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



27 Dec 2018

The other day I heard one of my dear friends over the phone. He was back for the Christmas holidays in Trani, our city of birth. He told me a little about himself, about his new job at the University in Paris, about his move to France from the Basque Country, etc. Among the many things heard, among the stories of our local culinary traditions and a bit ‘of anecdotes about friends, one thing more than all resounded in my heart: “I returned to Trani now,” he told me, “but I do not know anymore what is my home “. This statement has worked a lot inwardly and has not left me since I lowered the phone. And it was not homesickness. No. It was something deeper, more radical. It was something that had more to do with our being human and our human nature. The house here is to be understood not as the physical place where we live, but as the place of our being, where we ourselves are and we feel “at home”. As written by Fr. Silvano Fausti, in a profound spiritual text on discernment, entitled “Occasion or temptation?”: “Man is an eccentric animal: he has his center outside of himself, which unbalances him towards the object of his desire. Only there lives, because there is home. One lives where he loves, more than where he is. This is why he continually moves, to reach where his heart already dwells, because he can not live without a heart “.

I was reading this text right in the period when I had that lovely conversation with my dear friend whom I have not seen for some time. The experience has led me to no longer believe in coincidences and for this I will not believe this either.

I thought, on the one hand, who knows how many people live without ever feeling at home, while never knowing why; to how many people are moved by internal motions to which they often fail to give a name, that they can not understand where they come from and where they lead. On the other hand, however, I felt that, despite being very far from “home”, I felt at home living close to God, living a life oriented to the consecrated life, in the particular vocation of the Society of Jesus, even though I did not lose the nice to see my city again, my friends, my family.

The words of that spiritual reading found echo in the heart of my friend and mine, despite the kilometers of distance, the differences, the time that divides us. Two people, same question. “Where do I feel at home?”. What an amazing fact! It seems that in everyday life, in the reality of small things, of details, the Spirit becomes flesh, the Word becomes life.

Is it really all just a coincidence?


Nicola Uva, Novice of the second year

Summer SJ

by Giacomo Mottola

Here I am on the other side of the screen six year later. Yes, because I remember well that summer after the first year of seminary when I went through all the pages of the novice website to read about the novices’ experience. As I read about their summer activities I began to feel, ever more clearly, the desire to live this way. Although the accounts of summer experience were so accurate that I felt like I was living them as I read them, at the end of this summer I must admit that doing them is far more challenging that reading them from the comfort of the sofa.

Of course I imagined that I would go from one experience to the next, always ready to commit myself to the end, in a perfect spirit of obedience to my superiors but I discovered that obedience is not only an outward appearance. It is not enough to do what they asked of you and do it to the best of your ability. When I found myself from time to time in new contests where I know no one, or almost no one, I realized that a part of me was starting to play defensively and a whole apparent set of good reasons was ready to argue that it was OK. After all I had obeyed but a part of me was not there missing the opportunity to learn, experiment and get involved.

Thanks to the advice of one Jesuit in charge of one of the activities I took part in, I learned a big lesson this year. Situations are objective but interpretations are relative. There are work situations that may be easier than others but it is up to us to choose whether to see that difficulty as a threat to be defended against or as a challenge to be faced. I have also noticed that I come into daily contact with situations that I may perceive as challenges or threats. By frequently examining my conscience to see where I have acted defensively and where I have put myself on the line, I am discovering new aspects every day to work on in order to learn to trust the good Lord more and more.

Giacomo Mottola


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