There are events in one’s life that can transform a tear into a smile, a tragedy into a teaching that goes beyond the ephemeral time of our existence. When such things happen, they move us. Yet, this should not be that the main feeling. We have to go beyond tears to understand the deep meaning of life, our life, often clinging to useless and ephemeral things, and relativist selfishness. When this happens, it is a most precious gift that cannot be discarded nor overpowered by the indifference of daily life.
That is why John Ignaccolo’s story is worth being considered with more attention and more in-depth; for him, his courage, but especially for us. At the age of seven, four of which he had spent in hospitals, where he had been repeatedly hospitalized and transferred to other structures, Giovanni died. But before the end of the ordeal, the boy asked his parents to fulfill his last wish: “Use my savings to buy equipment for the hospital. The other children will need it.” His illness was not congenital; it entered his life after a very bad fall down the stairs.
An accident that would have made many people spend the rest of their life cursing. John did not, struggling with all his might in the prime of his innocence and candor; what is more, he thought about the others before passing away. “Altruism”, a word which today has lost its meaning; when people think of rights, they mean “their own”, forgetting those of the others. It happens with the family, fertilization, and school; all topics at the center of an international debate whose focal point is the concept of law, good only for those who have the strength to speak. The unborn children – just to make it clear – have no voice and, therefore, no rights.
John’s teaching digs into individual consciences. Too preoccupied with our own problems even to think about those of the others, in one sole and exclusive relationship with life, due to which our troubles are the Everest from where we look down at everything; there is nothing more important, we cannot see the world (and tragedies) and the actual intricacy of things. There is us, our failures and expectation. This is the relativism against which Benedict XVI had warned us years ago; it is mirrored in governments’ decisions and in people’s lives.
Then you happen to learn the story of a 7-year-old boy who was aware of being unfortunate to the point of losing his life and could not focus on himself, think of other human beings. Let us face it: everyone can interpret this concept when things are fine, but we forget it as soon as we stumble. John did not defeat his disease, but in today’s world, his teaching is a little miracle.