Interview with sight-impaired Salesian, Cl. Matteo Rupil
Crocetta, Turin, Italy, 29 June 2019 -- (Photos from the 37th Salesian Family Spirituality Days (Valdocco - Turin) 14 January 2019 - Cl. Matteo at centre stage on the left side of the Rector Major during the Good Night Talk to the hundreds of SF members coming from all five continents). His special vocation story might be an inspiration for many who face similar difficulties in their life situation. The Delegation of Cambodia recently faced a similar dilemma in vocation discernment. Matteo was already accepted into the pre-novitiate with his eyesight challenge. He is now a 2nd year theology student at Crocetta, Turin - Italy. This shortened version of his own sharing is a powerful invitation to contemplate our life from a 'different point of view':
"During these years, looking into the darkness and beyond the darkness of my lost eyesight, I saw with my inner eyes that the Light does really exist and can win over any dark night, against any kind of blindness.
I have seen, and I confess with jealousy, that eyesight is a marvellous and priceless gift, to contemplate the sunset or look into the eyes of a person who loves you, this is a really great gift. And then I swear, that is better to wash your hair with shampoo than with the sun-cream, which happened to me by mistake last summer when I grabbed the wrong stuff.
I have seen that I can live and see the world only if I choose to trust and entrust myself to others, asking them for the gift to let myself be guided by touching their shoulders, to discover the truth about God, about the world and other people and about myself. Thanks to their shining eyes I can recognize that all is a gift and that without trusting others, I would not be able to live and would remain really lonely and blind.
I have seen that the strongest desire moving my heart is not to see, but to be seen, to be recognized, to be dreamt of and loved by others. Indeed, the strongest worry, I would say even strongest fear, that hurts my soul is not being able to see the darkness, but to be transparent, forgotten, abandoned, left behind alone, in one word – not be seen!
I have seen, that some of those who look at me, are hurting me, scratching my soul, because in reality they don’t’ see me, they are just looks of curiosity, of judgement or looks of indifference, talking about compassion or rejection, looks that don’t see Matteo, but see only my blind eyes.
I have seen, that the look of God’s Love does really exist, it’s rare and can be received only as a gift. It’s the eyesight of a mother’s look, that are loving you as you are, without pretending tyou are somebody different or better. It’s like the eyesight of father’s look, who see a hidden beauty in me and takes me by my hand… It’s like the eyesight of young people, who take me every day by hand and teach me how to overcome the difficulties. It’s like the eyesight of my Salesians who helped me to discover that I can become a gift for others, invite me to become an animator. It’s the outlook of God who dreamt about me beyond any of my own desires and gave me the gift to become a Salesian. Yes, Love does not see wrong, does make mistakes and Love does save!
I have seen that when I’m not too much worried about looking at myself and crying over my difficulties, that I’m able to see around me thousands and thousands of eyes that are waiting for me, that don’t’ expect me to be perfect, that expect from me an outlook full of love and to tell them of the beauty of God’s outlook on us…
I have seen with my eyes... With my own eyes I have seen that they are indeed my own eyes, that I would not like to exchange them, not because they are beautiful, but that without these eyes I would be simply not myself, I would be not Matteo! I would not exchange these eyes of mine because this is not God's joke nor does it happen by accident. I would never exchange these blind eyes of mine because precisely through these eyes God is crucifying and blessing me every day, thanks to these eyes God makes me discover what really matters. Through these eyes God makes me also discover that we can live only trusting and that the most beautiful word is ‘Thank You’ and thanks to these eyes God helps me to discover the only real joy – to be seen by His sight of Love.