[Province San Vincenzo Italia – Italy] – Here we are in Quercianella! We arrived – kids from the middle school, sisters, educators and youth animators – from four different paths: La Spezia, Pontassieve, Basilicanova and Grosseto. It is our second meeting this year, which is connected to the previous one, focusing on the character of the Good Samaritan, with the title “With Jesus on the road. Love is to relate”.
After the hugs expressing the joy to meet each other, and a tempting snack prepared with care in the meadow among the pine trees and under such a blue sky that it seemed painted, the youths were divided into teams and engaged in various games. These were trials that, through the conquest of some items (pots, stones, earth, brambles and seeds), contributed to organize the vigil that was held before dinner. We wish to share with you the deep meaning of these items that the youths were supposed to find, because they can be a reflection for everyone … The Jubilee logo of Mercy, representing the descent of Jesus into Hell helped us.
Our vigil began precisely with a “descent” towards the sea, holding in our hands a jar with earth where we placed some of the items won in games. The jar represents our lives that we are trying to hold in our hands; there we discover the presence of so many things important for us (the stones), but also the many commitments (brambles), and finally the people most important for us (the seeds). When we arrived at the sea, after a reflection in silence, everyone removed what he or she thought was not important for his/her own life because it makes it heavy or suffocates it … When we went back, we went into the church where we found the first necessary tool for our life: the water of prayer. Moving into the hall, we discovered the second element: the hoe, which represented fasting. Finally we arrived into the dining room, where we found the third element: the bread of charity. They are about the three commitments that mark the path of Lent indicated by Jesus himself! Bread – indeed some beautiful breads – towered at different points of the table set with nothing else… except the bread! Surprise!!! Nobody was able to sit at the table: the chairs were arranged in a way that turned their backs to the table. Father Francesco – the CM priest who guides us – washed our hands, remembering the service gesture of Jesus at the Last Supper. Afterwards we broke and shared the breads. This was intended to help us to enjoy the little that we had, to learn to give thanks, to keep in our minds and hearts the many brothers and sisters who suffer poverty and to be careful not to waste what we have.
These important commitments of Lent- and life – were resumed the following morning, Sunday. We realized that the journey with Jesus on the paths of humankind leads us to go down with him and back, not to remain on the surface but to go down deep, then to climb to the light. In relationship with ourselves we have to learn to look inside and to say “no” (fasting) in order to welcome emptiness without the need to fill up always with sounds, words, things… In our relation with God to descend into relationship with Him means to look at him more closely, through prayer when it becomes dialogue. In our relation with others, to descend means not to stop at appearances and at judgment, but to be in front of the other considering him/her “brother” or “sister”; it is justice in charity; to descend into the other helps us to be more free. To descend is an experience of silence and truth. Silence puts us in front of the truth about ourselves: our limits, errors, fragility, and the truth of God, a God who descends to say how greatly he values humanity: a God who dies to give life. He does it for me but also for every human and this tells me the truth about the other: every person has the same value. The Jubilee logo of Mercy shows Jesus descending into Hell in order to raise Adam. I also feel the invitation repeated to me, “Awake, you who sleep, squeeze my hand and do not be afraid, I am with you”! Gazing at the two faces, the one of Adam and the other one of Jesus – the eye that they share suggests that the Lord leads us, if we allow ourselves to be lead, to see reality and people with a different gaze. The glance of mercy is a look that makes us see from a different perspective, fills the void and lifts up! The celebration of the Eucharist, with the beautiful passage from the Gospel of the forgiven sinner, concluded this brief but intense meeting which was centered on the Mercy of God.
Sr. Elisabetta, Sr. Emilia, Sr. Fiorenza, Sr Gresi
Daughters of Charity