What Makes a House a Home
Rossella experiences a newness in opening her home to friends of a friend
One day Sara Katherine sends me a text: “Father Stefano wants to come to visit with 4 CL University friends, can they stay at your house?” My husband and I said yes, and a few weeks later they came. Sara Katherine was the only CLU (CL University) student in our new community at Penn State, and she invited some of her friends from the university to have meals with us. On Saturday night, we made Italian pizza for them and ate dinner together at a big table. At a certain point Aryana, one of Sara Katherine’s friends looks at me saying: “This is a beautiful way of staying together.”
That night something new and beautiful had happened to the point that the day after she came to me with a request: “How can I join this Movement?”, a desire shared also by two other friends of Sara Katherine. So, next week we are starting the CLU school of community! That weekend left me astonished for several days and still does. I could not believe some of the things that these new friends said. One of them was surprised and noted: “So, now can I say that I belong to the Movement?” A beautiful friendship with the students that stayed at my house was given to me, and I found a brother in Father Stefano. I can’t explain how this was possible, but it happened: it was given by God. During that weekend, I received a newness, a friendship so beautiful that generated in me a new happiness, a new joy in living my everyday life. It became very clear that I cannot produce my own happiness, I cannot make my life new. I can desire it, I can ask for it, I can look for it, but at the end it is given, as the School of Community says: “The relationship between the participated being and God is only prayer. All the rest is done by God.”
Also, these new friends were struck by the fact that we served and welcomed them, a fact that transformed our house into a place in which they could feel at home. In those days, I surprised myself by feeling at home in serving them, cooking for them, and just loving them. To love and to serve someone else is really the realization of my heart.
Among all the analyses done about the Ukraine war, what really made me free was something that the Monsignor Pezzi, Bishop of Moscow, said: “What is at risk in these circumstances is hope, we need to look at the flames of hope in our life [...] to live life in an attitude of prayer and offering is the first thing because God is the only One that can clarify the situation.” I am very thankful to the charism of Father Giussani because it helps me to look at all the flames of hope that are present in my life like that weekend, and because I am learning that my life is important for what happens in the world. I am starting to see how I can discover my own heart and be an instrument of God’s Love.
Rossella, State College, PA