Try to imagine entering a new family, different from your, at another home, with another timetable, in a city to discover. Without your parents. Without the usual faces. Without your usual pc and television. Without our loyal smartphone companion. Imagine even not knowing the people you meet. But above all, imagine getting in there after being driven by a great desire to do that life!
We felt more or less so we were new novices just entered the novitiate of Genoa. Definitely disoriented, at first, by new faces and maybe even by the free time for ourselves. In fact, the first two weeks have been a “probation” for us to get in, stop and hear. There were novelties to consider. It is often believed that the time to “listen” is useless or badly spent. There are so many things going on during the day but they slide away; you just have a word, some work and you’ve finished the day.
In these two weeks the invitation was: “quiet, listen!” Of course, it was not easy to be quiet. I do not hide that the alarm at 6:30 every day was a bit annoying. Not to mention the confusion we had during the first Vespers all together, we did not know how to use the breviary. But the Lord, of course, He’s a part of the family, gives us our time. It does not pretend we understand everything at first sight, like the big sprint at the start of a race. We got slowly into the rhythms of the Novitiate’s house, a bit of cleaning, the trip with the second-year novices to Diamond Fort, our embarrassing volleyball game. Having a coffee and a game at Trivial Pursuit grows the idea of not being finished too bad after all.
Reading with Father Maestro the Company’s Formula in which we ask to enter helps us to understand, to remember Who we enter for. Ignatius demands a lot from the members of the Company, but certainly not to become supermen. It teaches us that going deep enough takes time, a little more than to read a WhatsApp message.
Then comes the retirement time to re-read these two weeks, full of new life. Even in retiring, the Lord seems to have reminded us that it takes time for us to know ourselves and to know Him, or at least to begin. And so here we are, grateful for being welcomed, confident to begin the journey. At the end of the day there is always brother Sergio with his farmer’s wisdom who always brings us all back down to earth.