Her name is Anita.
A beautiful eighteen year old girl.
She had a boyfriend, a job, a good family.
She was happy with life.
The sun shone brightly in her life.
Until she went for a skiing holiday on the Alps in Italy.
She slipped, broke her leg, found herself in hospital, plaster on her leg…
complications started arising.
So much so, that the doctors had no other way out
but to have her leg amputated.
An immense trauma for an eighteen year old girl.
Her whole life was still ahead of her.
What will happen now?
Everything had to be re-dimensioned
I met her over a year after all this had happened.
She was still in hospital, in Rome,
because they were trying to put together a synthetic leg.
A nurse just told me: “Go and visit Sorriso!”
-sorriso is an Italian word which means smile-
I went and I was stunned.
Stunned at her joy!
She was smiling, laughing, cracking joked.
No hint of self pity.
I just could not understand this pure unadulterated joy.
‘How is this possible?’ I kept saying to myself.
Finally I asked her…
“Excuse me. How can you be so happy?!”
I still remember her precise words…
“Look, Pius, my name was Anita.
It was the nurses in this hospital that changed my name to Sorriso – Smile,
because they said I always wear a smile.
Why do I smile?
I don’t know!
All I know is that
God loves me very much.
God is my Father
He knows what He is doing with my life.
In life, Father Pius, it is not important how many legs you have.
What is important in life is that you feel loved.
And I know that there is Someone who loves me”,
she concluded as she pointed to an icon of Jesus which she had in front of her.
I was dumb founded.
And tears started filling my eyes.
But as I walked out of the hospital,
I remember saying to myself that
if being a Christian means something, it means precisely this.
Not a lot of exertion and sweat.
Not attending many rituals and long liturgies.
Neither obeying laws and precepts to their smallest details.
But it means living a resurrected life.
After all the fact that Jesus Christ rose from death two thousand years ago
would not mean anything today
unless there is someone among us who rises from his death.
Resurrected life means living in freedom,
letting the music of Beauty entering your heart,
seeing the darkness of sin dispelled from your life,
joining the saints.
It is possible to rise and start smiling.
It is possible to come out of the tomb of grumbling.
It is possible to dance.
Even with one leg.
What a beautiful adventure the Christian life is!
“Judith broke into this song:
Break into song for my God, to the tambourine.
For the Lord is a God who breaks battle-lines;
He has pitched his camp in the middle of his people,
to deliver me from the hands of my oppressors.
I shall sing a new song to my God.
Lord you are great, you are glorious,
A little thing indeed is a sweetly smelling sacrifice,
Still less the fat burned for you in burnt offering,
But whoever fears the Lord is great for ever.”
( Judith 16, 1-2. 13. 16 )
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.