When I was young and asked what I wanted to become when I grow up, I replied a friar (I confess, at times I replied back forensic scientist, but not that often). It was a simple and innocent answer, given back then but it made sense. That answer led me till this very day, living a life of discernment, prayer, service and love. It is not an easy life for those thinking that being a religious student or a seminarian is. There are certain tough challenges that have to be faced in order to continue the journey. One has to find that important balance in order to live this great experience to the full. Answering to this call is not an easy task, because it is God’s call.
Listening to this call for me it was not easy, but as time went by, through discernment I came more aware of what this call can offer to me and it was a lot. I never thought that answering to this call will result in losing my family and friends, because I knew that somehow it will be the opposite – a strong bond will flourish. Some asked me the cliché question: “Are you mad bro? Why you’re choosing to be a friar? You can do much better”, I just reply “I did not choose to be a friar but it is God that gave me this particular mission and opportunity in my life, through which I can help, love and cherish everyone I meet because of it.”
One may imagine that religious students are those ‘weird’ guys who are closed in a convent praying, studying theology and biblical languages and nothing else. Things changed as time passed and evolved. Apart of learning certain subjects through academic work, we try to act with our testimony in everyday life. As a religious student I learnt that each and every day is a gift which has to be appreciated, but also cherished with all those surrounding me.
Appreciating every single thing, small or big, gave me a new vision to life. Last year I started the first part of my religious formation which is the pre-novitiate, during which I started to live in the formation house as a religious student. My first year was filled with many nice experiences, one of which was a voluntary experience with patients fighting cancer. It was something new to me, but I must say I loved every single minute of it, because looking at each and every individual, his sufferings and needs, were nothing in comparison to the difficulties I had. Through my small actions I tried to give them hope, love and some energy in order to continue their fight. Few weeks ago I started my second year of pre-novitiate, undergoing a small change of location. From Malta I had to move to Palermo and alongside with two Italian pre-novices, spend this second year here. Change at first discouraged me, a little bit, but it is an amazing experience here.
I don’t know what will the future bring, but with the help of God, I will try my best. May every person aims to be of service to others and experience the beauty of such life. Look at LIFE with the eyes of HOPE. Look at PEOPLE with the eyes of LOVE. Look at YOURSELF with the eyes of HUMILITY.