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

Discovering biodiversity

09 Feb 2021

During the last meeting with the educators of ACR (Azione Cattolica Ragazzi) in the parish were I do my apostolate we did an activity in which each young person wrote on a sheet of paper their most significant characteristic, as if they saw themselves in a mirror. Then, in the second round, on the other side of the paper all the other young people wrote down the qualities of their companions. The next day I reflected on this activity and tried to apply it in our novitiate community. Reviewing the journey we have made together, the first word that emerged was: gratitude.

I am grateful because I can witness how the Lord is working in the lives of each one of us. I am grateful because the good examples of others push me forward on my journey and help me through difficult times. At other times they remind me if I have forgotten something or simply open up new horizons. I am grateful, because although it is not always easy to live with the diversity among us, there are always moments when we become true gifts for others and so we can enrich each other. I am grateful, because among them and with their help I can discover what it means to be the real me.

Continuing my reflection at this point, the image came to me of a meadow in which there are various flowers and small animals. An environment where there is room for different species. This scene represents the fresh experience of the three courses we have just finished. Three different Jesuits, three different personalities, three different themes, three different methods of presentation. As if they were three different trees in this meadow. Living all three deeply in Ignatian spirituality, these Jesuits have shown us what it means to share themselves through their specialisations, using the different gifts and talents of their personalities. I am grateful for this diversity and this experience, because they help me to become the image God has of me.

2021-02-09 Dániel Tímár, second-year 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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