You are looking for something else
Posted by on 16 July 2009 ·
We are going to publish the witness given by Francesco Ferrari, a seminarian of the Fraternity of the Missionaries of Saint Charles Borromeo, during the pilgrimage from Macerata to Loreto, which recently took place.
My name is Francesco, and I am preparing for the priesthood with the Fraternity of Saint Charles. I come from Reggio Emilia, where my father and mother restore antique furniture. In the summertime, when I was younger, my three brothers and I used to help them. We would sand and polish, paint and repair, in order to restore those old pieces of wood to their original beauty. It was so satisfying to build something for my dad—to do it for him and to discover that I could be really useful to him.
At home, I learned the Christian faith not through words but through the beauty of the Christian life my parents lived. We often received visits from a group of priests, friends of the family, who were missionaries to Mexico, to Africa, to Russia. When I looked at them I was deeply fascinated, though mainly by the heroic aspect of the mission. I later found out, however, that my feeling was genuine and deeply rooted in my soul.
At 17, I made my first real attempt to confront this fascination—I fell in love with a girl. I started our relationship with great conviction, and wanted it to be permanent. Sometimes I shared with her my desire to have a large family, and to love her always. More precisely, I desired that both she and what I could build with her would last forever, that our relationship would embody that ideal, which was always present. As time passed, however, a certain dissatisfaction crept in silently. I looked at this girl, and despite my love for her, was paradoxically pervaded by a deep and unknown sense of sadness: “This is not it; this is not it. What you are looking for is Something Else.”
In March of my first year at university, I finally decided that I could not wait any longer—I understood what my life had been made for. I wanted to live exactly like those missionaries; I could not conceive anything more noble and desirable than virginity; I had no thought but Christ. Why would I search elsewhere for something only He could give? We had been together for more than two years, when I went to see her and told her I wanted to devote my life to Christ, in virginity. She cried for a long time and then, looking at me she said, “If this is what God wants, I will accept His will.” Nobody had ever loved me more. When I went home I cried, a little bit for what I was losing but mostly for joy because of all I was gaining. On this occasion I made my second crucial discovery: it is possible to love truly—this is what she showed me that evening. It is possible to look through Christ’s eyes, to love with His heart. On the path that has led me to the seminary, I have continued to hope that Christ will fill me and those I love, so that we may love with a new and eternal love. Today this is the certainty that nourishes my desire to bring into the world, through my poor eyes, the loving gaze of Christ.