It is my desire that, in this our time, by acknowledging the dignity of each human person, we can contribute to the rebirth of a universal aspiration to fraternity. Fraternity between all men and women. “Here we have a splendid secret that shows us how to dream and to turn our life into a wonderful adventure. No one can face life in isolation… We need a community that supports and helps us, in which we can help one another to keep looking ahead. How important it is to dream together…
By ourselves, we risk seeing mirages, things that are not there. Dreams, on the other hand, are built together”. Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travellers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all. (Fratelli tutti no.8 Pope Francis)
Invitation from Pope Francis
Pope Francis in his encyclical letter encourages us to reflect on universal fraternity, and to recognize the fraternal bonds that unite us to all our brothers and sisters, whether they be near or far, young or old, rich or poor, Jews or Muslims. These are bonds which unite us to those who are enslaved by the circumstances in which they live, not just to the peaceful but even to the violent. We are all brothers and sisters and we need to learn to make our way out of our spiritual or cultural confinements, and break the distances caused by false prejudices. We need to go out to meet the other person, get to know them, share with them and listen carefully to them.
In this spirit of universal fraternity we prepared ourselves for Easter this year. Motivated by the program proposed by the Pontifical Missionary Societies in the Holy Land, we participated in a Lenten program entitled: “Out of the desert into Life”
Our Lenten journey led us out of the desert of our homes, of our weak prayer and empty churches, towards the life that the Risen One offers us. It`s a life that is lived in fraternity.
The program consisted of three steps:
Preparation and personal meditation on four short videos on the meaning of Prayer, Fasting, Solidarity and Brotherhood.
A day of outdoor retreat. As we walked along, youth groups from the villages of Hurfesh and Jish shared the meaning of these four words and presented us with different examples from their own experience of how we can live them in our everyday lives, in a way that makes us more full and happy.
And finally we participated in an online meeting of young people from different regions of Israel, Palestine and Jordan. Young Iraqis and Syrian refugees currently in Turkey were also able to participate.
It was really enriching for us!
What did we come away with?
It was wonderful to be able to exchange different ideas. We metyoung Christians from other countries where they are a religious minority and shared our faith in Jesus and our dreams. It strengthened us on our personal journey of faith and it encouraged us to continue as young missionaries of Jesus in our communities.
We are all invited to be like the Good Samaritan and get closer to each other. We can care about other`s needs, commit ourselves to their precarious or difficult situation and share with them what we have either spiritually or materially. If we look around us each of us can find people who need our smile, words of comfort and encouragement. They are like the Samaritan`s drops of wine and oil that will heal their wounds and bad memories. When we draw closer to our brother or sister and we lift them up and carry them or simply act out of solidarity with them we can truly experience LIFE.