From Football to a United World: The Story of Nacho

The experience of a young man from Argentina, told at the Genfest in Budapest (31 August - 2 September) to 12,000 young people from all over the world. His choice to give everything to God and work to bring people in the world together.

I am Nacho from Argentina and I am 25 years old. For many years I played with one of the best football teams in Argentina. My life was organized around sport and I was going to play professionally. I was engaged to a girl who since she was little lived the same ideal of life I have, one based on Gospel values. We dreamed of getting married and having lots of children. I had many plans for how my life would be with her.

But while I thanked God for having been with me throughout my life and for what I was living with Lucia, I felt as if God was saying inside me, ‘Nacho, are you willing to follow me, leaving all behind and consecrating your life to me alone?’ I immediately felt I wanted to say, ‘Of course I am.’

I asked myself what giving ‘my all’ could mean and I understood that God was asking me to follow him by leaving my present family: father, mother, brothers and sisters and, above all, leaving my possible future family. I talked to Lucia about it. It wasn’t easy for either of us but, with tears in my eyes, that day I had confirmation of the decision I was about to take: to follow Jesus as a focolarino, in the path first trodden by Chiara Lubich.

It’s not easy to explain what I experience living out the things Jesus has promised, that is, that no one leaves house, father, mother, children and does not receive back in this life a hundredfold what has been left. This is my experience day after day, for example in giving some of my time to someone in need and feeling this person truly my brother or sister, sharing in suffering or in joy. Some days ago I got back home dead tired from work and all I wanted was to have a rest. Another focolarino was making the evening meal asked me to give him a hand because he was late. I began to help, just like that, forgetting my tiredness, and I felt the joy of being able to live for him.

Having these small experiences, I’m able to discover even more of myself. I see that my limits become a springboard for growth and my horizons are widened, especially when it comes to other cultures. Living together with people from other countries I feel that the only real barriers are the ones inside us. And this makes me overcome the fear of the unknown, of what is different from me, because I’ve understood that diversity doesn’t so much create division as serve make us more complete.

Now I’m in Switzerland finishing my training as a focolarino. I don’t yet know which focolare in the world I’ll go to, who I’ll be living with, but I feel that God calls me personally to build up fraternity in the world, embracing the whole human family with a free heart, and I want to spend my life for this ideal   .

 From  Genfest 2012

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