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Where is the hope?

Where is the hope?

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We’ve just arrived home from our meeting in Lyon, so this post is a little late. We’re all energised emotionally even if we’re aching physically. Here are a few thoughts I’ve gathered from my experience there.

Love in any language

What language does God speak?  Peter and Henry may be aware that the first thing taught to speakers of another language is greetings. The language of love seems to be universal and the first French words I learnt were bonjour (Good morning), and merci (thank you) – a timely reminder that manners can get you a long way. It was amazing to hear the Lord’s Prayer at Mass being spoken simultaneously in different languages since it truly gave us a sense of universality.

United we stand

I was energised by the common goals, difficulties and realities facing each of us as novices within the Society. Being in a room filled with 32 like-minded individuals gave me an overwhelming sense that I was not alone or crazy in attempting to embrace this new way of life. The good news is and always will be for me, the fact that through all the challenges and joys of Jesuit ministry I will never be totally alone.

All work and no play

Among the highlights of the week was a football match between the 1st and 2nd year of each country. People like me, who are not terribly fit, are still walking with a few aches and pains and scraped knees. It was good competition and the first year won! The atmosphere of the entire meeting was friendly and relaxed and most evenings we played a few board games and enjoyed each other’s company. We watched an unforgettable Irish movie called Once (whether its unforgettable because it was good or bad I won’t say, but it certainly had some good music.) We had a day of visits on Tuesday and while I went to see the town of the “Curé d’Ars” and his incorrupt body, a few others went to Taizé and Vienne.

Where is the Hope?

One question that stays with me from the meeting is “Where is the hope?” This was asked by a Jesuit named John Dardis (the President of the European Jesuit Provincials). It’s an inspiring and self-searching question. Despite the negativity around about the future of religious life, including the Jesuits, the lack of faith and secularisation of Europe and other continents – Where is the hope? For me it’s in the youth of this generation and in God. I wouldn’t be here doing what I do, if I didn’t have hope. It’s what gets me up in the morning. What do you hope in? I hope that whatever it is, that it keeps on inspiring you. Have a great weekend!

 Joel

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The future hope- Jesuit Novices from France, Germany and Britain
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