When the international group Gen Verde passed through the city and school where Tiziana teaches, there were positive effects in her relationships with students. In particular, when she heard at the end of the course that one of them had declared themselves an atheist, she decided to write to him. The student’s response was unexpected.
“Dear Luca, at this point we are at the end of your school journey. I wanted to write you a note because I didn’t get the chance to chat. So I’m doing so for no particular reason, only because I like having exchanges like this.
I would have also liked to ask you about your atheism, as (Italian comic) Checco Zalone would say, but didn’t get the time. I’m convinced that there are no real atheists, only different sorts of believers. The longing for the infinite that consumes our souls is too strong.
In my life, I made a fundamental discovery that changed me radically: that God loves me, and each of us, like crazy. Perhaps I would have also been an atheist if I had not gotten to know this God. Love touches all of us, and we madly thirst for it. If you, like me, believe in love, both of us are believers in a way.
If your atheism brings you to not believe in a cruel, judging, cold, indifferent prime mover, grand architect, supreme being etc., etc. – then I too am an atheist with you! I can only believe in a God who was flesh and bones, who out of love was born, became man, died and rose.
“Bye Luca, I just wanted to say thank you for these past years that we spent together!”
“Dear Prof, it gives me the greatest pleasure to know that even beyond the school environment you still wanted to stay in touch (not that I didn’t already know, but this confirmed it). I too would have liked to discuss with you a number of wider topics, from politics to religion. I have always admired your availability and open mindedness, your ability to dialogue, listen, understand and take in others’ opinions, even if they were completely different from your own. I have always considered your perspective very important. Among other things, you taught me that changing my point of view is fundamental to understanding others, and above all ourselves.
This year, together with some schoolmates of mine, I attended PULSE, the May 1 celebration at the little city of Loppiano. During our stay, we were hosted by the Sophia University Institute, where young people from all over the world continue their studies after having graduated. It was there that, for me, I experienced firsthand what equality and fraternity mean. This was thanks to the way we were generously welcomed by the institute’s students and teachers, who treated us as if we had known each other for a lifetime.
What struck me most happened during the evening of the second day, when we ate together with our hosts. They had prepared the meal with passion, just for us, using everything they had in the kitchen. In that moment, despite being more than 1,000km from my city, I felt at home. I found myself at table talking about this and that with two from Lebanon and others from Germany, Cuba, Argentina, Colombia, and Bologna, sharing a plate of meat, spinach, potatoes and onions. After that we stayed up late talking about our experiences, plans, playing guitar, singing songs and sourcing a bit of wine from the German black forest. In that moment PULSE, at least for me, had achieved its goal.
Thanks Prof, till next time!”