"At Eternity's Gate" by Vincet Van Gogh

Saved from the Abyss

Matteo responds to a concerned mother, sharing the experience of rebirth he and his family have encountered in the Cenacolo community.

Not long ago I happened to read the desperate cry of a mother in an article published in the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera. This mother was hopeless as her son had fallen into drug use, becoming dangerous to himself and his family. After many attempts to cure her son, including a psychological journey and an invitation to enter a recovery center, she unfortunately saw that there was nothing left that could save him. Writing this letter was, according to this mother, the last attempt to reach someone who could help her.

And her letter reached my heart because exactly one year earlier my family and I experienced the same drama due to the fall of our son into the abyss so well described in the letter. Our son was saved by the grace of God and I felt the duty to share with this mother not only our experience but also our closeness. Because when we suffered very hard moments, the fundamental comfort of our friends was never lacking. With them we turned to God with unceasing prayers so that our firstborn could be saved.

In our time of crisis, one of our friends mentioned the existence of a community called Il Cenacolo. We received information on this community, contacted the person in charge, and after a few days our son entered the community. The life of this community is radically free, in fact the front doors are always open even for those who want to go out at any time, but within twelve months our son has truly been reborn. Not only did he survive the evil that had befallen him, but he returned to yearning for a healthy and meaningful life. I told the story of our son to the letter's mother and father over the phone. Both, after listening, surprised me because they were grateful not simply because they knew they could make the attempt to contact the same community also present in Italy, but because they no longer felt alone. They told me that in that moment on the phone they were amazed to find the energy to hope again for the good of their son and to start again by making every possible attempt to recover him from the abyss he had fallen into.

After about a week, this mother contacted me via Whatsapp, saying: “On several occasions I have turned my thoughts to your words, which I assure you, have done a lot, a lot. My son is now in a safe place. A big hug. And here a miracle happened, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers and for everything.'' Reading these lines I discovered that I had been an instrument of God and this brings me great joy. Within all of these exchanges, I decided to write an article as a response to the letter to share our experience with other readers who may have a similar need. When I sent the draft of my article, a journalist contacted me saying: “Your letter is beautiful, and we would like to publish it, but there are some parts of a religious background that I would like you to omit. Can you rewrite it by removing the 'religious part'?''

The religious part the journalist was referring to is the fact that the community where our son is was born from an experience of faith within the Church. An example of something ‘religious’ I had shared in the article was: “True friendship relationships, those aimed at recognizing that only God can satisfy the thirst of the heart, allow us to walk and grow.” When I received this request, I paused and said to myself, “I cannot remove the only part that explains the reason for the miracle of healing of so many kids with this type of difficulty, that is faith” so I replied saying “Excuse me, but I can't remove it, so either publish it as written or nothing”. At that point, the journalist checked with the editorial staff of the newspaper and after a few days she called me saying that the people in charge, after having read it, had considered it very useful and published it as written. They thanked me for the beautiful testimony that can now be offered also to people that have not used substances and yet, like all of us, need to be saved. In this circumstance, as before with our son, God has shown that He wants to save man through man, through anyone who recognizes Him present and affecting the events of our lives.

Matteo, Miami FL

A note that at this year’s New York Encounter, there will be a presentation on The Cenacolo Community. You can find more information on the event here.