I am writing to you from Sant’Oreste, a town in the heart of the countryside of Lazio, where a family of friends lent their summer house to Fr. Sergio Ghio, my pastor and head of house. This house has become the destination of brief periods of retreat, which revolve around silence and manual labor. I am writing to you to recount two experiences, simple but important, that I’ve had this year (the names are obviously changed).
The first regards Maria, a girl who is in her third year of high school and who follows Gioventù Studentesca at our Center. A few days ago, some GS kids of Liguria and of Abbiategrasso, guided by Gianni Mereghetti, came to Rome. We passed three intense days together. We welcomed them with an evening of singing, took them around Rome to see the most beautiful places, and in the end, we had a meeting in which we sought to judge the experience we had had. Maria said: “Speaking with them of the experience of Centro made me more aware of the great fortune that I have and that at times I take for granted.” Her judgment struck me because I run the same risk: to take the experience that I live for granted.
The second experience regards the visits that I make to the sick and the elderly of the parish. I have in mind, above all, two women: Simona and Anna. Every Sunday, Simona is alone in her house because the maid leaves around 8 in the morning. She has been a widow for many years now and lives this condition with an enviable serenity. Anna, instead, lives with Monica, who for half a century worked for her and the two, both retired, now live together. It is so edifying to see how they treat each other that I returned home every time more certain. Often, before leaving I am scared about what I will have to say, but when we spend some time together I cannot but tell them about my daily life, of the kids of GS, of our life in the house. At the end, we pray together. It always strikes me how their eyes sparkle during the moment of communion, in front of the consecrated host: in them, I see the faith that I desire for myself, and I see a simplicity that educates me.
Dear friends, pray that I might arrive at the ordination with a free heart in order to say a definitive “yes” to the Lord, because only in this way I will be able to be an instrument in His hands.