Jesuit Novitiate
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus
scena di "Nuovo Cinema Paradiso"

scena di "Nuovo Cinema Paradiso"

scena di "Nuovo Cinema Paradiso"


An afternoon at the movies

by Andrea Marelli

Tuesday morning, around the breakfast table. There is a guest, don Paolo, who has come to visit Guido while in Genoa for a few hours. After introducing each other, we end up talking about Silence, the last movie by Martin Scorsese. The episode, not that relevant in itself, strikes me because it’s more than a week that this movie is the hot topic in the Novitiate: we talk about it over and over again, during classes, over dinners, in the prayers of the faithful at Mass; and we exchange opinions and reflections.

Last Friday, we, the second-year novices, went to watch the movie, that we had been waiting for a long time, not just because of the world-wide famous director, but also because of the topic: the persecutions against Japanese Christians, in which some Jesuits were also involved. A family story, we could say.

As we walk to the cinema, we all feel very happy: it is the first time, since the beginning of the Novitiate, that we go out to watch a movie at the cinema! The weather outside (it rains for the first time after several months) does not match the “weather” inside and so we don’t let this affect us. Before the movie starts, we tell each other: «Who knows what to expect? Did you know that the actors did the Spiritual Exercises? Is it a true story? Are we buying some popcorn?». Some of us, like Guido, have read all the existing reviews of the movie, from the one on La Civiltà Cattolica to the one on Io Donna (a women’s magazine…!). Others, like me, have gone totally unprepared.

The lights go down, the movie begins. Three hours later, it was like waking up from a trance. Three hours gone by in the blink of an eye. We were so absorbed by the movie that you could have heard a pin drop. At the end, we were all deeply moved. Silence is a masterpiece and, like all great works of art, it takes time for it to sink in and to be able to «relish it interiorly». It is a movie about faith and grace, not trivial at all, not providing answers but rather posing questions, and leaving an open end.

It was a surprise to receive so much food for thought from Silence. The movie questions our idea of fidelity and makes us wonder about divine mercy. Back in the Novitiate right after the movie, we began our sharing over colorful dinner quiches. And the sharing still goes on and increases our desire to watch Silence again soon.

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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