the Lord with this intention.

The exercise shows the steps of the Ignatian way of proceeding: prayer, sharing, individuals’ proposals; trust in the superior, who receives all this, in turn prays and reflects, and finally decides.

We ended the day with the Eucharist. There Jesus listens and gathers in his embrace the fragility and the resources, the struggles and the strengths of the whole community.

https://archden.org/religious_order/missionaries-of-charity-m-c/#.XNL7Mo4zbIX

Being a new creation (Gal 6,15)

by Pietro Coppa

22nd April 2019: Genoa Airport, 1.40 pm. The person in charge of checking the documents of the passengers arriving from the flight coming from Tirana, having viewed my identity card, asked me with a smile: “Vacation?” and I : “To be honest, I’m a religious and I’ve been in Albania for an apostolic experience”. Leaving aside the fact that I would have branded as science fiction a similar dialogue with me as the protagonist until a few years ago, I would like to share with you something about the period I spent in the land of the Eagles.

One of the most beautiful memories is the meeting with the Missionaries of Charity, the female religious institute founded by Mother Teresa. During the time I spent in Tirana and Scutari, I did service more than once in their residences. What characterises their charisma is the commitment to serve “the poorest of the poor” and I can assure you that they embody this ideal perfectly. In the structures they manage, they welcome and house in a stable manner people born with serious physical and/or mental disabilities and who are rejected by their parents because of this, as well as several elderly who for reasons of age are no longer self-sufficient and who, without the help of the family, no longer receive any assistance. Every day they provide everything that is necessary to ensure them a dignified life.

But what amazed me was not what they do! What left me astounded me was their angelic appearance. Although they lead a very austere life, characterised by numerous deprivations and a rhythm of work that is difficult to sustain, their face is always radiant, a mask of peace and joy, stuff that would make a Buddhist monk envious. They are very kind and welcoming with guests, always gentle and patient with the people they care of. They are also capable of humour and irony. By spending time in their residences you understand concretely what Paul was talking about when he said that what matters is being “a new creation” (Gal 6:15). Speaking with them, one is then struck by hearing them say that service to the poor, their main occupation, is not the center of their life and that all their commitment originates and takes meaning from a relationship with Jesus, which transforms us and makes us more and more like Him.

This meeting confirmed me in the certainty that serving others and prayer give that fullness to which we aspire deeply and that other recipes are not able to guarantee us. Following the Lord can sometimes seem depersonalizing, but it is precisely in the decentralisation of ourselves and in the death of our egoism and our narcissism that we find what we really desire.

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