Youth: May the fires of war become just a vague memory

«In the name of the all Clement and Merciful God: may suffering be forgotten, may happiness and peace reign in the 4 corners of the world, may the hearts of all men be linked , may love burn in their hearts and may unity gather them together in a single track of light. God, make the fires of war become just a vague memory. God, in your infinite clemency and mercy, help us to be more patient, and make us instruments of love and peace. Glory to God, there is no power nor strength except in Him». This is from Naim, a Muslim of Algeria.

It was exactly a year ago when, precisely during one of their meetings, the need to reinforce prayer came out, in the face of the imminent conflict in Syria, and so the Time Out for peace was launched. And today too their yes is repeated, to become instruments of peace in their environments, from Central Africa to Lebanon and Algeri, from Salvador to Argentina, among their nations of origin.

Experiences are shared, in the 4 days in Rome from December 19 to 22, like that of a young Buddhist who, after his meeting with the gen felt the push to go deeper into knowing his religion. He decides to spend one year in a monastery, making the same experience of the monks. Or like that of those who are asking themselves about their choices for the future, the courage to start a family, their entrance into the world of work. But the strongest witness comes from the Middle East – with representatives from Lebanon and Algeria – who underline the hope that never dies, even if the horizons of heaven remain closed.

And for everyone, among whom are many from the various European nation, Maria Voce invites them to go out. She talks with strength to the young people present: «The gen are in the universities? Are they there where the other young people are? Or are they always among themselves? Are they doing something for the others? The Pope continues to tell us to go out, to go out of the sacristies, to go out of the fences, not to lean on securities, not to say “we have always done things in this way, so we go ahead like this”».

What shall we do? Maria Voce reiterates: «Risk something, have the courage to open yourselves up to something new, have the courage to do something daring, even extreme, to try out new roads, to build new relationships with humanity». And, opening yourselves up, to bring that which could be the characteristic gift, the joy of being followers of Jesus, fruit of his presence, where two or more are united in his name. The motto of the congress of the youth is in fact, “From this they will know…”, a passage from the Gospel that continues: If you have love for one another. [Jn. 13.35]. «We want to give all our strength to build fraternity together with everyone» – one impression on the spot of the youth.

A small fact. «A car collided with mine exactly in the same spot where sometime ago I had already experienced the same thing – Francesco relates. I could have made a ‘cunning move’ not to say anything and just ask for the person to pay for the damage, but instead I went down from the car, I reassured the awkward elderly man who collided with my car, and I told him the truth. Was I stupid to act in this way? Maybe, but instead I felt the joy of having acted correctly and with mercy».

«I was very impressed by the sincerity with which Maria Voce spoke to us, truly with an open heart – Tomaso, Italian, explained. We left with “our blood boiling in our veins” – he concluded – just as Chiara said in a video to the gen in the’70s. We are more decisive than ever in bringing to everyone the fire of the Gospel lived, “the greatest revolution”, that which will never pass away».

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