The lodging at Labico

 

 

 

During the first week of July 1990 God provided a lodging for me and my brother in a wonderful and unexpected way. Here is the story.

In those days I and my brother would sleep rough (by the roadside or upon the park benches). Once or twice we had slept inside a railway station. We had been going on like that for about 10 days. One day, during the last week of the month of June, very early in the morning, while we were in a little park at Civitavecchia we had prayed to God that He might give us a bed and a roof, because we just couldn’t cope anymore! However, God had not yet answered our prayer.

We had visited a few Churches, but our brothers, even though they knew our condition, did not do anything in order to provide a lodging for us (we were ready to sleep even in a cellar, in a tent and in a caravan, etc. ), and their behaviour made us suffer very much. We were in Rome, precisely in Piazza Esedra (which is a square near the railway station called Termini), the sun was going down, some young people who were drug addicts came up to us and asked us for some money. One of them, named Enzo, asked me for some money he needed to buy a railway ticket; I told him that I did not want to give him the money, yet I was willing to buy him the railway ticket he needed.

I began to speak to him about the Lord; while I was speaking to him he sometimes closed his eyes, he lowered his head, he had just taken drugs and he was under the influence of them! He moved me to pity. At a certain point we sat down; I asked him if he could point out to us a park, and his answer was: ‘Villa Borghese’. Then he asked me; ‘Where do you sleep?’ I answered him: ‘We sleep rough. Last night we slept upon a marble bench here at Piazza Cinquecento (a square which is very near to Piazza Esedra). When he heard those words, he said to us: ‘Come with me to Labico, I have a little apartment which belongs to my grandmother, it is empty at the moment!’ Thinking that he was lying, I said to him: ‘Don’t worry about it. And then where is Labico?’ He said that we needed to catch the train for Cassino. On hearing that we had to leave Rome, I said to him that we had no intention of leaving Rome. Yet he insisted: ‘You are good guys and you must not sleep rough, some delinquents may come to you and rob you of something, etc; come with me!’ I said again to him: ‘No, thanks’, but Enzo, moved by a stronger force, grabbed my travelling bag which was between my legs and placed it on his shoulders and said to us: ‘Follow me!’ However, we thought that once we arrived at his town, we would have to go back to Rome. Instead, when we arrived at Labico, that drug addict led us to the little apartment which belonged to his grandmother, where he allowed us to stay for about one month without asking us for any money. He had kept his promise. That night he said to us also the following words: ‘To me hospitality is sacred!’.

A detail: that night, when we arrived at the house of his parents where he was living, his mother (when she opened the door) thinking that we were drug addicts like her son, began to shout and so we decided to return to Rome immediately, but as soon as her son told her that we were two ‘evangelists’ who spoke about God, she came out and she apologized to us and she invited us in and she even gave us some food to eat. Afterward, Enzo took us to that apartment and on the way he went to a bar to take some fresh drinks and some ice-creams for us!!!

Another detail: that night there was a big sadness all over Italy for the Italian soccer team lost the semi-final game of the World Championship (against the Argentina team). Therefore, in those moments so sad to the children of this age, I and my brother were so full of joy for the victory God had given to us. A meaningful coincidence I will never forget, also because when I and my brother slept at Civitavecchia (on some benches of a little park) and the Italian soccer team was winning the matches, the Italian supporters would come near the little park in which we slept and with their cars they would make such a noise that it was impossible for us to sleep.

To God be the glory now and forever. Amen

 

Giacinto Butindaro

 

 

 

 

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