Photo: Unsplash/Erik Mclean

New, unforeseen traces

Her first Fraternity Exercises after ten years. Her return to School of Community... Marilena speaks of how her hope was rekindled.

After more than ten years, I attended the Fraternity Exercises together with my husband, locked up at home as my children were in quarantine. As I listened to Julián Carrón's words, my heart was happy and full of wonder. I felt called. I was no longer alone. For me, as for many, this year has been particularly difficult. "Even worse than this crisis is the tragedy of squandering it". Hearing the Pope’s words made me begin to see how everything is turning into an opportunity.

In October, my father passed away. At the funeral I met friends who rekindled my heart, one person in particular. It was this encounter that made me want something more. Until then I had been living by "surviving". I realised that the mystery of the loss of my father was a good Mystery, it had lit a flame in my heart. I had not lost my faith; I had just lost sight of the traces to follow.

That was the point: to start seeing things again, from the fear of the pandemic to the loss of loved ones, as an opportunity for me to wake up. From the encounter with that friend came the tentative request to go back to School of Community. I started reading Traces again, which I had not even leafed through for a long time, even though I received it at home every month. Until I decided to sign up to the Fraternity Exercises. At the same time, I had the grace of meeting some new families in the parish, introduced by mutual friends, and of whom I knew nothing, but who began to be new "traces" to encounter the Lord in reality. It was finding the path I had lost.

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Even now, in this enforced isolation at home, with all my fears for my health and that of my loved ones, the temptation is to live it all alone as yet another effort. Instead, my only hope is that it is possible to "offer" this too. I realise that what I have received is a grace. Unexpected, but the only hope, as Montale wrote.

Marilena, Milan, Italy