Today we celebrate your first birthday, and we were asking ourselves what we can give you that will last through the years. So we have decided to write you a letter. You have been a tremendous gift to us in our lives because you have helped us to look beyond our human limits. When the doctors wanted to scare us, your life that was so fragile gave us the strength to go forward. For what little I have learned during these years, I can tell you only that love is the center of our lives, because we are born from an act of love, we live for love and to be loved, and we die to know the true love of God. The goal of our life is to love and to be loved, always ready to learn how to love the others as only God can teach you. Love consumes you, but it is beautiful to die consumed, exactly like a candle that goes out only when it has reached its goal. Anything that you do in life will make sense only if you look at it in view of eternal life. If you are truly loving, you will realize this from the fact that nothing belongs to you, because everything is a gift. As St. Francis says, “The opposite of love is possession.”
We loved your brother and sister –Mary and David– and we love you knowing that you all are not ours, that you all were not for us. And this is how it should be for everything in life. Everything that you have never belongs to you, because it is a gift that God gives you so that you can make it bear fruit. Never be discouraged, my son. God never takes anything away. And if He takes away, it is because He wants to give you so much more. Thanks to Mary and David, we are even more in love with eternal life and we have stopped fearing death. God has taken from us only in order to give us a heart that is bigger and more open to welcome eternity already in this life.
In Assisi, I fell in love with the joy of the friars that live believing in God’s providence. So I ask the Lord for the grace to believe in this providence that they spoke of– to believe in this Father that truly does not make you lack anything. Brother Veto helped us on this journey in believing in this promise. We got married without anything, but we put God in first place and believed in the love that he asked us to, taking this big leap; we have never been disappointed. We have always had a house and much more than we have ever needed. Your name is Francesco because St. Francis changed our lives, and we hope that he can be an example also for you. It’s beautiful to have examples of lives that remind you that you can expect the greatest joy already on this earth, with God as our guide. We know that you are special and that you have a great mission. The Lord has wanted you from eternity, and He will show you the road to follow if you open your heart. Trust Him. It is worth the while.
Mom and Dad
About Chiara Corbella
At 28 years of age, Chiara was happily married to Enrico Petrillo. They had already suffered the loss of two children in recent years who died from birth defects. The couple became popular speakers at pro-life events, in which they shared their testimony about the few minutes they were able to spend with their children, David and Maria, before they died.
In 2010, Chiara became pregnant for the third time, and according to doctors the child was developing normally. However, Chiara was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and was advised to begin receiving treatment that would have posed a risk to her pregnancy. Chiara decided to protect the baby – named Francisco – and opted to forgo treatment until after his birth, which took place on May 30, 2011.
Her cancer quickly progressed and eventually she lost sight in one eye. After a year-long battle Chiara died on June 13, surrounded by her loved ones and convinced that she would be reunited with her two children in heaven. “I am going to heaven to take care of Maria and David, you stay here with Dad. I will pray for you,” Chiara said in a letter for Francisco that she wrote one week before her death.