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

16 Apr 2018

One month after entering the novitiate, the master assigned each first year novice a pastoral service to assist in the different communities in Genoa. A small taste of apostolic life. I was sent to the Scout group that meets up at the parish of  Santa Maria di Castello: the “Genova 40”, in which I participate in the activities of the Clan, a group of young adults aged between 17 and 21 years.

Scouting is strongly inspired by the value of the journey. Walking for a long time allows you to know, dominate and overcome your limits and gives a taste for adventure. Carrying a backpack for a long time and staying overnight in different places far away from each other, it is possible to learn the skill of essentiality, understood as the ability to live with only the absolutely necessary. Walking in nature is a privileged moment of encounter with God. On the other hand, the company of others teaches the joy of being together, friendship, fraternity, solidarity and acceptance. Finally, the journey helps to live moments of silence in which it is possible to think and reflect on one’s personal growth path.

During the Easter Triduum, we organized a three-day walk along the Via Francigena, an ancient road that in the Middle Ages united Canterbury to Rome and the ports of Puglia, recently rediscovered by modern travelers.

We left early on Maundy Thursday, reaching Massa by train. Our journey began there; once out of the city centre we could admire the famous marble quarries and the processing sites of this precious material. Proceeding along the path we came across the Rocca Malaspina, a medieval fortification that served as the ancient seat of the city’s rulers. The route then presented us with an array of natural and artistic beauties. The stupendous hilltop landscapes of Tuscany alternated with entrances into picturesque villages and towns. We especially appreciated Pietrasanta and its magnificent Duomo. At the end of the day walking we spent the night in Camaiore, staying in the rooms of a parish in the countryside, obviously on the floor and in sleeping bags. The next day we headed to Lucca, a true gem, which we had the pleasure of visiting both at night and during the day, enjoying the beauty of the caliber of Piazza dell’Anfiteatro and the church of San Michele in Foro. Back in Genoa we concluded the triduum by participating in the Easter vigil at Santa Maria di Castello.

After these three wonderful days, I returned to the Novitiate to celebrate Easter with my companions, grateful to the Lord for what was received.

God saw it was very good

by Gianluca Severin

Among the experiences that characterize life in the novitiate are the outings that we experience together every week, walking in the nature surrounding the city.

When we arrive at the summit, under the deepest sky, on suspended peaks, surrounded by the mountains and the sea, our wonder blossoms into praise. The Lord passed through these woods, thoughtfully spreading a thousand graces, and gazing at them along the way, with his face alone, left them covered in beauty. Creatures are a footprint of God’s footsteps, thanks to which we perceive his greatness, power and wisdom. (Saint John of the Cross)

The heart unites us with every creature singing the joy of its existence, that proclaims His infinite creativity, His supreme wisdom, His eternal tenderness. An immense space opens up before us in which everything takes on the measure of infinite, and within us expands so much the desire for heights, for splendor, for freedom.

And here, without having asked, without having deserved, I am here too.

O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches [Psalm 104:24]

While the ear immerses itself in the silence, and notices the distant roar of a waterfall, the rustling of branches, the screech of a hawk, the sense of the sacred arises in us.

I respect very deeply and, at the same time, I retain the utmost intimacy in which He welcomes me; I am pervaded by an abysmal unworthiness and, at the same time, by the sweetest boldness when He approaches: “Don’t be afraid. It’s me”. Faced with the sublime, I am not afraid but attracted, in love; faced with the unknown I don’t fall silent but I dialogue about the deepest and most sincere things in life; faced with the infinite, I don’t run away but I entrust myself, I let be embraced; faced with mystery, I do not retreat but I open myself to friendship, to communion. And I perceive everything as work of God, myself as work of God, and God at work in life.

The Spirit of the Lord fills the universe, and embracing everything, knows every voice [Wis 1,7]

While we rest together among rocks that reach out to the sky, shaped and enlivened by the shining light, by the blowing wind, by the flowing water, we live not as servants, not as masters but as friends.

We share the journey, punctuated by the slow and persevering climb, and the pauses, the tiredness and the daring, the fatigue and the wonder. We share bread and water, a daily gesture, but which, after a common effort, is more frank and serene, it has a flavor of greater intimacy. We share the stories that everyone has to tell, the past that brought us here, the future that we glimpse on the horizon, the fears and passions, the laughter and the sadness, the doubts and enthusiasms. We share each other’s silent company. And I feel like I’m among brothers.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them [Mt 18:20]

By living these we save ourselves: in the praise, in the sacred, in the friendship of God, our salvation, the fullness of life, is already achieved.

God created human beings to praise, reverence, and serve God, and by doing this, to save their souls. God created all other things on the face of the earth to help fulfill this purpose [Principle and foundation of the Spiritual Exercise]


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