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Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus
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Learn to see the gaze of others

by Filippo Carlomagno

Almost towards the end of the study phase for writing an essay on a theme of our spirituality, I do not remember well what I should give to Lorenzo or what he should give me back, passing from my room he makes me an appreciation of the state in which my desk and the rest of the room.
By now I was overwhelmed by disorderly chaos – or chaos near the point of no return, between notes, books, scattered sheets on the desk and which they spread over the rest of the room. In this picture, from a post-apocalyptic film, he tells me: “I like this room!”.
At that moment I realized that what for me could have, at times, a certain sense of orderly chaos, (in which at the third attempt at most I would have been able to find what I was looking for), in the eyes of others it was another thing: it could be a sign of a certain life. “It really gives me the impression that this room is lived in!”.
And I feel like saying that even the things we touch can transmit a certain way of life, or at least a certain way of “being in relationship”.
The fact is that the community experience is more and more revealing of how the horizon of the other, of which we have participated in the closeness and sharing, can be an opportunity to let ourselves be widened in our gaze, and in our knowledge, on yourself through this encounter.
The experience of the gaze of the other certainly helps to welcome, and at the same time activates, as a reaction, the desire to know each other more authentically, to investigate oneself. In this scrutiny it turns out that another gaze is turned on us, which comes from very far away … it is the gaze of the “God of the vision” who, turning to him, makes us say like Hagar: “I have not seen here he who sees me? ” (Gen16:13).
And this is the experience of the first disciples, who testify to what they have seen and experienced, which is transmitted to us and of which we are, even in everyday things, made part. St. Ignatius would say “find God in all things”. And so in daily life we realize that having our eyes open, teaches us to look around carefully, and doing it with commitment opens us to wonder.
From classic lazy people that we are, that we would like to meet His gaze where we turn ours, the Lord inconveniences us from time to time in attracting attention to other things causing, in the tension in His search, a refinement of our filters. Pope Francis would say the “Tenderness of the Gaze”, which knows how to meet the Other in the other who is again that God of vision.
Even more, one could say that this novitiate experience is that of co-inhabiting that Gaze that shows us the direction to follow. Then it is good to resign oneself to the discovery – always new, because it is so simple that it is simply easy to forget- that the companion on the road is not only the boring person to bear, he can become, with the exercise of patience, and with the temperance of the welcome the opportunity to “stay in it” and therefore to feel part of a journey that widens our horizons more and more, towards something that in everyday disorder can show us the traces of the presence of the owner of the original gaze, which is the cause of all this.

Filippo Carlomagno, novice of the second year

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