Throughout my life I have sensed — thanks to my parents, family, friends, through the school, the parish — how my name was tattooed in the palm of God’s hand. How is this?
Because it is not a feeling, but an experience. It is difficult to explain, but very real. I discovered it by feeling that I am a unique being, that everything I have is a gift: from family, friends, to material goods; that there is someone (God) who believes and trusts me; who wanted to count on me to be present in the world (a presence of love, hope, joy); that gives me serenity, makes me completely happy like no other reality nor person can do it; that constantly calls me to improve myself, to go a little further; that offers me a new and unique opportunity to start over at every moment.
God asks me something crazy: because it is not about giving a little more, or being a little better. It is about giving your life totally, to love without measure, to leave everything. For whom? For the greatest love, His love. But for what? To go find him in those who are on the edge of the road, in the excluded, in the forgotten. It is about looking the other way, discovering in the most insignificant gesture, in the person that least counts for society, the special presence of God.
Once I discovered this special love of God, I no longer felt very fulfilled with my work, even though I had dreamed of it since I was little and had prepared myself for it. It seemed I was missing something, and I did not know what it was. The contact, through several volunteering, with children, people with disabilities, in a soup kitchen … gave me the answer. What made me happiest was spending time with them. But, hey, it is not necessary to leave the work that you like more, the family, other opportunities … to help others. That’s what I thought when in the depths of my heart the anxiety to start a new life was starting to show.
Then I realized that the key was that God called me in a different, new way, to take him and discover him in the most abandoned. It was not about solving all the problems, but about dedicating myself completely to accompany, listen, love, above all, to the poorest. To do the same as Jesus did. I discovered that by reading the Bible, the New Testament, in the Eucharist. Al least, something was clear to me. But there was another question: did I have to give up my life, give up my profession, dream of getting married, have children and start a family? To give up making my plans? There are thousands of volunteers and people who give themselves since their marriage! And it is true, but, next to my name, God had tattooed a concrete mission, unique. A place. A vocation. He gave me the freedom to choose or reject it. And what was at stake? My happiness. And not only mine. Also that of the people that God wanted to put me in my way if I let him.
I thought: why not someone else? I do not want that! It was not in my plans! That is for others: those who do things well, and do what they say, and are punctual, and generous. But that does not matter to God. Because it does not look at our limitation, but the desire to walk, change, improve. Let Him be tattooed on our skin so that everyone can discover Him.
I knew that I could not do it alone. Since God knows me, he offered me a life in community, with other sisters: with women who desire — we desire — to discover this face of God who is love, forgiveness, understanding, joy, madness, in those who do not count for the world. For what? To tell them that their life is worth it, that they are God’s favorites, that there is hope. And not because everything will change suddenly, but because you can live differently. At the end? In statistics, poverty, loneliness, abandonment, deaths without meaning… will continue. But those statistics can not show the large number of people who could experience, and not just feel, even if it was only in an instant of their life, that they are the most important and loved by someone. They could discover that there are people who have left their dreams to dream about theirs; that they spend themselves every day with the only objective and desire to rediscover at every moment the imprint of God inside them and the tattoo that He made with their names the day he thought of them — before they were born.
I could go on. In the end the only thing I can say is that it’s worth it; even more, that the only thing that is worthwhile, is to give your life chasing a single dream: that the least of this society would discover the love of God in their lives, that they can feel unique, special, that they may experience love. Then everything makes sense, the rest is no longer worth it and you do not feel that you have left anything, but God has given you a gift, which is the consecrated vocation, in my case in the Daughters of Charity, too valuable to say no.
It is not about a pretty or even attractive theory. Today for me this dream has faces and concrete names. They are children in shelteres, deprived of their own childhood, of the warmth and affection of their family. Today my life makes sense because they give sense to me and teach me, every day, who God is. And I, with the surrender of my being, am simply trying to make present the Love that they have not been able to experience.