Photo: Unsplash/Javier Allegue Barros

Madrid: an important step in life

College ended in the middle of the pandemic. Then came illness, many uncertainties, and the desire to be able to relive the fascination of the encounter. Ana speaks of why she decided to join the Fraternity.

Joining the Fraternity of CL was something stable in the midst of a sea of questions and uncertainties. The beginning of the pandemic surprised me whilst I was in Erasmus in Paris. I had to return to Madrid and all my plans changed completely overnight. At first, I welcomed these new circumstances, which included living with the disease (my own and those of the people I love); but as the months went by, questions began to come to light that I did not want to face or that I believed had been resolved. Among them, the question of my destiny became more urgent: what will become of me? I had just graduated from college and there were far fewer professional opportunities than I had imagined. Around me I saw friends getting married, buying homes, starting jobs, having children. But what about me?

Gradually, the idea dawned on me that I had not made the right decisions over the past few years and that is why I was not reaching the milestones for a full life. To make matters worse, the pandemic prevented me from seeking a solution to these problems. In the midst of these questions, there was one fact, which lay outside of these calculations: after my years in the CLU, I wanted to join the Fraternity. I ultimately joined by begging. I needed to beg for what fascinated me. Four years ago, when I had a huge wound, I listened to Carrón proposing that we university students undertake a journey with him. I wanted to learn to live as he lived so that my problems, pain, and questions were no longer an obstacle, but gave new renewed enthusiasm. There, I understood that the questions that I dared not confess even to myself were perhaps precisely those through which I could grow.

During this year of the pandemic, the question has reopened. But with one difference: I know where to go back to in order to beg. I need a carnal presence and place that will allow me to look at my heart without fear. On my own, I am terrified. As I was signing up, I realized that this was my first act as an adult. In questioning my future, I was taking a step towards my destiny; I was acknowledging the truth that was already written in my heart. Fr. Giussani, Carrón, and all those who walk him, are friends, helping me to fulfil my question.

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At first, I did not understand why Giussani found this question so important: "What will profit a man if he gains the whole world but then loses himself?" (Mt 16:26). This question describes what happened to me with Carrón, and what I want to keep happening throughout my life. He takes my need more seriously than I take myself and reopens it, and in doing so puts me before the Mystery. I have been part of the Church all my life, and yet I could not have imagined that Christ is a carnal presence that exalts my desire and offers me fullness. In this place, I have come to know Christ in each of the faces I have met; in the way they look at my desire and my need, and in the promise that is their own life. Through them, I have come to know Christ. I only knew Him before through hearsay. That is why this year I took one of the most important steps of my adult life; it was not getting a mortgage or getting married, but joining the Fraternity. I do not know what my future will hold, but I do know that my destiny is linked to the movement and, through the movement, to Christ.

Ana, Madrid, Spain