“If Christ is the one who makes my life so beautiful and full, then to give Him everything, as he does, must be the greatest thing in the world,” I thought, looking at Fr. Lorenzo who was sitting next to me, driving the big black van with German plates in the midst of the usual Roman traffic of a Friday evening. I clearly remember that moment: it was Friday, June 21, 2014, on the Roman beltway, around kilometer 58, when, for the first time, the thought of the vocation crossed my mind. Before, I had never thought of it, not even remotely
I was finishing my first year of university, studying Engineering in Munich, where I was born and raised, when Fr. Lorenzo had proposed a trip to Italy to myself and the other students of Communion and Liberation. At that point in my life, I wasn’t really thinking much about what the future might hold.
I had just begun university and, in that year, with my friends, I had discovered the beauty and the truth of the Christian life. Together, we took seriously the hypothesis of living the faith within the companionship of the Movement, which we had inherited from our parents. I was fully enjoying every day of my life in university. What would have happened down the road would become clear later on and I was not very worried.
And yet, in that instant which was so normal -a car trip towards the Roman Castles for a dinner in a restaurant with the friends I spent everyday with- was truly a turning point in my life, one of those moments that signal a “before and after.” Only later, in the years to come, would I discover that, in reality, that moment had been prepared by many other moments similar to it.
From the moment it happened, it was clear that the priesthood was the concrete form of life that Christ had thought of for me, to build up His Church
There was a “before and after” when Fr. Giussani, at the end of the 70’s, sent four university students to study in a small city in the southwest of Germany. This was the thing that allowed my parents to come to know the Movement of Communion and Liberation.
There was a “before and after” when my brother, coming back from a vacation, enthusiastically told me about the beauty and exceptionality of living the friendship he had seen in a group of friends of Gioventù Studentesca, whom I would later meet as well, and who forever marked me with a desire for true and great friendship.
There was “a before and an after” when my friend Sebastian told me about the beautiful and fascinating experience of Christian life he had begun to live with CL university students in Munich. It was a brief dialogue, but one that made me decide to leave Hamburg -where I had started university- and return to Munich to take a risk and really test to the depths the proposal to follow the Movement. It was a decision that allowed me to meet that great and true friendship that I longed for and that helped me to discover the face of the man who, 2000 years ago, walking the streets of Galilee, had begun that story.
There was a “before and after” when Fr. Lorenzo, after a confession, asked me to help him to build up our companionship, which allowed me to intuit that giving oneself for the edification of the Church is the most beautiful task of life. Then there was that hot, Roman evening in June of 2013, when, from the moment it happened, it was clear that the priesthood was the concrete form of life that Christ had thought of for me, to build up His Church. Even if, by the next kilometer, I was already starting to flee, saying: “No, it’s not for me…this is too much: I’m not really a priest kind of guy.” It was already too late. The calling had found a breach and would eventually have brought me again, through another beautiful series of “before and after”s, to Rome, this time, however, to “the exit off of the Aurelia where there is Casalotti-Bocceaaaaaaa,” as Guzzanti sings. And this time, the story did not end on the beltway!