GESUITI noviziato
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus

In dialogue with God

by Raul Petru Ciocani

Few days ago we, novices of the first year, returned to the novitiate after having lived the first and most important experiment of this period of formation, the Ignatian spiritual exercises.
This five weeks retreat, still freshly in my mind, is not a moment of change – and this must be emphasized – because God does not want to change who we are: he created us this way and thus loves us, states Saint Ignatius, the one who proposes this path. The exercises are an experience of understanding, of drawing closer to God and of deepening the mystery of his presence in the world and the bond of love he has with us. An inner, personal pilgrimage where you are not alone. This is exactly what it is about, an inner journey accompanied by Him, our Creator. The Novice Master at the beginning of the exercises said: “God has prepared us for this experience, he programmed it and awaits us and accompanies us.” This was confirmed by the fact that we during a month of silence did not feel alone. He speaks to us, accompanies us and always offers us new challenges. This path of meditation and contemplation in search of God, who created us out of his love and offered us the earthly life of his Son for our salvation, also brings the answers to our questions. Going in depth, discovering yourself, your values ​​and your virtues, all of this as a gift that flows from the love of God.
What do we do with all that we have received, what do we do with our life, how to use it?
About 2000 years ago Jesus, Son of God, was born in Bethlehem, lived 33 years, was condemned, died and rose again. This also perfectly concerns my life today, it is a gift for me, an example of life given by the Winner who eradicates sin, all the daily dynamics that sadden us, and our dark part. Jesus makes it clear that the salvation of our soul does not have a “point zero”, it is a path, similar to his life. He came to help, give us examples, encourage us and show us the truth so that we can follow it. And besides, the Risen is present in our life, we just have to collaborate. Here is the most important thing: we must collaborate. But how?
The month of spiritual exercises offers the opportunity to understand this deeply, to see it in detail, to understand the gift that Jesus gives us and to learn how to exploit this gift.
I am happy and grateful to have had this experience, born through the experience of conversion of Saint Ignatius, to know more about the mystery of the life of Jesus and to be able to welcome better the love of God and the close relationship with him (relationship of forgiveness and love), that wants to develop within each of us.
The Romanian Jesuit, fr. Marius Taloș expresses it well in his introduction to the book of Spiritual Exercises: “The exercises have already transformed many hearts and many lives and have led to many personal, social and cultural changes.”

Raul P. Ciocani, novice of the first year

Unconfortable choices

by Guglielmo Scocco

“Be slow. Don’t be afraid to be slow. The baby in the belly grows slowly. Fruits on trees ripen slowly. Nature changes slowly. You grow slowly. Don’t look for everything immediately. Ripen. Slowly. Trust in God’s slow and steady work. Be the slowness. Let slowness be to you a gospel. Good news. Going slow you meet me. You abide with me. You remember me. You are in me. Jesus grew up slowly in Nazareth. The sun proceeds slowly. How long did it take for life to be born on earth? How long did it take before mankind arrived? Don’t be afraid to be out of place, to feel judged for your slowness. Be slow.”

These are some of the words I have taken home from the month of spiritual exercises in silence. For me, as I am, it is very difficult to put them into practice in daily life. Apparent obligations to ourselves and to others lead us to lose inner peace. But is this really so? Are we so enslaved to ourselves that we cannot choose what is really good for us?

In the “permanent pilgrimage” that is the novitiate, the challenge is to follow Jesus and try to become like Him, not only because of a “law” written centuries ago by Saint Ignatius, but above all because of the living law of love that we all have engraved in our hearts and that leads us to desire ever deeper union with our beloved. In the thousands daily activities, I deeply desire, like Jesus, to remain rooted and established in the Father and in His merciful love. How? The answer is perhaps uncomfortable, but it is the only possible one: by overcoming myself. I cannot keep everything together by my own efforts alone. I cannot control everything. I can’t do everything by myself demanding the peace that comes from Another. I must stop. Go back to Him. This slowness is uncomfortable – it asks us to let go, to trust – yet it is the only way to life.

The choice is ours. The Lord is already waiting for us with open arms.

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