“In my childhood my family instilled Christian values in me but with a specific Franciscan tinge. Thus when I felt that God was calling me to religious life as a Conventual Franciscan, my response was enthusiastic. During my novitiate and theological studies, which I completed near the tomb of St. Francis in Assisi, I was enriched with new awareness of the fundamental aspects of Christian life as incarnated by our Seraphic Father Francis. During those studies I was attracted in a special way by the Eucharist as a fundamental value for us in our Christian life. I considered the Eucharistic celebration to truly be the climax and the source of my Christian life. My study of theology and liturgy had confirmed this conviction.”
My contact with Chiara Lubich’s spirituality enhanced in me the contemplative dimension of my life, because it opened up for me new possibilities in living my union with God. In addition, Chiara helped me rediscover the value of neighbor, that is, my brothers and sisters individually and together – as a ‘gift’ (just as Francis says). This helped me feel more in tune with the Church, my Franciscan community, and my missionary aspirations.
After twelve years of missionary service in Indonesia, “I returned to my native country because I needed to rest and re-charge my spiritual batteries. I was fortunate to be able to go to the Focolare international spirituality center for men religious in Loppiano, near Florence. There, one evening during supper, I had a fierce discussion with another missionary about the value of the liturgy. I came out of the dining room with a troubled heart, and I found it hard to calm down. I felt that there was now a great distance between that brother and me. Then a thought came to my mind: “How can you say that you love God whom you do not see if you do not love the brother that you can see?” Therefore I asked myself: “Is the brother more important than the Liturgy? Yes, my brother is more important than the liturgy.” Before going to bed I went looking for that brother and I asked him to forgive me. I found peace again and our relationship was strengthened. It was on that day that I understood that the ‘liturgy of my brother’ is more important than the Eucharistic Liturgy.”
In June 2012 Fr. Tarcisio returned for the second time from Indonesia after only three more years of missionary service. “This time too I was quite exhausted. I was welcomed again at the spirituality center of religious. In the peaceful little town of Loppiano I gradually regained my physical and spiritual health. Notwithstanding the fact that I was living in that serene environment I kept thinking about the difficulties I would have to face in Indonesia with some of my brothers in community.”
“My provincial superior had invited me to forgive, and I thought that I had done that. However, the root of that suffering remained within me and sometimes I had negative thoughts about that brother and about myself too. Sometimes I felt like the spirituality center; the contrast between the sentiments within me and the environment around me was too strong. It was only after trying to live out the theme of the year which was ‘love of neighbor’, as presented by various Words of Life regarding charity, especially that of seeing Jesus in the other to the point of experiencing union with God, that I felt that my grudges and anger were starting to melt away. I experienced not only a new kind of peace but also a union with God that was truer and more profound. I was full of joy for coming out from that dark tunnel of my relationship with my brother.
Now, whenever I think about that brother, I feel that I have truly forgiven him completely. Not only that, but if God so wills it in the future that I should happen to be together with the same brother, I will do my best to show my gratitude for having been moved by God to journey along this new path of reconciliation to arrive at union with God.”
Fonte: Unità e Carismi, 1-2/2013.