The Beginning of the Hundredfold

After participating in the National Diaconia, Elisabetta has three encounters that allow her to recognize Christ present and witness Him at work.

Last month I participated in the National Diaconia in Colorado. What I lived and heard in those three days was crucial in its simplicity. It surprised me because one inevitably has some kind of expectation based on previous meetings, and instead it was different. It was so corresponding that it allowed me to say, “It is the Lord, here with us!” At the end of the Diaconia, I stayed behind to visit one of my sons, and after the others left, I had a sense of sadness, as if the Lord was moving on and I couldn’t go with Him. Yet, in the following days three facts happened.

That same afternoon my son introduced me to a young woman who was in Colorado for the CLU vacation. During our conversation she asked about my story, and in recounting it to her I again saw vividly how the Lord has been saving me through this companionship. I also became aware of how what He has been doing in my life, how He has been changing me, was somehow also a sign of His presence and of hope for her. I felt grateful and alive, and I realized that the Lord was making Himself present right there--He hadn’t moved on. Or better, there was no limit to Him being present, like He said before the Ascension. And His presence is all I need!

Then I had dinner with a couple who is friends with my son, and the conversation revolved around a difficult work-related decision one of them had to make the following day. After looking at the pros and cons for a while, I felt compelled to say that the decision could be helped only by considering what happiness, freedom, and the meaning of life are. And a beautiful conversation on our experience and what we have verified followed. I felt that the Lord had sat down with us and illuminated us with His presence!

A few days later something else happened. I had invited my husband’s former colleague and his wife for dinner. He is retired now, and they live in another state. He is a very good-hearted, intelligent man and a scientist. He has known my family for many years, and in the past, he often heard me recount how the experience of the movement and GS changed my life and that of my sons. Many years ago I invited him to a presentation on The Religious Sense because I perceived he had the same desire for the Infinite that I have, but he answered with a kind yet definite, “Thank you, but no thank you,” adding that he was not interested in religion. At dinner a few days ago, he told us that he went through a very harrowing time due to the short illness and death of a family member. When I thought that they were ready to go home, he surprised me by saying, “Could you please tell me more about this movement that changed your life and the life of your sons?” For a moment I was speechless, deeply moved, and I thought, “Lord, I hope I can rise to the occasion of what you are asking me. I’ll do my best to tell him what you have done in our life!” In the end he didn’t change his position, but we agreed that we have been created with the same heart. We usually see these friends during the summer on our way back from vacation, but they had told us that this summer it wouldn’t be possible because they had other commitments. Yet, before leaving that night they said that they would look at their plans again and make it work, because they wanted to see us again (I think it is Us)!

These three episodes allowed me to experience what the beginning of the book Morality: Memory and Desire says: that “my task is to give witness to the faith, to affirm that salvation is already present, pointing it out, giving witness to everyone.” My certainty and my hope have grown because I have seen that if I stay rooted in the companionship through which the Lord makes Himself present to me and educates me to be more aware of who I am, of my need for Him, and of how I can recognize Him present (which is what I need to live), then He uses me according to His will, making me encounter people He wants to reach. All of this sense of renewed energy, life, and fulfillment that comes from seeing Him at work and being part of His work is really the beginning of the hundredfold that fifteen years ago I couldn’t even begin to understand!

Elisabetta, Pennsylvania, USA