One of the things that most strengthens me in life is faith in God. It was my mother who introduced me to religion. Every Sunday, she took me to Mass when I was a child. After the birth of my brothers, my mother did not continue with the Sunday ritual, because she had no one to leave her children with as there was no money to pay for a nanny. Even without her, I kept going to Mass and I was about eight years old. It was a long walk as our church was not close to home.
This religious habit solidified into my faith, which was strengthened even more with the passage of time. Especially during periods of great difficulty, which I have overcome only because God helped me out. I knew that in several situations where He was with me, by my side. That’s what I felt when I was held in captivity and kidnapped in 1989. There was a divine intervention. The episode did not increase or decrease my faith, but it did reinforce it a great deal.
Faith or spirituality? This is a personal matter. Belief manifests differently for each individual. There is a kind of affinity that leads people to choose a particular ritual and to come into contact with what exists beyond the material realm. I, for example, am a devotee of St. Rita of Cassia and of Our Lady of Fatima. Every year I visit the churches of Cassia in Italy and of Fatima in Portugal as well as continuing to attend Mass on Sundays which does me very well.
I usually talk to God. But I follow a ritual. Before making any request, I always ask myself, “Is it fair to be asking what I’m asking for?” “Have I done my part yet?” Only then will I continue with my prayers. I ask Him to give health, to protect me and my family. In business, I ask God to light my way. The rest is on me.
There are several ways to develop faith. The most common way is through persistence and constancy. Another well-known form, meditation, for example, also stimulates and exercises spirituality. There are innumerable tools – beliefs, rituals, attitudes – that get you closer to God. There is no wrong or right way. They all lead to God. That’s what matters.