It is Easter, when Christ breaks the chains of death and rises triumphant from the grave (cf. Exultet). It is the Passover of the Lord; it is the ultimate truth of creation. The Risen One has the power to shed light on the contradictions and woes within us and to overcome the great abysses that cut through our history today.
Indeed, the world seems to keep giving space to situations inspired by evil; situations whose impact strikes first and hardest at the weakest people: the subjugated peoples, the people whose nations are pushed into war by the ambitions of some powerful invader, the people who are forced into emigration and exile, the people who suffer from the proliferation of ethnic and civil wars, often fomented by arms dealers, the people affected by corrupt leadership, the people whose countries are economically and culturally dominated by others, the children deprived of their future, the people whom others regard as “useless,” the defenseless who are slaughtered without mercy, and so on.
It should come as no surprise that evil is part of the great mystery of life and part of the human heart. However, Mary Immaculate, the new Eve, crushed the vile head of the Evil One; and Jesus the Christ, defeated him forever. The risen Lord has closed the gates of the abyss and has opened the doors to the New Jerusalem. He is the new Man communicating his new humanity to us.
Let us then ask ourselves how we can respond to such grace. In fact, letting ourselves be inhabited by the newness of the Risen One does not prevent us from asking ourselves questions, rather, it encourages us to ask them and to choose the most Franciscan “situations” or “positions” possible.
In concrete terms, I affirm and re-propose the attitudes and options that I already see present in our Order, namely: accepting, from the depths of our heart, the Messianic Peace, the Peace offered by the Risen One; making our communities shining places of justice and peace; praying from the depths of our heart with sincere belief; letting ourselves overflow with generosity, giving freely of ourselves, anointed by the mercy of the Father; choosing to be a place of prophetic vision, an alternative to violence of any kind; making our communities and missions places where the Gospel lives; identifying ourselves with the defeated, the displaced, those who thirst for justice and peace and taking their side.
In difficult times, it is not a question of saving ourselves, but of offering ourselves to the Savior, of bearing witness to him through the transparency of our lives and actions. To paraphrase a certain philosopher, I propose that we always ask ourselves: “How can we be poets in miserable times?”
I offer my heartfelt thanks for the gestures of solidarity made by the whole Order, and by many lay people, towards our friars in Ukraine and the people affected by the war there.
I invite all the friars to remain in the love of Christ, a crucified love, which rises in hope.
Rome, Easter 2022
Friar Carlos A. TROVARELLI