It's a stressful business, living in a foreign place and with only the beginnings of the language. So it reminds me that it's a very good thing to stay grateful for the little successes one has along the way. Here are two for which I am grateful today:
First, I had my first successful communication with an Italian-speaking tourist. Not that I gave him any useful information, but I understood what he asked me and he accepted my response. On my way home from school the man stopped me and asked where he and his wife could find a good restaurant. I said that I didn't know, because I always eat in the friary. I'm sure he found a place without much trouble, so I don't feel bad.
Second, I gave my first homily in Italian, but not really. I did not anticipate being principal celebrant at the conventual Mass this morning. I expected that if it had to be a foreigner, it would be my fellow Italian student (who is more advanced than me) from the Krakow province. However, he turned out not to be very recollected this morning, I expect because the Poland-Russia soccer game last night. So, finding myself unprepared and not able to speak the language anyway, but having before me an assembly of friars having a right to a homily on a feast day, I tried to use the same shtick I used back when this happened on a Sunday in the parish.
I tried to say something like, 'Forgive me, brothers, but I don't have a homily for you. But St. Anthony, in the sermon in the Office of Readings today, says, may the tongues of fire be lit in us for the profession of the faith, so that, burning and illuminated among the splendor the saints, we might merit to see the God who is one and three. Amen."