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

Let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot!

by Janez Gorenc

It’s June and summer is already in full swing. This can be noted not only from the increasingly hot days but also from nature, which this year – thanks to the abundant rain – surprises us with vivid colours. On the other hand, all this rain also makes us work hard. The grass in the garden grows continuously, so the most important commitment at the moment for Br. Paride, the house minister, is the maintenance of the grounds. But I wouldn’t like to complain about this, rather I would like to talk to you, dear visitors of our website, about the experience of daily work in general, which always seems to me a very important element of the day in the novitiate.

That said, I now find myself at a loss regarding where to start. This feeling calls to my mind the Father Master who often underlines the importance of the everyday and of trying to live these moments as fully as possible. It seems to me that the morning chores are a beautiful exercise that shows you how you can live something trivial in fullness.

And where is fullness found in hoeing the garden, in gathering leaves, mowing the grass or repairing the umpteenth thing that doesn’t work? One of the possibilities could be that the experience lived in prayer is applied concretely, that it does not become an activity to be proposed to the novices so as not to think about various trivialities. An activity that is not only physical but also spiritual, which helps you to go beyond yourself towards the other.

Here also comes another sentence that I borrow from St. Ignatius: “…love consists in interchange between the two parties; that is to say in the lover’s giving and communicating to the beloved what he has or out of what he has or can; and so, on the contrary, the beloved to the lover…”. So work becomes a place of fraternal sharing of time, experiences and talents. In this context, relationships are often deepened and talents discovered that were not known to exist before. Another aspect of morning chores that gives added value to the work we do is the fact that the novitiate and its surroundings become more orderly and make them more welcoming to the people who spend a few days of prayer here. I speak from experience when I say that prayer is better in an orderly environment. Thus we novices can do our small part to help our guests with prayer and their relationship with the Lord.

It is truly a challenge to live something which is almost taken for granted, such as work, that becomes a place of personal growth and of community.

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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