Immersed into one's own life as well as into the life of God

I am writing these few lines because I want to tell you about my life at this time, when I am in the second year of my noviciate, a time which gives my search security, clarity and depth. It helps me to be immersed into my own life, as well as into the life and love of God.

I am Rodrigo, 32 years old. I was born and grew up in Liniers, a neighbourhood of the port city of Buenos Aires in Argentina. About 80 years ago, my grandparents disembarked in Buenos Aires, having come from Italy looking for peace and work. My parents, too, grew up in Liniers.RodrigoRodrigo
Up to the age of 23 my life progressed normally. I began work at the age of 16 as a painter's mate in buildings. Aged 20, I opened my own greengrocer's shop which worked well. But at the age of 23, I was shaken by a strong crisis: I realised that I had invested all my life, all my energy in work, family problems, girlfriends, friends and parties. A strong identity crisis caused me to begin asking myself 'Who am I?', convinced that I could not only be who others said I was.

Thus it was that God, who was waiting for me as he waits for us all, hearing the unconscious prayer that I was saying, acted so that we could meet in a more concrete way.
One of my customers, Rogelio, who was also a friend, invited me to go to Mass in a Salesian community of young people. So it was that at the age of 23, I went to my first Mass, on the 21st July 2003, a day on which the 'Day of the Friend' is celebrated in Argentina. On that day my friendship with God was born. It is my greatest friendship, and the love from this friendship sustains and supports me. Now it has brought me here among you.

From 2003 to 2009, my friendship with God deepened. Gradually we got to know each other better. The Lord was revealed to me, and helped me to know people and places. In this dynamic my friendship for the Fraternity was born too, a friendship through which, little by little, my religious vocation was revealed and the wish to live in the Fraternity. The rural fraternity in Uribelarrea, not far from Buenos Aires, played an important role in this.the noviciate in Zapiola, Uribelarreathe noviciate in Zapiola, Uribelarrea Every time I went to visit the brothers in the country, moving from the city to the countryside was important to me and helped me to open up my life. The fact that I was able to see the horizon, to see how the sky meets the earth, helped me to see my own horizon. So I began my postulancy in 2009 and my noviciate in August 2010.
In this noviciate, Daniel is the brother in charge. The novices are Carlos (Paraguayan) and myself in our second year, and Carlo (Italian) who is doing his first year. This noviciate fraternity is in a small village with 600 inhabitants which is called the Immaculate Conception of Zapiola. Rodrigo, Carlos, Carlo and DanielRodrigo, Carlos, Carlo and Daniel
I wanted the contours of daily life to be a little as follows: in addition to the times together in fraternity, I work in the morning in the garden which is doing very well, and in the afternoon, I have some personal time.

I will share with you some reflections from this time of noviciate.
Through various different methods, I have begun to delve more deeply into my being (myself). It is not healthy that I look with mistrust upon my spontaneity, that I don’t want to accept myself, that I accuse myself and I even do that with my brothers.
It is an intense time of personal work, where, little by little, my limitations come to the fore. It is a time of learning:
- learning to accept people, circumstances, life just as they come;
- learning to work in the garden, ensuring that this work is integrated in the life of the noviciate, as I had planned;
- learning to live as four people together, with the daily task of putting up with myself and putting up with others, and abandoning myself to Jesus;
- learning to live alone, in my room, during times of retreat/solitude.

And it is a good time with my family. God teaches me about the relationships to have with each member of my family. He helps me. There is the company of Jesus in solitude and in community, the unconditional Presence of Jesus. There are good relations with our brothers Pablo, Guillermo and Domingo who accompany me and are considerate of the journey I am making with Daniel. There is transparency with Daniel, Carlos and Carlo, those with whom I live most closely, who help me to see that fraternal life is a task for every day and an effort (and at times one sees this more clearly) to renounce selfishness and making room for charity, for Jesus amongst us, in confidence that Jesus is going to show me how to be a brother.
In my relations with brothers I'm with myself, I renew myself, I rediscover myself with my limitations and my virtues. I feel focused, accompanied, loved.
In my relationships with women, when there are sudden changes (like when going from the solitude of the country to the town), I realise that sensations and unordered, displaced thoughts take me by surprise until the moment when I re-establish contact with the totality of my being.
I discover, appreciate, and learn to know better what I carry within me, and I have the joy of knowing that there is a space in my being, secret and mysterious, which is reserved for me and for God.

I am grateful for my relationship with God the Father who loves me, cares for me and who has confidence in me and who gives himself to me in Jesus and in the Holy Spirit.
I want to continue to make the most of this time, to take advantage of the conditions which help me go forward in knowledge of myself, and to deepen my life. These include silent prayer, meditation on the Word, our daily routine, retreats in the desert, work in the garden, opening up to my family, sharing with my brothers and sisters who are close at hand, and with those who pass through as visitors, or those whom I go visit to increase my knowledge of the charism and the way in which each brother embodies it. Pampas, where the sky meets the earthPampas, where the sky meets the earthI want to live through this time rejoicing in the goodwill of God who reveals himself to me each day like a 'Dad', offering me Jesus as the way and giving me in the Holy Spirit the strength I need for each day. I know that in this dynamic I can abandon myself in full confidence.

For several years, since I first stepped into the church, God has caused me to participate in this body and has invited me to do so more and more. In 2005, I made my confirmation of faith, my ‘YES’ to the Christian vocation, and now I want to prepare myself, together with the Fraternity, to offer my life to God by means of Gospel resolutions, as well as to our brothers and sisters, especially the poorest.
Thank you for being there.