Photo: Unsplash/Martin Castro

Fraternity Exercises: "Invited to change mindset"

A year of pandemic, hospitalization for Covid, treatment at home, the closeness of so many friends... And the opportunity to follow the three-day Fraternity event online. Luca speaks of his gratitude for what is happening.

I consider my relationship with Covid a battle that has borne fruit. From a health point of view, I was hospitalized from April 9 to 23. Since then, I have been continuing treatment at home. I have realized that more than a year of pandemic has taught the doctors and medical services the useful protocol to cure me. I also understand that there is more to it than that. At home, I decided to sort some papers and I found a booklet by Fr. Giussani published in 1988, but written in 1955: Christian Responses to the Problems of Young People. One passage allows me to clarify the factors at play: if human problems are reduced to knowing, to work, to love, to living together, then it is also true that “life becomes more interesting the greater the force with which problems are perceived" and that "the desire that pushes us to solve problems ultimately embodies that profound attraction with which God calls us to Himself". These last lines translate into the "reawakening of humanity" that Carrón speaks of, which I am now experiencing.

From every point of view, not only in terms of health, I perceive very concrete attention towards me on the part of those close to me. These are two examples among many: a friend reminded me of the possibility of participating in the Fraternity Exercises online; another dear friend called me every day whilst I was hospitalized to pray together. He prayed and I listened, moved when I heard his voice saying: Virgo potens, Virgo clemens, Virgo fidelis and then Salus infirmorum, Refugium peccatorum, Consolatrix afflictorum, Auxilium christianorum.

Testimonies of affection also come from my work colleagues, where I notice my own reawakening. When sick, even a simple message on WhatsApp brings comfort, and a friend’s willingness to bring me a change of clothes and my laptop arouses gratitude and amazement in me. A question a born: what is the bond between us? I have understood that the Lord's love for my life has assumed the face of those who on various occasions have come to my aid and have asked, praying, for the help of God. Everything happened in freedom: theirs, mine, His.

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My mom has recently read the pages from the Fraternity Exercises available on the website and told me that they were of great help to her in their consideration of the crisis with its various implications and by placing the pandemic in a perspective of hope. I remember being moved by the questions and songs on the Sunday morning. I realize that I am slowly changing my mindset – or rather I am invited to do so – facilitated by the fact that I was able to follow the Exercises even if ill with Covid and through the multifaceted help of several friends.

Luca, Vimercate, Italy