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

Living without a smartphone

21 Jul 2021

I was in Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania, in the House of Spiritual Exercises of the Society of Jesus, two weeks before my departure for Italy where I was going to take a language course in preparation for the Novitiate. In a conversation with a jesuit in formation, I came to discover for the first time that I could not use my personal cell phone for the two years of the Novitiate. I must admit that it was not one of the best news before entering the Novitiate. Surprised by this novelty, the first question I asked myself was to try to understand “why” of such a choice and what it had to do with my vocation to follow the Lord.

St. Ignatius reminds us in the book of the Spiritual Exercises that we are too tied to what surrounds us and this can create disordered affections. These disordered attachments and affects towards which we have expectations often and inevitably produce sadness and pain and prevent us from being happy. Instead as Christians we are called by Jesus to be happy and alive as he himself says: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (Mk 10:10).

We all know that the smartphone or a simple cell phone are not indispensable things for our life. But we know that they are tools that first of all facilitate and help our relationships, connecting us with other people. They help us travel, manage our personal economy, manage our time and especially the free time. They offer us the opportunity to have fun and interact with new people in so-called social media. Looking at this great offer it is not difficult to find dynamics, people, relationships, things to which we can bond and become attached in a disordered way.

After almost two years without using my personal phone, I am surprised to realize how important and meaningful this choice was for me, how strong in the past my attachment has been towards so many things, dynamics and people and how much the situation has changed since that moment. I can say that I am satisfied with this experience, which first of all brought me a greater awareness of my life and a freedom that took away many fears and pushes me towards the greatest desires.

2021-07-21 Raul Ciocani, second year novice

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