If they asked me when I turned to God for the first time, I would know how to answer you. I was four, I was in kindergarten and I will never forget that little statue of Saint Anthony with the Child in the garden of the nursery school. It was in a sort of cave in the center of a fountain. I remember that my mother had given me liquorice sugared almonds, one was for my friend Paolo, one for Nicola and one for me. I had thrown mine in the fountain by asking that child Jesus that the teacher that day let us go out to play in the courtyard. After an hour I was back in that courtyard, on the swing. I had been heard. Saint Anthony has definitely marked my life, I subsequently turned to him for decidedly more serious reasons and always, always, even if I was not fulfilled, I felt accompanied. Why do we turn to the Saints? Because they have been men and they can understand us. The Saints basically summarize the Virtues of Divine Grace but show them to us in simple, immediate, clear language. In popular culture they mix with ancient pagan gods, often forgotten. Some say that this phenomenon, called syncretism, was born purely to hide, it is not exactly like this: pagan deities were simply ways to represent the divine, manifestations of the Unique God and the Saints, so “closer” to us at the bottom they report the same values and the same teachings.
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