I remember the first time, when I was sixteen years old, having the thought: “The life of a priest is not so bad…”. I had met a Salesian priest, and between us a beautiful friendship had been born. The intuition that I could be happy living a life like his, came from seeing his joy and his missionary passion for the youth. But I would need more time for this to mature. Later, the Lord gave me a girl with whom I fell in love. The years of university I shared with her and I didn’t think about the intuition anymore. That said, I remember a few times meeting missionaries who would visit the parish, bringing their stories and images from the far way places where they lived. They awakened curiosity and fear in me because I felt, in a certain sense, interrogated by them personally, as if they had said: “And you? Do you want to come?”.
On the verge of marriage, I intuited that the way I had imagined my life until that point was suddenly no longer enough for me. So, I was forced to begin again from scratch, interrupting the story that seemed directed towards something very precise. I no longer felt like the story was mine and I didn’t know what I might write on the new line. During the years of my doctorate the Lord showed me the project that he had for me. After a year of solitude and prayer, He began to write my life with characters that were new and unexpected and he gave me the grace of many friendships with whom I began sharing my life and faith: I had encountered the movement of Communion and Liberation.
The beauty and profundity of the new friendships, the encounter with the charism of Fr. Giussani that helped me rediscover the reasonableness of the faith that I had received in my family, the fascination of a proposal that was complete and totalizing which had at its center the person of Christ, all these things fascinated me and ultimately accompanied me towards my encounter with the Fraternity of St. Charles. When I encountered the Fraternity the intuition I had had when I was young resurfaced. In those priests, who had left their homelands, their friends, their work, to become missionaries; what struck me most was the experience of fullness they lived. The void that was formed sacrificing everything to follow what the Lord had asked of them had been filled to the point of overflowing by the hundred-fold that Jesus promised to those who follow him. From that point onwards I began a real fight with the Lord: the more he fascinated and attracted me to himself, like the sea attracts the eye of one standing on the shore, the more I withdrew frightened in front of that horizon that seemed too vast, and clutched for the perception of security that comes when you have full control, that comes from the power to decide how life goes.
I had the feeling, that If I let myself be taken by the sea, the ability to control would have been in the hands of Another. But the Lord had already prepared a way to help: a very close friend of mine from the community of CL, out of the blue told me that she was entering into the novice house of the Memores Domini. Discovering that in the heart of someone else who was close to me the same fight had happened, and to see with what joy and peace this person had decided to follow Christ, were for me a provocation and something that helped me to entrust myself to Him. Today His fantasy has lead me to Budapest, where I have received the gift of a house with two brothers and new friends with whom I can grow in recognizing His presence in my life. Here I discover that, in abandoning myself to Him and to his will, is my happiness.
(Michele Baggi, 34 years old from Friuluane, is destined to the house of Budapest. On the left, in the picture, you can see him in front of the Bridge of liberty, in the heart of the Hungarian capital).