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

Get started! But how? One step behind the other

30 Oct 2017

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.

“Blessed is he who finds his strength in you and decides on the holy journey in his heart” (Ps 83:6)

by Daniele Angiuli

Every pilgrim who leaves his home, his affections, to embark on a journey, brings with him contrasting emotions: on the one hand the joy of setting out, of encountering places of unprecedented beauty and new gazes to meet; on the other hand, homesickness for what he leaves behind, for the people he is separating from, knowing, however, that love goes far beyond geographical distances. Above all, he is animated by the desire to be ‘enriched’ along the way, not so much by souvenirs as by encounters capable of transforming him, of ‘letting himself be made’ by the journey rather than ‘making’ the journey.

I believe that similar sentiments animated the men and women of whom the Gospel tells us who, leaving occupations, relationships, set out to follow the Rabbi of Nazareth, who taught from an ‘itinerant chair’ and fascinated many with the strength of his gaze and gestures… Among the many names there is Peter, called from the Sea of Galilee to the sea of humanity; Matthew, invited to turn his gaze towards a Love without measure; Mary of Magdala, liberated by Love and called to be an Apostle of the Resurrection.

But among these names are also ours, today: Jacopo, Paolo, Andras, Gabor, Soheil, Paolo, Daniele, young people with dreams in their hearts, characterised by fragility and strengths. From 1 October, we started a journey in the novitiate community in Genoa, to enter into a more intimate relationship with the Lord, to get to know ourselves better and the lifestyle that makes us happy and makes others happy.

Each of us left a part of ourselves, attracted by a Sight and moved by the desire for a full life, in order to be ‘men all the way, or rather all the way to the top’, as Don Tonino Bello used to say. We certainly have some fears about the future that awaits us, but we trust in the One who becomes our travelling Companion who, like with the disciples of Emmaus, listens to our worries, welcomes our defeats, and rekindles hope.

A month ago, on 16 October 2023, we entered our second probation, a favourable time to go deep into the Word of God, into the writings of our Founding Father St. Ignatius, through prayer life, study, fraternal life.

The possibility of having a day punctuated by precise times, places in which we can contemplate the beauty of creation, adult people in the faith to talk with, companions on whom we can rely, is indeed a great gift from God that we hope to cherish and make bear fruit.

But your name too, dear reader, is called with love by the Master: he does not ask us to be perfect in order to leave, but the desire to dare and the will to entrust ourselves to Him, just as we allow ourselves to be moulded by Him. For us and for you, “homo viator”, the wish dear to the Scout world: “Good path!


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