|Fifty years of Communion and Liberation / Encounters
Intimate and Fleshly
The relationship with Mystery in the experience of a terminal illness: “Through this circumstance, I am in relationship with Mystery… and for this reason, I have to treat it with respect, intimacy, and ‘carnality,’ because it is the means of communion with God.” These notes were found by the sister of a twenty-year-old university student, written last August 22nd, four days before his death
In March 2002, my brother was diagnosed with a tumor in his left foot. Amputation of the foot did not halt the course of the cancer. Within a few months, Umberto had to face a new operation to eliminate the metastases in his lungs, and underwent continuous chemotherapy cycles, which, however, did not eliminate the cancer. Umberto studied at the University of Lugano, where he always returned after the devastating therapies he faced in the hospital, or to his home in Pioltello. In his desk drawer, the day after he died, I found about ten pages he had written, starting in February of this year, noting the reflections he was maturing, because of the illness. The last page is dated Sunday, August 22nd; it was on that Sunday night that Umberto felt worse and we brought him to the Tumor Institute, where he died four days later, August 26th.
I’m living my life with such intensity! It’s something extraordinary. I was telling Silvia the other day when I was badly off and inhibited by the morphine; I told her, “Think always living like this, in this way; what a grace.”
I am glad; it’s an enormous intensity that is making me live everything in a truly more glad way–“all of life asks for eternity;” in every instant I feel like entreating eternity. I understand that my happiness begins now, in this instant, in every instant of my life, because life is the vocational instant.
Living in this way, it seems natural to love all of reality, everything; you love everything that puts you in relationship with Mystery–reality itself, precisely because it is not yours.
I realize that lately I haven’t succeeded at all in doing the many things I would have wanted to do–the Spiritual Exercises, the Meeting this week, the mini-vacation to Pontresina–but this makes me even more aware of life, of reality; it’s as if, in a certain sense, every time, it makes me ever “stronger,” because there’s the consciousness of being loved and being called in a certain way by God, in a mysterious but great way, because it is desired by God and it isn’t what I had in mind. At this point, there’s the total offering of self to God, total.
The relationship with Mystery in every man is precisely intimate and fleshly.
The other day, after I woke up, I thought, “In this moment, for me, my relationship with God passes entirely through this illness, through this circumstance, I am in relationship with Mystery also and above all through my illness, and for this reason I have to treat it with respect, intimacy, and ‘carnality,’ because it is the means of communion with God.
But this relationship with Mystery reaches the point of embracing all the other aspects of my life–my relationship with Silvia and with my family and my friends… everything is a sign of the glory of God, precisely because all of life asks for eternity.
In this moment in which the situation seems a bit worsened, my position before life is this, and I ask that my consciousness before it always remain such. Veni Sancte Spiritus, veni per Mariam.