By Vijaya Raju Gopanaboina, SJ
My heart is filled with joy and gratitude to God, the Society of Jesus and to my parents. Last two years, though a short time, transformed me into a new and different person. It changed me from being a fearful and selfish person to a person with great hope and a greater dream to bring light in the lives of many. Today I begin my journey with a greater trust in the Lord to become a fruitful instrument in His hands and in the Society.
The story begins from my school days when I saw the Andhra Jesuits working tirelessly in and around my parish (Darsi), filling people’s lives with light and hope. The desire kindled by them became deeper and stronger as I received Jesuit education till my school final. All through these years God intervened to move me towards the path that he wanted me to travel. There are so many people who helped me and encouraged me to respond to this call. Today I thank all of them heartily and pray that they may continue to inspire many more souls.
Of course it wasn’t a smooth sailing for me, especially after I joined the Society as a candidate. However, looking back at all those years, I wonder at the way God has moulded me and led me. He was with me at every moment of my life. The two years of Novitiate has been truly a transforming experience. What I enjoyed most in the Novitiate was the personal care that the Society offers to each individual and the freedom I received which helped me to grow to be more responsible. It was a challenging life and I fell down many times. But the Society was always there to help me to get up and walk once again. I am grateful to the Lord for the gift of my formators.The grace that I truly received in the Novitiate is the personal experience of Jesus in my life, in the world, in the suffering, the poor, the creation and in every person. This sets me on a mission to serve Him in the world. My heart is filled with gratitude to God and I am eagerly waiting to share this joy with the world. With this trust and gratitude I move forward to become a greater instrument in the Hands of God in the Society.