Beginnings are usually difficult. Birth pangs, struggles fitting in, initial bumps in the road. We have nice ways of saying how traumatic and disconcerting settling into a new place or routine can be. I’ve been here for a couple months but the real deal started this week. Classes began and the good news is that it’s not as disastrous as I feared but there’s still the feeling that one is drowning in a sea of Italian as the lecturer speaks. Not the most fortuitous beginning but I suppose it’s a start.
This week also sees the start of the 36th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, a gathering of over 200 Jesuits who are in Rome to elect a new Superior General and to consider the state of the Society in the world. It’s a gathering for new start for the Society under a new general and an opportunity to fine-tune our relationship and reaction to the world around us. At the mass marking the start of the congregation, the Master of the Dominicans Fr Bruno Cadore, who was invited to be the main celebrant by our current General Fr Adolfo Nicolas, spoke about audacity to act and demonstrate our faith in God – to dare to do the improbable and to do it with the humility that shows that everything depends on God.
I think that’s a good way of approaching the new. With audacity, a boldness to dare to live and to adapt to whatever new situations that we’re in. We have to dare to believe that the Lord will indeed help us in all that we do, even when it might sometimes feel like we’re drowning. And we have to dare to change ourselves, to be the new persons that we are meant to be when we’re put in the new situations. Perhaps that’s what it’s all about. Audacity in newness so that growth and change can truly happen.