Friendship is the Fruit of the Tree of Communion

"There is no difference between GS and the Savior of the World. GS is where Jesus becomes a tangible thing that you can touch and see."

This past June I participated to the Colorado GS vacation. On the first day, we were given a little booklet with a text by Fr. Giussani titled “Communion is a Journey.” On the first page was this quotation: “The greatness of man is in the relationship with the infinite that he lives minute by minute.” This is what I believe the GS vacation introduced to us.

The vacation was a week during which my GS group and other high schoolers went into the mountains for games, discussion, and reflection. Every day we started off with morning prayer. We went on two hikes and we said Mass every day. In the evenings, we split off into small groups to discuss where we saw Jesus in our day and reflect on the daily discussion. Every day we took some time to read a couple of the passages from our little booklet and, after reading we would take 20-30 minutes to re-read, reflect, and think. During this alone quiet time, we thought of some the most amazing things. For example, I thought of this on the third day: There is no difference between GS and the Savior of the World. GS is where Jesus becomes a tangible thing that you can touch and see. We are able to experience him through the people around us because GS shows us how to live life with Jesus as our eternal companion. Every day we experience and do different awesome things.

This year our vacation was quite particular because there was also a group of kids from Santiago, Chile, accompanied by Fr. Diego. Bu this vacation was different from every other vacation I have been to not just on the surface but in a much deeper sense. On the last day we always let anyone who wants to give their own short witness about their time at the vacation during the final assembly. Many Chileans admitted that, at first, they were skeptical about this vacation because of the language barrier. As my best friend Elijah said, “Coming to this vacation I was angry and frustrated, but the next day the vacation started to change. It changed into something beautiful.” Another person, Oscar, said, “When we arrived from Chile, we were separated amongst ourselves. But through this vacation, we have all become one group, united.” And they were right. Throughout the week everyone started to notice the difference and we started to change ourselves. The first day the Americans and the Chileans barely talked to each other, but even after just one day, we started to experience a community. This made us realize the truth of the title that Fr. Accu chose for our vacation: “Friendship is the fruit of the tree of communion.”

On the third day, Dr. Fabian drove a couple of hours just to give us a presentation on the second book of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Purgatorio. He pointed out a quote that struck me: “You were the lonely traveler in the dark who holds the light not for himself but for others.” This, I believe, is how the people who go on these vacations end up becoming to the people in their everyday lives.

At the vacation, Federico said, “If I can live this life here, I can live it anywhere.” This struck me to the core because this year my friends from GS and I have been hanging out outside the regular GS meetings and we have been experiencing this exact statement. “It is not something we do anymore, but it is our life,” as Elijah said.

Even though most of us were perfect strangers at first, the final night, we had a party to celebrate the joy and excitement of the week, everyone was crying at the mere thought of leaving this group of friends. On the last day, we had our final assembly where people shared what they felt and saw.

As I wrote this letter and remembered what people said at the final assembly, I started to feel bad because I thought what people were saying, feeling ,and experiencing that day, and no amount of words could ever come close to the beauty we all saw or the love we all felt. This year was the most beautiful vacation ever, but this is true every time. Every year it gets even more beautiful, and if you had experienced what I did four years ago at my first vacation, you would never believe it could get more beautiful than that. Yet it does.

Benjamin, USA