“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.