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The affection that my existence gives me

His great desire for a family, then marriage and two daughters. Until the drama of illness and death. "If the Lord had described this sequence of events to me, I would have rejected Him, missing out on the best.” Here is Attilio's testimony.

I met the movement when I was 19 years old. I then left it and met it again in my workplace, mostly through School of Community during my lunch break. I was already Catholic and attended my parish, but continuously repeating "He's right!" as we read Giussani shifted my human and spiritual center of gravity toward CL at some point.
As I have told my friends several times, I longed for affection in my life. Those who were close to me know how much I longed for a family, and for that I prayed to the Lord. I remember, for example, October 21, 2001: I was in St. Peter's Square helping out at the beatification of Mr. and Mrs. Beltrame-Quattrocchi; I was 42 years old and, as I followed the Eucharistic celebration, I did nothing but implore God uninterruptedly to give me a family.

When, in July 2003, I finally got married, I felt like I was touching heaven, and much more so when, two years later, my daughter was born. In 2009, during my wife's second pregnancy, doctors discovered a malignant tumor. She had surgery and our daughter was born in the eighth month of pregnancy. Almost five years after the illness was discovered, my wife died in the grace of God. I remember that in her last days, aware that she was at the end of her earthly journey, she told me that one should never complain in life, no matter what happens, because everything is for a good. With respect to my desire for affection, I did not understand; indeed, I considered his premature loss a betrayal of the promise.
During the whole period of her illness, neither my wife or I, however, had moments of despair; nor after her death, even though I had to manage a delicate situation with two daughters aged 8 and 4. I felt concretely that there was Someone else supporting and consoling us, through the closeness of friends and the prayers of many.

My life was passing by,more or less smoothly, when in 2018 my eldest daughter was diagnosed with a tumor in her cerebellum, and although she had the best possible treatment, two years after the onset of the disease, she ascended to Heaven on September 15. The funeral was very serene, in the sense that there was no despair, neither in me or in my second daughter, or in the rest of my family (my mother, my siblings). I have always wondered why, after all that has happened to me, even though there were moments of grief and many questions, I never fell into despair. I am discovering that my consistency cannot be in the people close to me, no matter how much I love them. My consistency is in that Affection that gave them to me, which, before that, gave and gives me the gift of my existence. My consistency is in Christ and that gives me strength.

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I thank the Lord because, through Giussani and the movement, He brought me slowly to this awareness. If, in 2003, the Lord had described this sequence of events to me, I would have rejected Him, missing out on the best. I have the awareness that I am loved by God precisely because He has been merciful toward me and has also allowed me to see some of the fruits of His goodness, such as a school in Kinshasa, the capital of Congo, named after my first-born daughter by an Augustinian nun who knew her well. I now live my life with a wound in my flesh; I seek and desire to see how Christ surprises me every day, through the experience of that greater intensity of life that makes me stand peacefully before everything, because of the reawakening of the fascination of my relationship with Him.

Attilio, Rieti, Italy