The wish to become a priest sprouted within me when I was still very young. It was a very interesting process and it is only now that I can realise what God’s plan for me was. As it happened, I met the spirituality of communion as lived through the Focolare Movement through one of my friends. Life amongst the youth and the Focolare Movement community attracted me towards the Church and more so to participate in the Sacraments. I discovered how important unity within the church is and I wished to work hard towards this aim and to extend this to have a more united world.
I clearly remember myself sorting out my room before I go out and feeling that I could give away everything to God, giving up all my plans and projects just to follow Him. I felt that this was the nicest gesture that I could ever do with my life, even though I had a very promising career in front of me, not to mention the wish to start and maintain a wonderfully strong relationship.
I shared this experience with my spiritual director, who in turn encouraged me to attend the school of formation in Rome to make sure I could understand my feelings better. I accepted the offer and just a month later I was in Rome together with other young people from all over the world. This was a wonderful time which I hoped would never be over. Deep within me I did feel a yearning for a vocation but I had not yet discovered what this was. So, every evening, I used to go in front of the Holy Tabernacle praying and asking God to show me the way. Despite my continuous prayers, I still had not yet understood what my yearning was for. I recall my last visit to this chapel where I remember myself telling God: I trust You, and I will do as You tell me because You know me much better than I know myself.
The following morning, I was at the airport and I spent a whole day trying to find and book a seat on the plane back home to Malta. Although I could have very well remained stranded without any capital to use for a hotel, I could feel I was very happy and at peace with myself. The following morning, I kept on trying to find a possible empty slot and at one point I just found a little quiet corner and said the Rosary. It was then that without any prior warning I felt Our Lady invite me to follow her son’s footsteps. I immediately accepted and instantly found an empty slot on the plane back to Malta. I had been under the impression that all passengers were all flesh and blood like my other human brothers.
This was Good Friday and I had arrived home at about two; it was the time when I was wavering between attending the Good Friday service. I overcame the temptation to stay at home to rest and instead opted to attend the service to enkindle the grace within me, knowing very well that the kissing of the cross was essential to me.
After having shared this experience with my spiritual director, it seemed like a new adventure had just unfolded in front of me. I left for my formation as a Focolarino in Loppiano, Florence as soon as I finished my studies at the University of Malta. After two years studying there, I was requested to go to Asia and I ended up spending 18 years there. I spent these past 14 years in the Centre for the Movement of the Focolare and I am now preparing myself to be ordained as a priest.
Andrew Camilleri – [email protected]