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

The keys to the house

by Christian Lefta

Let me afford to borrow the words that make up the title of a beautiful song by Niccolò Fabi, released in 2016 as the eighth track within the album Una somma di piccole cose, to describe the strange beauty of a time like the summer one in the novitiate. The house empties out, the community disperses in the many different experiments, the usual schedules and small daily rituals that rhythm life in the novitiate fray for a moment opening up to unpredictable variations. In these cases, an attentive gaze grasps, within the obvious and the banal, an unprecedented meaning, which has always been there but which perhaps we did not see.

Between one summer experiment and another, it may happen that the novice has to base himself for a few days in the novitiate. These are unusual breaks within the great summer hustle and bustle, pit stops that in my opinion are very interesting; and this is what I am experiencing these days at home, in the novitiate, in Genoa. The keys to the house represent, perhaps, precisely this secret possibility of making a base, of returning, of stopping, of finding something familiar that allows one to find oneself again. Doesn’t finding the keys to the house in your pocket mean finding again exactly this possibility of travelling without getting lost, of going out into the world without getting lost, and therefore of being able to come back home, even if only for a moment? Doesn’t finding the keys to the house mean being able to rediscover something familiar and thus, for a moment, rediscover oneself? “Be careful of the currents / And don’t forget /The keys to the house”.


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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