We are all shocked by the images of the bombardments in Ukraine. We are all devastated to know that today, just on the other side of the ocean, there are parents who are losing their children and children who are seeing their parents being killed.
I am Italian and therefore European. As I was reading the news the other day, I asked myself how it is possible that we are going through this again. The twentieth century has been one the bloodiest centuries in the history of Europe. Was this not enough? Where does man find the strength to again propose the same theater of hatred?
As I was reflecting on this, I found myself scandalized and tempted to judge and to feel superior to those responsible for the outbreak of this war. Then I stopped and I tried to enter deeper into myself and, as always, the Scripture came to show me the truth and to shed light over my heart, or more exactly, the human heart. About the heart, the word of God says that “it is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) In the Book of Genesis we read, “Every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.” (Genesis 8:21) In the New Testament, Jesus says that “it is from within, out of a person’s heart that come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, [and] murder.” (Mark 7:21) Divine Revelation, as we see, “reveals” something that we might not accept, but it is absolutely the truth: our nature is wounded; our heart is naturally inclined to do evil.
To picture this reality, I propose to you the example of the steering wheel of a car which is not well aligned. The car will pull to one side. You can try to “correct” the direction, holding the steering wheel with your hands, but as soon as you release the steering wheel, the car will drift back to the “crooked” direction. This is the heart of man. St. Paul describes this situation saying: “I do not understand my own behavior, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the evil that I do not want to do,” and he concludes by saying, “it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” (Romans 7:17)
We can try to “correct” the human heart, by calling on the principles of coherence, honesty, and respect…by inviting people ‘to be good,” “to behave,” etc., but it is almost useless. It is like holding the steering wheel of a car that needs an alignment; you release the steering wheel and the car will pull to the wrong direction again. By now it has become its “natural – inclined direction.” Now, the steering wheel “naturally” pulls to one side instead of going straight.
This is what happens to all of us, at least to myself. I don’t want to judge; I know it is evil, but many times I do it. I don’t want to complain; I know it is evil, but many times I do it. I want to forgive; I know it is the truth, but many times I can’t. I see that I “naturally” do evil many times. Someone can correct me as many times as possible, but I constantly fall.
“Correction” is not enough, an alignment, a new nature…in one word, SALVATION, is needed!
The war in my heart, as the war in Ukraine, will stop only through the announcement of the gospel, “Mary you will give birth to a child!” (Luke 1:26).
If God touches me, a new nature, a new child will be born in me; a nature able to love my enemy! The nature of Christ will be dwelling in me and there will no longer be war!
My name is Andrea Povero. I was born in a town called Ivrea, close to Turin, Italy.
I am almost 35 years old and I am the last one of 4 children.
When I decided to enter the seminary, I chose to enter into a “missionary seminary.” I went to a retreat close to Rome and there, together with 300 young men, I put my name into a basket. In another basket were the names of the all the missionary seminaries around the world. When my name was pulled from one basket, it was matched with the name “Boston” from the other basket.
I was sent to Boston in November 2007. I became a priest by the grace of God on May 19, 2018.
For the past three years I have been the Parochial Vicar of three parishes: St. Thomas Aquinas and Our Lady of Lourdes in Jamaica Plain and Saint Mary of the Angels in Roxbury.