EncuentroMadrid 2020: In whom can we trust?

An edition reshaped by Covid, but will be no less rich. The Spanish event will take place online 19-22 November with meetings, round-tables, performances. Ignacio Carbajosa explains why it should not be missed.

"En quién podemos confiar?". In whom can we trust? This is the title of this year's EncuentroMadrid. Four days of meetings, from November 19 to 22, strictly online, which wish to be an aid and a provocation for life in this difficult period. In a video-interview released for the occasion, Fr. Ignacio Carbajosa, national responsible for Communion and Liberation in Spain, describes what the meaning of such an event is in this time of Covid.

In a context like the current one, is it worth setting up an event like EncuentroMadrid? What can we expect?
Personally, I think it is a providential circumstance: EncuentroMadrid has come at the right time. We are full of challenges. I think of the horizon that we all face which is quite dark: you cannot go away for the weekend to the mountains, to your second home, you cannot spend time with friends, we do not know what will happen at Christmas... These days, the word "despair" often comes to mind, which dominates our society and us... I hope that we can ask ourselves: "What will happen at EncuentroMadrid? In what I will see, in what I will witness, even if through a screen, is there a chance of hope for me?” Or can the conversations I have had at work or in my family, where that element of despair once again emerges, be challenged? You can say to a colleague: "Let’s watch this together" or "Do you remember what we talked about...?". Or "Look what they say in this video about that issue." I perceive it as an opportunity for our country, but first of all for ourselves, for our family, for our colleagues to start breathing again.

A virtual EncuentroMadrid is a must. But after all the meetings that have been organized online in recent months, we now can perceive a somewhat “screen” saturation. Even in this modality, can EncuentroMadrid be an occasion for encounter?
The notion that it is yet another meeting online, another Zoom, is evident to everyone. One can start from this hypothesis, or can start from the hypothesis, almost the opposite, that we can see in Latin America, where they are really waiting for this event. The fact that EncuentroMadrid will not take place physically, in its usual location in the Casa de Campo in Madrid, opens up infinite possibilities. I am struck by the expectation with which this Encuentro is being lived in some parts of South America, so much so that we have made an effort in terms of schedules to adjust for the time difference. There are also other infinite possibilities... I am referring to the neighbor, perhaps with small children, who usually cannot go to EncuentroMadrid because they have to put the children to sleep... What a great opportunity to be able to say: "Come by after dinner to see this play they have recorded or this meeting with the mayor," or whatever else. Or the opportunity to invite two or three friends from school and say: "Come, let's eat together and then watch this meeting." It offers us an opportunity for creativity that I would like each of us to take into consideration, starting from what we always tell ourselves, that the circumstances for which the Lord has us pass are part of our vocation. Also take this strange circumstance of EncuentroMadrid as a possibility and say: "What might happen by inviting and promoting EncuentroMadrid? What might enter my family, what might enter my home?" It seems to me that great things can happen.

The title of the EncuentroMadrid is the question "In whom can we trust?" At a time when social and political polarization is growing, when we go out on the street and look at each other with suspicion, is it still possible to trust someone?
I perceive that this year’s title is also providential, as I said at the beginning. We have just heard the speech by the President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden, in which he spoke of the need to rebuild, to heal the wounds of a divided nation. If there is one thing that characterizes our society, it is precisely this polarization, which is fundamentally reflected in the fact that the other cannot be trusted in any way. We have already experienced, in the hardest months of the pandemic, what it meant to give confidence. Think of the blind trust that we placed in the health care workers, so much so that we went out to the balcony to applaud them everyday. It was a blind trust, but it might not have been so, we might have been suspicious and said: "Let's get all our loved ones out of the hospitals, they are killing them." Or think about what happened in the very first weeks of the pandemic with political unity. And the opposite: we have seen what happens when you start from the position "al enemigo, ni agua" (the enemy doesn't even deserve water). We have seen what it means in terms of unease, of violence in our relations, but let us extend this to the sphere of the family, with our husband, our wife, our children... Let us extend it to the sphere of work. We need to understand why it is possible and in whom we can trust. This has to do with the ultimate question of the meaning of life. Or, more simply, it is an invitation to open our eyes, to look at reality, because the sun rises every day, I wake up every day, I can walk... This is an indication of an initial trust, that we all have without realizing it, that the sun will not disappear, that there is Someone who is making me right now, who wakes me up and who is linked to the nature of the other who has the same heart as mine. There is, therefore, an ultimate point of trust and I believe that this EncuentroMadrid can be essential to look at it again: to understand that in the family, in work, in our society there can be a starting point that is our nature, our condition to be created, the ultimate positivity of reality that can be an opportunity to rebuild.