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The round forest with four corners

by Daniel Tímár

Reading the title of this article what do you think, is there such a forest? How do you imagine it? Who would live in a place like this? Now I invite you to stop for a moment and imagine.

The round forest with four corners is the title of a collection of fairy tales by a Hungarian writer, Ervin Lazar. At the beginning of the story we don’t find a description of this forest. The writer leaves this point open and immediately begins to introduce the characters. The place is created through their connections. The protagonist is called “Mikkamakka”, a cat who invites several marginalized characters to the forest: Siegfried Bruckner, an old artist lion, Serafin Horse, a blue steed, Aromo, the smart rabbit that failed the running test, “Vacskamati”, the wild cat, Big Zoard, the pine tree that can walk, Beast Louis, who is good-hearted with a heart of gold and finally Domdodom, who can say no other word but this: domdodom.

What an interesting group! It seems that all of them have some flaws, but in this forest they can live with joy, in peace and being themselves. Seeing us novices, we are not very different from these characters. We too have our flaws, our weaknesses and the need to feel at home where we can be ourselves.

In this period of covid-epidemia we in the novitiate are living in a privileged state. That is, every day we encounter Jesus through the Eucharist. Something very similar happens during Mass as in Ervin Lazar’s forest: on the square altar Jesus will be visible in the round host and invites us to union. At this moment our chapel becomes a round forest where we meet in the love of Jesus, who helps us to love and accept ourselves and our companions. By meeting this love we are also invited to share it. Using the same words of the Hungarian writer, we become “Mikkamakka”, that is, apostle of love.

For the majority of people this kind of encounter is not possible now. Therefore I would like to invite all those who wish to meet Jesus in the Eucharist to imagine this sacred forest.

Let us begin our contemplation in this way: Where is this forest? Big or small? What kind of trees do I see? I can stop at every little detail. Once I have created the place I continue to put on the scene all the people living around me, I look at them with their shortcomings, weaknesses and even their talents. Then I continue to imagine a square altar that can also be that of my parish. And finally I put in this image the round host. Then I contemplate this scene: the physical space, the people, the Eucharist. Now I have the possibility of remaining on this moment. I can stay for long minutes, which is not possible during Mass.

Contemplating this scene, I slowly open my heart and before I begin to speak with Jesus, I remain silent. I let Him talk to me first. I leave room for Him. I let Him enter into my heart. Now in this intimate and sacred moment comes the moment of conversation. I talk to Jesus as I would talk to someone who whispers in my ear. Perhaps I hear Jesus inviting me into his heart. I continue the conversation with the help of the Spirit and remain with Jesus. If I want, I can ask Him to stay with me all day long.

After this meeting I am no longer alone. With a thankful heart I continue my day and share the grace with all those I meet by inviting them to this round-square forest as Mikkamakka did.

Dániel Tímár, first years novice

Coronavirus and community in good Company

by Raul Petru Ciocani

 

Few of us can compare a period like this to experiences we have already lived. I spent almost two months without being able to leave the novitiate and this is the longest period I have ever had in my life without going out. Living in community is already a exceptional experience in itself, which I had never experienced before, and now, adding these restrictions, there is the risk of discouragement. In reality I am living this period very well, I have not yet found moments of boredom, indeed I have the opportunity to discover many aspects, and I will tell you why.

In addition to the comfort that accompanies me now, the feelings that pass through my heart in this time are truly varied: uncertainty, compassion with those who suffer and die from coronavirus, and also the fear for my family that is about 1200 km from Genoa, in the western part of Romania, where there are still not many infections. Talking to my grandmother who lives with my parents, I was surprised and impressed by the courage and strength with which she is going through this period. Having already experienced the Second World War, the communist occupation, the deportation of family members to work camps, she is very aware of the reality of this pandemic that we are facing with little courage and patience, because we no longer trust and no longer know in who we need to trust. This is one of the points that makes me think a lot: Can our faith really help us in such critical moments of our life? The answer is yes, but we have to find out. As those who find out during important events of their lives, such as migration, war, addictions, diseases, depression, loneliness and entrust themselves to God and put their destiny in his hands. Here, the current situation stimulates me to think about all this, about the shortcomings and weaknesses that we have and that we do not want to accept and face.

Now I’m going to explain to you why the rest of the time I still haven’t found the moments to get bored. Community life leads me to discover many aspects, which until now I did not know about myself, especially through personal relationships with companions and the community activity in which we are immersed. All of this keeps us very busy most of the time. Starting with the fact that every day I have several people to talk to during meals (friends with whom to share their experiences, daily joys, difficulties, etc.), moments of prayer together, everyday community liturgy but also the passing of the time having fun, playing football, volleyball, ping pong, etc. All this forms a lifestyle, the community one, where, as in a family, you cannot think only of yourself, but you also have the responsibility of the others.

These things represent the community life that we are living in this period of great difficulty for the whole world. The community is what made it much easier for us to go through this time, assimilating all the positive aspects it brings. Personally I live this dimension as a help to my vocation, which is to follow the Lord with the vows that I choose to make in the Society of Jesus.

Raul Ciocani, novice of the first year

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