Jesuit Novitiate
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus
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Putting the fragments back together

by Pasquale Landolfi

“L’elogio della lentezza” (The praise of slowness) is the captivating title of a book that I always wanted to read and that exalts a lifestyle similar to the first month of the Novitiate.

The days here run slowly despite the many occupations marked by the deep chimes of silence and you have the opportunity to enjoy those little pleasures otherwise alien: a relaxed look at the Gulf of Genoa, a calm game of soccer, browsing through a book, a bit random, partly for curiosity. And the inner quiet is the absolute novelty compared to the previous life characterized by the daily doings that leave no room for breaks and reflections. However, silence is fundamental to shed light on the fragments that enrich a day: community life, apostolate, prayer, study.

In fact, before lunch and after dinner we are all called to live moments of personal re-reading in which, thanking for what we have received, we try to gather the many memories towards a single center. Each of us leaves behind important stories, affections, studies, works, habits and awareness that in the rereading assume colors and flavors absolutely new.

While I write this the words that I treasure from the end of Petrarch’s Secretum come to my mind: “I will collect the scattered fragments of the soul and I will watch diligently over myself”; so we too do a little work of reconstruction of ourselves and personally I feel much wonder in being able to bring everything back to the unity that is Jesus Christ. Living and offering daily life, even what might seem more banal or superficial, is precisely the first great challenge I am called upon to face as a novice.

Pasquale Landolfi, novice of the first year

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”.

2021-07-04

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