True Joy

True Joy

Raise your hand if you want to be happy. Fully, completely happy. I see many raised hands, maybe because after all, being happy is everyone’s desire. Is it appropriate to say that everyone who desires this joy is actually experiencing it? Are we truly happy and are we surrounded by people who are equally happy? Can we also say that everything we do is always aimed at this happiness? I recall my adolescent years, when the pursuit of joy was truly my motivation, the reason I chose to do or not to do something. If I was not convinced that something would make me truly happy, then I wouldn’t do it, because I perceived it as a waste of time. Walking aimlessly downtown with my classmates, checking out shops or guys? No, thanks! Going out at night just to hang out?...

Mary, Queen of Apostles

Mary, Queen of Apostles

“As a woman, as a baptized person, as a consecrated person, and as an apostle, the Apostle of the Interior Life in imitation of Mary, desires to exercise her role as mother, making herself available to the work of the Holy Spirit, for making possible, so to say, the Incarnation of the Divine Word in the souls that she assists spiritually.” – AVI Rule of Life As the talk we were listening to ended, a student in the row in front of me turned around and asked, “Can we talk?” She was a girl I met with regularly for spiritual direction, and I could tell right away from the pain in her eyes that something was wrong. We left the crowded hall and as soon as we were away from the noise she looked at me and started crying. The talk on dating we had just listened to had...

Friendship

Friendship

I had just joined the community and I was filled with joy and enthusiasm, learning my way through the daily schedule of prayer, community time, chores, studies, and apostolate. The call from Jesus had touched and transformed my heart, making it burn with the desire to give myself to him, and to go out and bring him to many others. I wasn’t really looking for anything more, since I felt I had everything, but our God is a God of abundance. One Sunday afternoon, taking advantage of some free time, I and another young woman in formation decided to go out for a walk and to play at one of the parks in Rome. We didn’t really know each other that well, but we found ourselves spending those hours talking, sharing, and enjoying each other’s company as if we had been...

His hand on mine

His hand on mine

“It wasn’t easy to go to confession that day. I was twenty-two years old, and despite the fact that time has passed since then, I still remember it well. I was at the Shrine of Loreto. I was drawing near to this sacrament, prepared to receive a scolding and to be humiliated; I would never have thought that I could instead receive a precious gift. I felt alone, as if I had to appear before a judge. And yet, as soon as I knelt down, the friar who was waiting for me in the confessional, perhaps sensing my discomfort, placed his hand on mine and didn’t let go for the whole time of the confession. That gesture helped me to feel closeness and understanding, and it encouraged me to open up. I felt as if the sins I was confessing lost their power over my heart, and in...

Offertory: “You have changed my mourning into dancing”

Offertory: “You have changed my mourning into dancing”

A little more than two years ago, I was molded by a life-changing experience. “Brother pain” as St. Francis would say, came knocking at my door. I had recently undergone a routine surgery, that seemed to have gone well, but in reality my body was struggling to recover. During the post-surgery recovery, I received a rare email from a dear friend of mine from our college days. She shared with me about the very difficult time she was going through. Sarah had always been an example of solid faith and hope, and she is famous for her joy and sense of humor in every situation. Knowing this, I quickly understood the seriousness of her interior state when she wrote me and a few other friends asking us to pray for her. She shared how her faith risked crumbling in the midst...

Jesus’ Way

Jesus’ Way

I was eighteen when on a chilly December morning I entered a church in Rome before going to class. A Mass was going on in the church, but I wasn’t really paying attention, as I merely wanted to have a warm place where I could wait. After few minutes, a young woman in her late twenties sat right beside me and started to talk to me. I was struck by her beautiful and pure gaze right away, even if I was trying to figure out who she was and why she would want to talk to me like this. She explained that she was a consecrated woman in the brand new community of the Apostles of the Interior Life, and that her mission was to reach out to young people and talk with them about God. Although I wasn’t ready to start a spiritual friendship with her, I was struck by the fact...