A place and time for encounters with ourselves, others and God. An occasion to open up our hearts through service, prayers, challenges and in the community. A harvest of fruits and gifts in reflection on our day, a moment for reconciliation, recreation and renewal.
Despite all the uncertainties in the preparation, the Magis Europe 2021 event could become all the above - and more. Thanks to all the support and prayers from people all around the world - through which we could truly experience the Providence in action - we were given the opportunity to see all things new in Christ.
It all began on the 7th of August with the experiment groups meeting for the first time. Four of them prepared for their departure in Budapest, and seven others already in the place where they would spend the following week. Magis Europe 2021 included 11 experiments in five different "characters" connecting to five aspects of Ignatian spirituality.
Exploring the creativity within ourselves is a way to contemplate on the creation of our God. The Dance to God, dance with God experiment connected the gestures of our body to our feelings, experiences and even our relationship with God. It was captivating to see how through these motions a new perspective on self and community opens up.
Art is also a way to resonate with others, to pray and to serve. The Magis Taizé experiment near Ruzomberok, Slovakia invited participants to share their talents with each other inspired by the music of Taizé. Their musical service at the Closing Festival showed that prayer always enriches others in the end.
Art is also a way to the heart of all people. The Living Stones group drew on the abundant riches of church buildings to engage with tourists coming by. Even if they only came for a sight, they could observe the visible beauties in the context of the invisible ones through the testimonies of the Living Stones experimenters.
The Gospels inspire us to serve others. Guided by the Helping Sisters in Csobánka, Hungary, people at the Sharing life experiment spent time with the elderly and the disabled. They came to experience that their service leads to as much of an inner transformation of themselves as it is to the help of others.
The Playing together group spent their week at Arló, one of the poorest villages of Hungary. The everyday activities: playing with children, eating and working helped to create a sense of community between the international group and the people who possibly never left their village.
Taking care of our created world is an important but difficult service, as participants of the Green heads, hearts and hands could experience. But even when facing troubling issues, observing the creation is a way to get closer to God, and to base our actions and awareness on his love expressed through our beautiful environment.
Saint Ignatius referred to himself as 'Pilgrim'. Magis people of the Hungarian Camino Benedictus and Walking in God's presence experiments found that a pilgrimage always changes those who depart. Even if not all change is as radical as the conversion of Inigo, they are important nevertheless!
Two of the experiments connected the participants to the very roots of Ignatian spirituality. One week as a Jesuit offered a glimpse into the Jesuit lifestyle for a group of young men, from meals to prayers and service. The Silent retreat experiment created a week of encounter with God in the closeness of nature, in the silence of the chapel and in the discussions with the spiritual director.
The Word on Papyrus experiment allowed participants to feel how the physical process of writing the Scripture in the same way as the first scribes did creates a unique connection to the text and to the words of Jesus.
Finally, on the 13th of August over 200 Magis people from almost 30 countries met in Miskolc, Hungary for the weekend. With the blessing of Pope Francis and the video message of Fr. General Arturo Sosa SJ the Closing Festival was always meant to be great and it turned out to be just that!
On Friday, the focus was on the spirituality. First with a roundtable on the topic of vocation: four Jesuits and two sisters shared their own story, joys and struggles to help us all in our quest to discover God's plan in our life. The evening closed with a prayer of reconciliation with adoration and songs, text from the Scripture and the possibility to confess and converse with one of over 20 consecrated people (fathers and sisters).
Saturday was the day of adventures: first in and around Miskolc with the optional programmes provided by the organizers (spiritual field trip, city tour, sports, a taste of Hungarian culture and more). Second, the evening belonged to a cultural adventure. It began with a somewhat unconventional Festival of Nations, where the experiments shared their previous week in short performances. Then followed brief displays of the nations' culture and an event where everyone got to learn some Hungarian folk dance.
On Sunday, we took the time to close, say goodbye and go on with the daily theme: mission. Fr. Elemér Vízi SJ, the Hungarian Provincial connected our mission to the 'yes' of Mary on the feast mass of the Assumption.