It was a special Saturday for the large Focolare family in the Dominican Republic. Seven-hundred people met in the Church’s Casa San Paolo, a small country with a dozen provinces, two-hundred by three-hundred kilometers, but rich in local beauty and “campanalism” with both its positive and negative implications.
This was brought out during the meeting between Maria Voce and Giancarlo Faletti with 150 young people who are close to the Movement in the Dominican Republic. Priscilla, for example, shared how she had moved from her province, Santiago Rodriguez, which is rural and famous for its large banana cultivations, nearer to the capital, in order to study psychology. The adjustment to the new environment, the people, and the way of living wasn’t easy. But being close to the youths of the Focolare helped her to insert herself into her new surroundings, and even to become a leader among her friends.
The young audience sat in silence. It seemed strange, given the exuberant vitality of Dominican youths, who are also capable of great depth and generosity. The questions showed their desire to be radical. And so Maria Voce insisted on speaking about “vocation” and aspiring for great things: «At your age there is a love for taking risks, the spirit of adventure, doing something different. It’s precisely at your age that you have the grace to do something crazy! You can have a lunacy for God, following his call, even if you aren’t sure of it. It’s worth it. » Giancarlo Faletti underscored how «It is in the nature of young people to search, in school they do research, they search for work, sport, love, involvement. It is in these things that each person’s potential is brought into evidence, and also the capacity to listen. Not only to listen to exterior voices, but above all, to the interior voice that asks me why I’m doing what I do. I can’t hide myself in front of so many things, in front of such a busy life: I must listen to the voice that asks me where my life is going. »
The influence of egotistical urges and a lack of clarity also emerged during this meeting, the noise of the city, of temptation and sin: «Our amplifier,» Maria Voce replied, «is the presence of Jesus in our midst, who makes his voice heard, and he makes it heard loudly, even more loudly than all the other noises.» Chiara Luce Badano, the young woman of the Movement who was recently beatified, is an example for their lives, who helps them to face their difficulties even when, what is accepted as normal becomes a cause of judgement against them because of their involvement in a Christian lifestyle that goes against the current. «Well, is it more important to be concerned that your companion is happy with you, or whether God is?» asked Maria Voce. Then «But these young people should be able to feel the joy that there is among you.» It’s not a matter of becoming isolated, but of advancing the beauty of life “with Jesus” in order to share with others the beauty of doing this “together”.
One young woman named Marguerita commented on what Maria Voce said: «When Maria Voce spoke to us of Jesus who cried out his abandonment on the cross, I realized that it’s not only suffering, living it doesn’t doesn’t leave us with our suffering, but it brings us the joy of living with Him and for Him.»Pablo from Santo Domingo underscored that «the simple joy that I experienced today is like a virus that I have to spread to my friends.» «You’re generous, » Maria Voce concluded, «you’ve shown me that you are. And so you’re capable of great things. Let’s carry on without any fear to give even more. »
By Michele Zanzucchi