My name is Thomas. I am twenty three years old and like many other guys, as I grew up I was taught healthy values. As child I already started to tell lies and I was not open with my family. I was entrusted to a foster family and this wounded me, but I did not let anyone see that I was suffering because I did not want to be different from the other kids in my school or group. I put on a mask, portraying myself as strong and I always wanted to be the same as everyone else and be respected by everyone.
I started with cigarettes, company of older guys, trends, the first joints, and bad experiences, ending with heroin, which seemed like the answer to a life in which I no longer found meaning. For a short time I was able to hide this reality, but then, through the social workers, I was moved to another family. Shortly after each time everything crumbled and
I was not going anywhere in school, with my family, and with my relationships; I escaped more and more into drugs and violence. I felt more and more alone and I no longer wanted friends or relationships with anyone, except with a girl with whom I had been for a few years, thinking that she gave me the strength to go on and would give me a light for the future. The story ended and , incapable of accepting this disappointment, after a few months, after reaching the age of adult, I decided to leave. After a few experiences in the train stations and in the streets I found myself in front of the doors of the Community, angry at life, wounded by the world’s
illusions, and with a lot of confusion concerning God.
When I entered Cenacolo it was difficult for me to build relationships with the other guys. I was afraid to trust and to have normal relationships without drugs or other false securities. One of the first walls to break down was letting people see who I truly was. Accepting myself with my limits and fears and starting to want to be a better man, for myself and for those around me, is the path that I am travelling down each day in Community. I started to be more truthful with myself.
I realized with time that it was God that could make the difference in my life and that if I got to know him better through prayer, He would have the
power to overcome my limits and change my way of life.
Everything that the Community suggested to me from the beginning has all been a gift. Even if today I still struggle in many small things, I understand that this school of life is a great help in reflecting on myself daily. Today I recognize with the eyes of faith that everything starts from inside, that it is not always someone else’s fault, and if I am free with myself I can face my difficulties differently. I am no longer alone with my burdens: there is someone who teaches me how to carry them because they have already experienced this.
I was always curious to hear the other guys speak about faith in Jesus, because I had many views on religions and I was sceptical towards all of them.
I searched the truth in their words and I did not understand that the truth spoke to my heart, and that I needed to be silent to hear it. Every time that I am able to welcome the truth through a brother or through prayer, something new always arises inside of me and gives more quality to my life.
Before I was searching great
explanations of life, of God… then, seeing my brothers who were better than me in service, truth, I understood that there was something more which helped me to feel God’s presence in my life, in the chapel but even more outside, in daily situations. Each moment in which I still see negatively or feel down is a precious sign that reminds me who I was and how sad and incapable we are of getting back up without God. The difficulties and the “lessons” that I leave each day are the key for my future, because they
remind me that with faith even failures have meaning and suffering has a new face which before was unknown to me.
The Community, for me, is like a mother who makes me aware of the fact that I am very poor, but also very loved and accompanied in my life’s journey: always and everywhere.
Knowing that God has a great plan for each one of us and that we are unique and precious in His eyes gives me the joy to continue this journey.
I want to thank the Community because it taught me the true treasure of life, and
because I am learning each day to see and appreciate these values in the brothers with whom I live.
Thanks to the Lord because He always awaited and welcomed me with open arms. Thanks to my parents for the great gift of life.