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

The steps of free love

by Cornel Barna

My dear Selva, these days I gave you a lot of thought, I embraced courage and I decided to write down two or three rows about the time spent with Josef during the second mini-course for teenagers from 16 to 18 years old. Perhaps you will ask yourself why I in presenting our experience in form of letter. I am sure that you remember the day when was made silence in one of your houses, called „Villa Capriolo”, and all of us were impressed and excited by the methodology of writing a letter to ourselves.

As the verses of the song „Buon Giorno, Buon Giorno” say, we novices „welcome!”. We were marveled seeing how much teenagers were looking for your courses at Villa Capriolo, where they could find out more about the knowledge of themselves and of their life. Since the beginning, we had feelings of empathy and, in the same time, the desire of getting involved out there. They remind us of our adolescence and our questions at that time: „What is the meaning of life? What do I choose for my life? Which are my true desires?”

Perhaps you will ask yourself why since the beginning we had felt such strong emotions. Because in this place there are instruments of high quality: right persons in the right place, leaders and voluntaries with an open heart and an extraordinary methodology: the psychodrama. We have seen that the psychodrama can help to face the different parts of life with faith, the key point for helping to overcome with courage any problem.

My dear Selva, this experience impressed me a lot and I think I could say the same thing also for Josef. The experience has touched me as a breakfast coffee which urges to live fully, to enjoy more, to marvel more and love more. It is like an invitation to get out of bed, to savor the breakfast and then to take responsibility for the day: „The breakfast is ready, warm and smoky! Coming down for breakfast have a look at the billboard with the services!”.

We have not time for boredom because we were always in motion. From physical movement – uncountable walks in the mountains to encounter the creation’ splendor among breathtaking peaks and magic dawns – to the emotional and affective movement – so many tears of pain and joy – up to the spiritual movement: the knowledge of our body, the support of Jesus since morning, all the meetings between Him and the devil, His and our temptations.

All these movements have made us live and take more secure and courageous steps in our earthly adventure.

Dear Selva, I conclude by emphasizing it was nice to find out that the most important movement that led us was that of gratuitous love: the endless love of Jesus who loves us with a human heart and leads us to experience this love and give ourselves with more generosity.

“Blessed is he who finds his strength in you and decides on the holy journey in his heart” (Ps 83:6)

by Daniele Angiuli

Every pilgrim who leaves his home, his affections, to embark on a journey, brings with him contrasting emotions: on the one hand the joy of setting out, of encountering places of unprecedented beauty and new gazes to meet; on the other hand, homesickness for what he leaves behind, for the people he is separating from, knowing, however, that love goes far beyond geographical distances. Above all, he is animated by the desire to be ‘enriched’ along the way, not so much by souvenirs as by encounters capable of transforming him, of ‘letting himself be made’ by the journey rather than ‘making’ the journey.

I believe that similar sentiments animated the men and women of whom the Gospel tells us who, leaving occupations, relationships, set out to follow the Rabbi of Nazareth, who taught from an ‘itinerant chair’ and fascinated many with the strength of his gaze and gestures… Among the many names there is Peter, called from the Sea of Galilee to the sea of humanity; Matthew, invited to turn his gaze towards a Love without measure; Mary of Magdala, liberated by Love and called to be an Apostle of the Resurrection.

But among these names are also ours, today: Jacopo, Paolo, Andras, Gabor, Soheil, Paolo, Daniele, young people with dreams in their hearts, characterised by fragility and strengths. From 1 October, we started a journey in the novitiate community in Genoa, to enter into a more intimate relationship with the Lord, to get to know ourselves better and the lifestyle that makes us happy and makes others happy.

Each of us left a part of ourselves, attracted by a Sight and moved by the desire for a full life, in order to be ‘men all the way, or rather all the way to the top’, as Don Tonino Bello used to say. We certainly have some fears about the future that awaits us, but we trust in the One who becomes our travelling Companion who, like with the disciples of Emmaus, listens to our worries, welcomes our defeats, and rekindles hope.

A month ago, on 16 October 2023, we entered our second probation, a favourable time to go deep into the Word of God, into the writings of our Founding Father St. Ignatius, through prayer life, study, fraternal life.

The possibility of having a day punctuated by precise times, places in which we can contemplate the beauty of creation, adult people in the faith to talk with, companions on whom we can rely, is indeed a great gift from God that we hope to cherish and make bear fruit.

But your name too, dear reader, is called with love by the Master: he does not ask us to be perfect in order to leave, but the desire to dare and the will to entrust ourselves to Him, just as we allow ourselves to be moulded by Him. For us and for you, “homo viator”, the wish dear to the Scout world: “Good path!


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