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

Unconfortable choices

15 Mar 2020

“Be slow. Don’t be afraid to be slow. The baby in the belly grows slowly. Fruits on trees ripen slowly. Nature changes slowly. You grow slowly. Don’t look for everything immediately. Ripen. Slowly. Trust in God’s slow and steady work. Be the slowness. Let slowness be to you a gospel. Good news. Going slow you meet me. You abide with me. You remember me. You are in me. Jesus grew up slowly in Nazareth. The sun proceeds slowly. How long did it take for life to be born on earth? How long did it take before mankind arrived? Don’t be afraid to be out of place, to feel judged for your slowness. Be slow.”

These are some of the words I have taken home from the month of spiritual exercises in silence. For me, as I am, it is very difficult to put them into practice in daily life. Apparent obligations to ourselves and to others lead us to lose inner peace. But is this really so? Are we so enslaved to ourselves that we cannot choose what is really good for us?

In the “permanent pilgrimage” that is the novitiate, the challenge is to follow Jesus and try to become like Him, not only because of a “law” written centuries ago by Saint Ignatius, but above all because of the living law of love that we all have engraved in our hearts and that leads us to desire ever deeper union with our beloved. In the thousands daily activities, I deeply desire, like Jesus, to remain rooted and established in the Father and in His merciful love. How? The answer is perhaps uncomfortable, but it is the only possible one: by overcoming myself. I cannot keep everything together by my own efforts alone. I cannot control everything. I can’t do everything by myself demanding the peace that comes from Another. I must stop. Go back to Him. This slowness is uncomfortable – it asks us to let go, to trust – yet it is the only way to life.

The choice is ours. The Lord is already waiting for us with open arms.

What do you care? You follow me!

by Benedek Rácz

War. Just over 1,000 kilometers away from me. In the neighborhood of my homeland. While I stand here in Genoa, in the chapel and pray for peace, I plead for lives. My desires would lead me to help concretely where the pain rages. “Lord, you would do this too, wouldn’t you? You would go there and sit here doing nothing?”. But no. It is not that simple. Jesus in his earthly life was not a problem-solving machine. Only after allowing a few days to pass did he leave to heal – by then already to raise – Lazarus (Jn 11:6) and he did not run to save the men who had been crushed by the tower of Siloe, although he was aware of what had happened (Lk 13:4). Jesus often acts in a way that makes no human sense. His actions were pleasing not to men, but always to the Father. “Only” this is my duty, that I may hear, and that I may be ready and diligent to fulfill his will. (cf. Spiritual Exercises 91)

By praying day after day I am more and more certain that I am a Jesuit religious in the Father’s dream. His will is that I be formed here in Genoa in the Novitiate. As high as the heavens are above the earth, and as high as his ways above our ways and his thoughts above our thoughts, so much must I trust the Father, believing that my prayers are the best and the most I can do for peace (cf. Is 55:9). It is a shattering experience to put my whole being in his hands every day, accepting that his will now is that I do nothing humanly concrete, and being ready if tomorrow he calls me to get up, leave the novitiate and go help under the bombs. It is a shocking experience, but anyone who has already experienced the power of this relationship and met the attractive figure of Jesus knows that this is how it is.

So every day I accept all my weaknesses, my powerlessness, and every day I rejoice when I can see how God has used me as an instrument of his love, that is, how this little reality that I am has become enough and a gift.

Benedek Rácz

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