A native and current resident of Florence, Italy, Edoardo Mazzantini is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Florence. His primary research interests are bioethics and organized crime. Dr. Mazzantini earned his J.D. in 2012 and his Ph.D. in Criminal Law in 2018, both at the University of Florence. Dr. Mazzantini is a licensed and attorney in private practice, having been admitted to the Italian bar in 2016. Edoardo married his wife Margherita in 2015.
Good evening, everyone. My name is Edoardo Mazzantini. I am a practicing attorney and postdoctoral fellow in Florence.
At a time in my life, while I was completing my law degree, I felt lost and I did not know ‘where to go.’ Though I was raised Catholic and had received the Sacraments, I was far from the Church and I really didn’t think that Jesus could help me re-emerge from that situation. Then, though I couldn’t realize it at the beginning — the Lord called me, using the person I trusted the most: Margherita, my girlfriend at that time and now my wife.
As I came to know her, I began looking at her family and witnessing the experience of Faith that they shared with others. I was so attracted by the true happiness that these people shared with each other. I could see that their communion wasn’t about running from the ‘real world’: on the contrary, it was about looking at all the circumstances in life in a true and enlivening way.
That way captured my heart: I wanted so badly to live with that openness! At the same time, however, I had a tremendous fear of making mistakes, of being inadequate, of failing.
Now I know that God, who has known me since before I was born, saw this: He saw that, though I was surrounded by witnesses of a beautiful, true, and just life and in spite of my fervent desire to live that kind of life, I was determined by fear. I saw my human limit as a condemnation.
So it happened that I started reading some books on the lives of the Saints — and I was struck by their stories — St. Francis of Assisi and St. Augustine in particular.
It literally broke my life patterns to realize that they too — even them! — that they had convinced themselves into believing that they were ‘free’ and ‘masters of their destiny’, until they finally realized that the Lord was waiting for them, patiently, at every moment.
And He was waiting for them despite their stubbornness, their pride, their false wisdom (especially Augustine!)... in spite of everything! God loved every part of them, and He really wanted them, their human limit and their sin,so that they could give witness to a holy life—a full and happy life!
So I started to perceive in the Christians I had met the awareness that everyone of us is loved despite what he or she is and despite how he or she sees himself or herself. That is the experience of the Love that forgives you, comforts you, revives you, gets you back up. Always! In every moment! And I realized that the happiness I saw in those people was generated by the experience of this gratuitous, measureless Love.
Meanwhile, life had gone on, and new challenges came up. And the more important the challenges became, the more the sense of inadequacy grew again. But now I knew that with the company of Christ I could face these new challenges not being afraid of my human limit. For this very reason, Margherita and I decided to get married without waiting to first have ‘settled’ everything in our lives, but wishing to help us to face together the challenges that come. We received major help in taking this decision from all the friends we were surrounded by and, especially, from our priest, Severino, who has always encouraged us to pursue holiness in the greatest things in life, as well as in the smallest ones, without ever being scared by evil. That is, because evil has no power over the Love that binds us together.
And for the same reason, since I was at the end of my graduate studies, I said to myself, “ok, I have to write my thesis: I have studied for two years but I don’t know where to start.” Panic! “Yet, if Christ really wants to stay with me and walk by my side; if He is ready to help me carry my cross — my small cross — then I must do nothing but respond to that always-present Love and say ‘yes’ in daily life.”
So, it was for my own convenience that I said ‘yes’ to that call, and as I went on writing my thesis, I felt that I was becoming more patient and passionate about my work. However, people who saw me working were surprised at my patience and passion, so they started to ask me what was the reason behind my serenity, my happiness. And I realized then that the call of the Lord was about giving glory to Him and to His Love.
Just a few months ago, I received my PhD. But then, something unexpected happened: this tension of trust in the face of human weakness was released ‘in a flash!’
At the beginning, it was a relief to me. Yet, very shortly I realized that, without that tension, which had constantly reminded me to ‘say yes’, my life was no more as full and free as it used to be. Therefore, I began to look even more at the Church and its witnesses — like our Pope — with the desire to learn to live with this ‘good tension’ even in the most ordinary and daily circumstances.
In the end, I am grateful for the opportunity to share with all of you, at the beginning of this Synod, my belief that every day, every moment, in all circumstances, that measureless Love is the law that holds the world together and makes my heart happy.