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Dear Father Angelo,

My name is L.,I’m twenty-one years old and my faith in God has always been inextricably linked to my reason and the fundamentals of every action. Often, however, my strong faith has been a reason for derision and isolation. I have been bullied from kindergarten to University and in my family I have been in the center of family feuds, although all these people now have my forgiveness, and by forgiving, I understood how much the forgiveness enriches those who give it and those who receive it. In moments of trial, of suffering that has no words is where my faith blossomed. I have always felt the presence of God, daily, in Jesus I have found a faithful and true friend, in the Virgin Mary a mother, a teacher and a confidant and I understood that one never feels so free as when one entrusts oneself. I lived respecting what Catechism has taught me, I have been rigorous, too much according to others. A friend of mine, a seminarist, for example, says to me that I don’t have to worry about living carnal love freely, but I disagree and I am accused of being too schematic. Therefore, I am confused listening to  what  I am told by those who are much closer to the Church than me. I concur everything the Church teaches, because she speaks the truth according to the Gospel. Lately, I really feel strongly the presence of God, and I feel the need to live the Mass and approach the Sacrament of the Eucharist. I go to Mass everyday and I pray the rosary which is an excellent shield against evil. In all of this, for years, I have been asking myself questions about my vocation and I imagine myself happy and eager to help others and to be a servant of God, to put him at the center and with him, my brothers and sisters, without ever making them feel judged, because I believe that sin must be firmly condemned and the sinner helped to rework the path after the stumbling block of error. About what I am feeling, I recently talked to my parents and they  gave me full freedom, but I am afraid of running too much, since I do not have a Spiritual father who follows me and because  I did not talk about it to any priest , I have never taken part to parish activities, and I think it would be better to make discernment and experience to be aware and serene of what I am going to face. The Lord asks and I answer with my life, but I don’t want to be wrong, in the name of His Love. What do you recommend to me? How can I move ? I pray for you and I thank you in advance for the words and the time you will want to dedicate to me.

Dear L.,

  1. Your Email filled me with joy and sadness at the same time.

Joy because I am pleased with the call of the Lord. Upon you, too, He has fixed His gaze to love you with a singular love. Just has he did with the young man of whom the Gospel speaks: “ Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21). If you will have the grace to become a Priest you will understand more and more, as you go along in the years, the inestimable grace of the vocation. (NASB; “Looking at him, Jesus showed love to him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Mark 10:21)Ho scritto nelle parentesi la versione della NASB, non sono sicura se e’ questa o meno quella da voi usata…grazie!

  1. Yesterday morning, while celebrating the Mass of a Dominican blessed, in the Communion antiphon we read this promise of the Lord: “ And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”(Matthew 19:29).( Nella New American Bible, la versione e’ scritta differentemente, non sono sicura sulla versione) If you are faithful to your vocation, you will experience it every day and you will feel the richest and luckiest of all, even if you have no money of your own.

3.  From what I understand, your life has not been all sunshine and rainbows, you had to suffer and to fight. (From what I understand your life of faith has not passed between roses and flowers, but you have had to suffer and fight). 

I am also happy because all of this, instead of making you waver, has strengthened youmore and more.

And this is undoubtedly a very good sign because the Lord allows trials not because we weaken, but because we become stronger and stronger.

St. John of the Cross, a great Carmelite mystic, said that “virtue sends forth its roots in the season of dryness, toil and trail” (Canticle Spirit. B, 30.5) and “virtue is strengthened in the exercise of suffering “(Living Flame of Love B, 2,26).

4.  It seems to me that your Christian life it’s now well established: you feel the presence of God strongly, you go to Mass every day and pray with the Holy Rosary which you have rightly felt  is an excellent shield against evil. If I can give you some advice: don’t go back from  this rhythm. I am sure that this advice is superfluous for you because you have no intention of neglecting the source of your spiritual life.If someone had told Pier Giorgio Frassati or the almost Blessed Carlo Acutis that it is not necessary to go to Mass every day and feed on the Bread of Angels, of Jesus Christ, he would have attracted a look of compassion. As if to say: don’t you know what you take going to Mass every day and to receive Holy Communion?

You would do the same, too.

5. I am also happy for the prayer of the Holy Rosary.

Today, we Dominicans celebrated the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. It is in fact the first Sunday of October. A French Dominican, Father Marie-ÉtienneVayssière O.P. (1864-1940) who was prior provincial of the Dominicans of Toulouse and whose beatification process is underway, said that the Rosary “is not simply a series of Hail prayed with devotion; it is Jesus who returns to live in the soul through the maternal action of Mary “.

And that’s right. It is like a continuation of Holy Communion and the celebration of Mass.

It is one of the most beautiful and most fruitful moments of the day. It is a being together with the Lord and with Our Lady. In that moment great good is done to yourself, to the many people for whom you pray and also for the whole world.

6. In your email you did not mention the Sacrament of Confession, but I am sure that you approach this source of continuous renewal, purification and sanctification on a regular and frequent basis.

7. Therefore, under these aspects, I feel you are ready to take the step which the Lord is calling  you to do. Perhaps, it remains to explore which direction of your vocation you should follow : whether the Diocesian Priest or in some Religious Institute.

8. Now, I come to the point that caused me real sorrow: a seminarian friend of yours tells you that you shouldn’t have any problems living carnal love freely.

I think even an atheist would be surprised at such a statement made by a seminarian.

If it had been an atheist to say it, it would not be surprising. Because if there is no goal of the future life that directs our entire existence towards holiness, it is fatal for us to live to eat, drink and have fun, as Saint Paul says in 1 Cor 15:32.

9.I wonder how that seminarian manages to put his statement together with that of Jesus: “Blessed are the pure in heart,for they will see God.”(Matthew 5:8). And also those said from the Holy Spirit through St.Paul’s mouth: “ Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. ( 1 Cor 3, 16-17 ).

And also : “For this is the will of God, your sanctification:that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,  not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;  that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.  For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”(1 Ts 4,3-8).

10. Do not let yourself be disoriented from that affirmation. Remember what the Holy Spirit said “ that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things” (1 Ts 4,6) . What you wrote “I concur everything the Church teaches, because she speaks the truth according to the Gospel.” it gives you honor because it is the most and pure testimony of your life. Indeed “ For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”(Mt 12,34). Maybe even that seminarian has spoken the heart the abundance of the heart. If he lived in purity he would never, ever come out with such statements. (Again, non sono sicura sulla giusta versione biblica da voi usata, quella sopra mi sembra la versione cristiana, non cattolica)

11. Just worry about  becoming a seminarian and a priest with the same feeling as that young man who later on became St.John XXIII: “A globe of pure crystal, irradiated by the sunlight, gives me the idea of the clarity of the priests’ hearts.

My soul must be like a mirror that must reflect the image of the angels, of the Most Holy Mary, of Jesus Christ.

If the mirror tarnishes, however slightly, I am worthy of being torn to pieces and thrown in the garbage” ( The journal of the Soul, Spiritual Exercise 1902, n. 8).

12. I think that the time has come to implement that discernment which is indispensable for verifying the authenticity and consistency of the vocation. 

Ask Our Lady, through the prayer of the Holy Rosary, to obtain the grace for you to talk about it with a priest who inspires you welcome, maturity for reflection, the ability to discern your inclinations and to tell you in the name of God which is the path the Lord is calling you for.

I believe that Our Lady is waiting for nothing else.

I gladly accompany you with prayer.

I am sure that many of our visitors will do the same as soon as they read this email from you.

I wish you well and bless you.

Father Angelo.