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

Sunset in Genoa

by Miklós Forián-Szabó

In the afternoon time frame of the novitiate there is a reserved half-hour of prayer before evening vespers.  It can be done alone or as a community and there are usually several people walking around and praying on the roof terrace, often praying the rosary.

At this time of the evening in September, the view is truly splendid: the sun illuminates the city in wonderful colours as it sets behind the mountains of Liguria. Sometimes soft orange, sometimes fiery red, sometimes pink, sometimes pale yellow. By playing with the arrangement of the cloud layers, it always surprises me. Always new and always beautiful. Could one wish a nicer scenery?

Actually, after months of being here, one could get bored of the view. If it was just the view. But instead, we Christians know that our experience of contemplating the sky and nature is not just a matter of the course of the natural cycle. But recognising our smallness compared to the greatness of creation, we bow in front of the Father Creator. He created the Earth and He is the One who is in action at all times. I believe that He is behind the manner of nature’s actions; after all, He is the main driving force. And I, a creature among many billions of creatures, see only a tiny part of the world, but how detailed, how varied, how changeable, how much better than I could ever invent!

And what is even more surprising is that the Father Creator invites me to a personal relationship, even though I am so small compared to the whole universe. He calls me by name, He wants to be close to me, He wants to be with me while already here on earth. This is the true Gospel.

If during the day I can stop in this way, a sense of gratitude immediately arises within me. Through this I experience the presence of God, even though we spoke badly to each other in the community, we did not understand each other, I could not do my duty, I could not finish my tasks on time. This encounter, this great embrace through nature, always strengthens me and gives me the impetus to seek God in all things. To seek Him where I would not think He was present.

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