HOW THE PARENTS’ WALK WAS BORN
All that was born in these years from the womb of the Community was generated from the life of the youth who, lit up by God’s truth through prayer, have also given light to the steps that the Community had to do little by little to grant a more and more effective service .
Everything originated from listening to the stories of their lives , told with sincerity.
We might say that the parents’ groups have been “given birth” by their children.
Mother Elvira, listening to their tragic experiences, realized that the troubles that they had lived, started long before their addiction to drugs, alcohol ,long before showing their rebellion …
The youth are aware that the origin of their sufferings is to be often found in their childhood: in their relationship with their parents a crack slipped in , a seed of distrust towards Dad and Mum, of solitude , of anger ,of crushed, hidden ,fled but never healed resentment .
That wound turned into a door from where evil entered to bring destruction.
We understood that only healing the root that originated all this and which then hurt the youth, they would have been able to embrace their life again ,but in a new way. The walk of the families was born from this awareness, since the very beginning of the Community. Today we can witness that in every new country where God has brought the Community there the walk of the families was born like necessary fruit and consequence ,a walk that passes through the interviews, the weekly prayer meetings in the several places , the monthly ones for the “family school”, the retreat days…
When we first broadcast a programme about the family on Radio Maria, Mother Elvira immediately said :”We will give it this title:” Rebirth of Families: converted parents, saved children” ”. This is the sense of the walk proposed to the parents.
CONVERTED PARENTS, SAVED CHILDREN
The family that knocks at the Community doors usually does it because they don’t know “which way to turn” ; they had tried everything without being able to win against evil and the Community is often the last chance, the last hope.
We tell the parents that their children are not like “parcels” to be relieved of but like a gift to be found again and that it is necessary to be involved in a conversion and deep change walk ,which needs cooperation in sacrifice and in clear, demanding choices. To the parents who ask:” What shall I do, how much do I have to pay for my son?” Mother Elvira often answers:” When you brought me your dead child I might have asked you for a big check and nearly all of would have paid because you were desperate, with no way out to save him. But we don’t care for you “ to pay” for your children’s life a monthly check: they are young ,they must roll up their sleeves to work hard for their rebirth. Still there is a “ price “ for you parents to pay as well; your children’s lives must be “paid” changing together with them, engaging yourselves in a conversion walk. This is “the fee” ,the “check” we ask you, that’ s what you have to do to help your child. The answer is: trust the Community and change your life from inside, become true, start again to pray, convert yourselves.”
UNITY SAVES THE CHILD
Many desperate families ask for help from us. We tell them that the very first step is to answer this question: “How am I getting on with my husband, with my wife?” Actually their children ‘s cry of suffering, their despair ,their troubles ,their angry escape into addictions are a way to provoke not only our society but the family in particular: they ask us adults to find unity again, reconciliation, forgiveness, intercommunication, mutual respect.
That’s way we explain the families that the very first thing to save their children is the unity between mother and father; sometimes they are split, maybe they live in different places, or they have got married again…but if they really want to save this child born from their love they must be convinced and united in showing him only one ,clear way. They must agree on that at least, they must listen to each other ad have only one word, one heart: it’s unity that saves the child!
A addicted son, with many problems ,to be saved needs what he hadn’t before .He longs for it ,he asks it, he cries it :”Be united! If you are so I will be saved…Be united like man and wife in this walk, be united with the other relatives”
Actually they need to heal the wound that hurt them so deeply: the separation between mother and father, between parents and other relatives.
THE FAMILY – COMMUNITY ALLIANCE
The parents’ walk is fundamental ,it’s not incidental : it’s important to walk together, family and Community, otherwise it will be difficult to win against evil. If we do not walk together, the child’s life is “lame”. The Community involves the family ,supports it in the moments of suffering ,cross ,despair, hard work , sustains it but it will not substitute it. The blood link between parents and children must surely be healed, be found again and freed….but it can’t be substituted; it is fundamental ,very important and it will always condition, in good or evil , the walk of your children.
We might say that an alliance must be created between family and Community: the struggle against that evil that has overthrown the child is won together. Here unity is necessary again. If we are not united we will lose; this deep alliance is necessary for the good of the youth, a true alliance like the one between God and Israel, a friendship thanks to which that people won many battles and many afflictions.
Today ours is a struggle against evil and our goal is the children’s resurrection. Without this alliance evil is again able “to gamble” with the youth’s life, entering it like in the past through division, misunderstanding, untruthfulness of parents towards the Community.
That’s why we devote so much time and energy to the families :in this way the story of the children is fully ”embraced” by good : on the one hand the help of the Community and on the other the help of the family that has found hope again.
The lifestyle we suggest the youth must be shared by the families , so that we can meet walking together and support mutually to persist in good doing.. Many times the youth receive strength thanks to the family changes: they don’t feel abandoned any longer, let down, but loved, accompanied ad this encourages them so much .
A WALK OF FRIENDSHIP IN PRAYER
When a youth enters the Community he meets other young people like him who are already walking along their way and who hold out their hands to sincere and unselfish friendship.
In the several groups desperate parents will meet others who were more desperate than they are ,but these ones have found hope again and they witness it to encourage the others. From that shared suffering great friendship, help and pity are born. Thanks to Faith the cross they have lived becomes testimony of resurrection, mission. Mother Elvira always invites the parents not to be ashamed of the cross and sorrow they have experienced, but to let them become a means of testimony and salvation for many other families.
All this becomes possible when we pray before God truthfully. Prayer makes us walk together and does the miracle to let good be born again: parents and children support one another because they fight the same battles ,they overcome the same difficulties ,they run united towards a unique goal which is resurrecting to a new life.
The last period was full of grace, but also of small and great crosses. That’s probably why we lived the meeting with the French families in such a special way! Suffering brought us to see beyond appearances, to look for what is essential, to examine our and our family’s life. Starting from the “Assomption” monastery the parents came up to the boys’ fraternity where immediately ,before the greetings and hugs, we all met in the chapel before the Eucharist to bring Him our hearts, our expectations ,to ask Him to make us ready for the meeting. Then the Holy Masses, the testimonies, the moments of personal sharing and of joy with the sketches prepared by the boys so carefully……..
They were intense and precious days, full of the light of the Holy Spirit and of the tenderness of Mary.
Praying is the only thing that is saving me and I was happy to invite my mother to pray with me.
Before : fears, claims, negative thoughts………I felt blocked. But during the Adoration I felt that the Holy Spirit was working inside each one of us and after we spoke to each other in peace and joy.
When I entered the Community we were “far away”, we had hurt each other so much.
Little by little here in Lourdes the Madonna put in my heart the desire to forgive mum and dad :I hadn’t felt “their daughter” for so many years.
On Sunday during the Holy Mass that ended the French parents’ retreat, Jesus called me to reconciliation: my heart was full of joy and gratefulness and for the first time after ten years I hugged my mother, I asked her to forgive me and I told her from the deep of my heart:” Thank you Mum for the life that you gave me, I love you, thank you because you exist.”
The weekend’s withdrawal in Eisenstadt gave us the opportunity to know better the life of our children in the Community and to know also each other .We prayed, sang, danced, smiled together which really moved me deeply .The youth’s welcome and joy was super !In each of them I saw my son and I am really happy to know that he is not alone any longer. He spent so many years in such an awful solitude, far from God’s love and I have suffered so much for this, I was really very sad.. I would really like to ask my son to forgive me for not having been able to help.
During the days spent here our relationship with God has become stronger. I feel full of joy.
For this I thank the Community and I hope that more and more people may know this strength and the love that now exists in our children’s hearts!