The CL holiday in Las Trancas (Chile)

Chile: "That gift that we are already living"

The CL community vacation at the foot of the Chillán volcano: hikes, testimonies, and listening to Russian and local songs. With the evidence "of a Presence that is already happening in our lives.”

Between 1 and 6 February this year, a group of about 150 people from the movement gathered in cottages in Las Trancas at the foot of the Chillán volcano for a vacation together. From the title, 'A new way of seeing', in the testimonies and presentations we heard, it was clear that this new gaze at reality does not come from our own strength, but from a Presence that is already happening in our lives.

This was evident to us as we listened to the testimony of Rosetta Brambilla (a Memor Domini who has lived in Belo Horizonte, Brazil for sixty years), who shared with us some of the correspondence she had with Fr. Giussani in her first years of mission: "Trust in the strength of God who will always know how to make you recover from every weakness and overcome every moment of darkness. Christ is the one for whom everything was made and Christ is the reason for your life: dedicate yourselves to him with total decision". And in a dialogue on education with Luisa Cogo (a Memor who has dedicated herself to teaching in Italy for forty years), we discovered that it is possible to answer 'yes' to reality when there is a superabundance in the heart, which, when it discovers what it is made for, is able to accompany others so that they become even more themselves. And the most beautiful thing, she reminded us, is that it is not we who change ourselves (let alone young people!), but the Lord who already walks with us, incarnated in the community.

The centrality of the relationship with the Mystery was also the key to really listening to some Russian songs, from the Spirito Gentil series, which some friends suggested. In this music, coming from a culture so distant from our own, we rediscovered the value of community, which comes from looking at the Mystery together. We sing together for the consciousness of the community, to the point that “a soloist is capable of forgetting their melody if the choral community does not sing at the same time,” as a Russian singer says in an interview about these folk songs. It is as if the self acquires a voice that becomes even more beautiful, that gives them their identity, only when they belong to a community that reminds them of the melody that only they can sing.

Other precious moments were the presentation of Takashi Nagai's autobiographical book, Ciò che non muore mai [What never dies], and two musical performances where some musician friends shared their time and talent with us to allow us to enjoy the beauty of songs written by Fr. Anastasio (a priest from the Fraternity of St Charles, who died during the pandemic), and songs by Chilean songwriters such as Tata Barahona, El Árbol de Diego, Víctor Jara and Nano Stern.

During those days, the desire emerged in all of us, expressed during the final assembly, for a unity of life, of our community, echoing the appeal that Pope Francis made to us in Rome in October 2022. Fr. Lorenzo helped us to understand that unity is a gift of Christ that we have already received and therefore already live. Unity is a gift and the contribution we can make is to open ourselves up to receive the beauty of Christ, from which the beauty of communion is born. In the words of Fr. Giussani, taken from one of the letters Rosetta shared with us: “Love Jesus Christ Rosetta, with all of yourself and have charity for everyone – to the point of breaking your heart.”

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The concrete way in which we open ourselves to this beauty is through forgiveness, because, in a sense, we betray unity every day. We need to take a risk every day, to always return to the gaze of Christ, not to change what we are not, but to truly become what we are. Because only a jug that is willing to be filled is then able to water and irrigate the earth and the seeds around it.

Bárbara, Chile