MEDITATION OF THE DAY
The Extraordinary Healing Christ Makes Possible
I am almost eighty years old, and near the end of my days. Looking back on the past, I recognize that, in my early youth, I went down a false path: the way of evil, which led me to ruin. I saw the world through the news, entertainment, and bad examples that most young people follow without giving them a thought: I didn’t think about it either. There were people of religious faith and practice near me, but I didn’t pay them any heed, blinded by a brute force that impelled me down a bad road.
At the age of twenty, I committed a crime of passion, the mere memory of which horrifies me today. Maria Goretti, now a saint, was the good angel that providence placed ahead of my steps to save me. I still bear, engraved upon my heart, her words of reproach and forgiveness. She prayed for me; she interceded for her murderer. Thirty years of prison followed. Had I not been under-aged, I would have been condemned for life. I accepted the sentence I had earned, with resignation: I understood that I was guilty.
Little Maria was truly my light, my protector; with her help, I behaved well during those twenty-seven years of prison, and I sought to live honestly when society accepted me again among its members. The sons of Saint Francis, the Capuchins Minor of Marche, welcomed me among them with seraphic charity, not as a servant, but as a brother. I have been living with them for twenty-four years. And now, with serenity, I await the moment of being admitted to the vision of God, of embracing my loved ones again, of being near my protecting angel and her dear mother, Assunta.
May those who will read this letter of mine learn the happy lesson of fleeing from evil and always following what is good, right from their childhood. Think of religion, with its precepts, not as something you can do without; rather, it is true consolation, the only safe path in all circumstances—even the most sorrowful ones in our lives. Peace and goodness to you!
This “spiritual testament” of Alessandro Serenelli, who took the life of Saint Maria Goretti, was found in a sealed envelope when he died. [From Madre di Dio, Mensile Mariano (November 2002). Tr. Matthew Green for https://aleteia.org. All rights reserved. ]