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

Spiritu, Corde, Practice

17 Nov 2020

Being sent as the “apostles” is a central dimension of novitiate life. As a diocesan priest, until now always immersed in a frenetic activism, between parish and teaching, in the Novitiate I feel called to rediscover the foundation of the pastoral mission, at the level of “being” before “doing” and I feel I am helped in this by the whole community.

In particular, it seems important to me to share with you the meeting we had on Friday 7 November, because it brings out well the point of view and the way of proceeding that we are learning: as first and second year novices, we all gathered together with the Master’s socius, Father Iosif Sandoru, to share and discern the ongoing pastoral activities.

In an atmosphere of listening and recollection, each of us gave some descriptions and evaluations of his experience of the apostolate on the following points: where; with whom; what; positive and hindering elements; aspects of inner consolation/desolation.

A rather variegated picture emerged, due to the diversity of pastoral areas, but with at least one point in common, namely the need for continuous discernment to assess “how” to make a personal and spiritual contribution, in contexts where one cannot and must not assume full responsibility for leadership.

Some of us are involved in the youth groups from Azione Cattolica and the Scouts in the parishes, others have more direct dealings with catechetical groups, for children and families, others are involved in social service areas. A bit like the apostles who return to Jesus to recount their various experiences, it was important for us too to participate reciprocally in the extreme variety of experiences, as a richness to be shared, also to receive help and support from others, both in discernment and implementation.

We also understood that what is central in such experiences is not so much the amount of work done or the leadership shown, but the personal exercise of attention to seek and find the Lord, in His action in hearts and situations, and the full willingness to offer himself, with humility, for the expansion of His Kingdom. Even small things that happen daily, such as a conversation, a gesture, a word, can be important signs of the Spirit if the heart is willing to read them. In addition, the importance of being in different contexts with flexibility, taking advantage of opportunities to foster a service and a proposal of spirituality, has been stressed. It is not a question of imposing, but of embodying a sensibility and certain approaches that favour greater care for the interiority, in contexts traditionally marked by a certain external activism.

Finally, Father Iosif concluded the meeting by dwelling on some aspects of the Society’s typical way of proceeding: extreme adaptability according to time, place and particular circumstances; willingness to accept reality as it is in order to discern God’s action in it; opposition to the temptation of activism, feeling and tasting every aspect, even the smallest, inwardly, with full willingness to act where it is possible and necessary. Quoting Jerome Nadal, Father Iosif said that everything should be fulfilled Spiritu, Corde, Practice, that is, starting from the Spirit, with all the heart and oriented towards action.

2020-11-17. Davide Arcangeli, first year novice

Contemplatives in action

by Gianluca Severin

The Jesuits preach the Word and lead exercises, celebrate the Eucharist and reconcile those who repent, walk with the least and the excluded, repair relationships, accompany young people, protect the creation, work in schools, prisons, hospitals, compose songs, they study the universe, they carry out all the works that seem useful to the glory of God and the common good… and, in doing so, they pray.
It is not easy: in the flow of events we struggle to grasp their spiritual meaning, immersed in work and relationships we rarely preserve the interior silence of eternal light in which God lives. This is why we begin the journey along the ways of the world in the quiet of the novitiate.

God called us, in a murmur of light breeze (1 Kings 19.12), to speak to our hearts.
Here the Father welcomes us and guards us, He embraces us, we whisper “Abba…”. The closer and united we become to the Creator, the more we receive His love and grace.
Here the Son saves us from the cold and gloomy boredom of an existence spent on myself, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. (Gal 2.20), He unites us intimately to the desire to save every creature, to be sent into the world with a meek and humble heart, free and generous for every lost brother and sister.
Here the Spirit gives us faith, hope and love, in us flourish both the adoration and the commitment to the world.
Here we enter the mystery, in the intimacy with the Person. Whoever listens to His Word can also perceive His silence, so as to act through His Word and be recognized through His silence; our heart becomes altar of an incessant prayer, our life a living, holy, pleasing offering to God (Rom 12.1).
In the whirlwind of the days this interior silence allows us to remain in His presence and to see Him in all things.

Now the life that blooms, the radiant sun on our skin, the purity of the water between our fingers, the vigorous wind on our face resonate in us in praise.
The rejoicing with those who are in joy, the sadness with those who are in tears (Rom 12.15), the listening and welcoming, living and concrete love for each person, for the whole person resonate in us in serving.
Participating in the hopes and struggles of humankind, we live the desire for His Kingdom to come, for His will to be done.
For every gesture of kindness, for the beauty of every smile, for every glimpse of truth, for every free choice we can give thanks.
For every brother and sister, for those we meet, for those we help, for those who help us, for those who oppose us we can intercede.
For every selfishness, for every indifference, for every closure we can repent.
In the reality that challenges us we can listen and discern, ready and available to the signs of the Spirit.
What previously averted and distracted us is now the horizon in which we can seek and find God: our monastery is the world.

(Whoever wants to join the Company) Also make sure to have God before his eyes as long as he live, before anything else [Formula Instituti]

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