Thursday, October 3, 2013
The Comboni theology students of the scholasticate of Casavatore, Naples, took time off for an entire week (September 22-29) of spiritual exercises, before beginning the academic year 2013-2014. The choice of the Pastoral Center John Paul II contributed to the prayer and to the silence. The Center is located in a very beautiful and isolated area surrounded by woods and olive groves. Eight intense days given to learning how to walk “with Jesus on the world’s highways.”

Spiritual exercises
of Casavatore - Italy

The spiritual exercises, directed by Comboni Father Jorge García, had as a theme “Jesus, the missionary of the Father’s mercy.” The reflections were framed by the discourse of Jesus in the Synagogue of Nazareth (Lk 4,14), where the Lord presents the general lines and options of his evangelizing and liberating activity, and by the encounter of the Risen Lord with the disciples of Emmaus.

On Sunday, September 29, after the presentation of the theme, the participants, two by two, dialogued over four themes that are present in the Emmaus account: a look at reality; the role of the Word of God and of the Eucharist in recognizing Jesus; the community as the place where to meet the Risen Lord; and, finally, the return to Jerusalem to tell the story of the personal experience of meeting the living Jesus.

These were eight very intense days. Besides the many moments of silence and of solitude, the daily schedule included two meditations, the personal meeting with the director, the recitation of the liturgy of the hours, one hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and the celebration of the Eucharist with the opportunity for personal sharing.

The spiritual exercises are typically followed by a return to the daily routine. “But – said a scholastic – from Jesus we have learned how to walk on the highways of this world with ever growing attention for the poor who are waiting for the Good News of liberation.”