Through the Incarnation, God revealed to Mary that her small, fragile humanity served his plan of salvation. Advent can be an opportunity for us all once again to live the most beautiful experience of all: to feel ourselves watched over by God and be led by him, as Mary did. We can then face each day with a deep joy in our hearts and a song of praise on our lips.
Back to life
A friend of ours who is involved with rehabilitating ex-convicts proposed to our religious community that we take in one who was nearing the end of his sentence for a few months.
Pietro, as he was called, turned out to be an expert in home maintenance and tirelessly repaired whatever was needed. It was a true blessing for us, since we lack economic means and struggle to find the time for certain jobs.
One evening after dinner, in the garden, Pietro began to open up. “I’m grateful not only for the hospitality I’ve received, but also for your respect. Ex-prisoners are often treated like plague victims, and people keep them at a distance. Yet being included is the only medicine that can heal certain wounds.”
Before leaving, he left a note. “Thank you. Now I can come back to society because I know that I have something to give.”
Like the prodigal son
When a homeless man named “A.” confided in me, explaining why he had been reduced to that state of misery, I saw in him the prodigal son from the parable, who yearns to regain his freedom.
When I asked him to reach out to his family, he refused at first, because it was so difficult to show them what he had been reduced to. The mere idea of presenting himself to his brothers and sisters, who were all “successful” with fulfilled lives, only increased his humiliation.
And yet – I reminded him at that point – they had not stopped loving him, waiting for him.
He did not reply, staying silent.
He showed up again after a few days. This time he asked for my help to buy a plane ticket to return to his homeland. Without hesitation, I provided him with the necessary amount of money.
Not long afterwards, I received word from him. “It was just as you told me. The joy of embracing me again was a true gift I could give my parents. Thank you for reminding me why I’m here.”
By the hand
Due to a stroke, I found myself paralyzed on the left side of my body. Suddenly my life changed.
I was disheartened by the turmoil I was causing in the small business I had just started, in the running of my family, and in my teenage children. I had to practice for a long time and accept a new way of life.
However, as one world collapsed, I saw dimensions opening up that had been neglected and unappreciated before: my life of faith. For years in fact, I had not prayed. Since I recognized my fragility, it was spontaneous for me to start praying again, not with words learned in catechism, but in dialogue. I learned to converse with God again.
Meanwhile, my treatments continued. At one point, I was surprised to recover all motor functions.
Now that I am recovering, I can say that God’s love wanted to immerse me in life fully, not superficially. He took me by the hand, and I held on.
Compiled by Maria Grazia Berretta
(from “Il Vangelo del Giorno”, Città Nuova, year VII, n. 4, November–December 2021)