Monsignor Alberto Ortega during the meeting

Chile: Peace is the only possible path

A dialogue with the Apostolic Nuncio, Monsignor Alberto Ortega, and a friend who lives a few kilometers from the conflict in Ukraine. The meeting organized by the Chilean community a few weeks ago.
Paola Giovannetti

Is there a possible path to peace today? This is the question that prompted the Chilean CL community to organize a meeting with Monsignor Alberto Ortega, Apostolic Nuncio to Chile, and Francisco Giacosa, an Argentine friend living in Poland, who was called to recount what it is like to live there with war just a few kilometers away.

Francisco, who has volunteered on the border with Ukraine, explained how in beauty of fraternity has emerged from pain and of how the Polish people have opened their doors to refugees, revealing a humanity moved by the needs of those who have arrived full of fear and uncertainty. And of how these families separated by war found comfort and space for faith. Francis helped us to open our conscience in order to come out from ourselves and think about the world: we are part of a wounded humanity, and we do not want to get used to living without being challenged by what is happening.

Monsignor Ortega began by saying, "Everything has to do with Him, and therefore nothing is indifferent to us." His words were helpful, not only to look at the conflict in Ukraine, but also at our own lives, as He has invited us to recognize that evil is not the last word. By being aware of our poverty, we are also called to be aware of God's Love.

In this sense, every circumstance can be an opportunity for conversion. But how can one contribute to peace? First, by recognizing that the culture of peace is built not only between countries, but within the heart of each of us. And who is our peace? The Messiah, who is the Prince of peace. Our faith is the opportunity to look at everything that challenges us with the tenderness of the Mystery. War affects us, not because of a geographical issue, but because of a deeply human issue. The Pope, through the Nuncio, asks us to uproot from ourselves all the roots of hatred and resentment and to meet others, regardless of their positions: the true path is dialogue, the alternative is violence.

Ortega then invited us to read the Pope's message for World Peace Day together, to rediscover the word "together": to think together, to build together, to seek together, to be a community. Just as Covid urged us to seek solutions for all of humanity, we are learning that war is a pandemic for which there is no vaccine, because it settles in the heart. That is why we must appeal to the human heart to start anew in personal and community terms, asking God to change our criteria in light of the common good, making us available and open to all our brothers and sisters. "Conceiving of ourselves as a 'we' implies dialogue as an instrument," Ortega reiterated. By desiring peace we desire the fullness of the heart, which is not just the absence of war, but the fulfillment of the thirst of which we are made.

This meeting allowed us to remember the fact that for us peace is the Lord Himself, and His birth is the birth of Peace. If we make room for His presence, forgiveness, which seems impossible to us, becomes possible. We know that humanly it is difficult to forgive, but it is the only way to peace. Pope Francis calls us to dialogue, even if it may require effort, without forgetting that alongside justice we need mercy, otherwise human justice turns into the pursuit of revenge.

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In the face of a problem as immense as war, in our helplessness, to bear witness to forgiveness among ourselves is to offer the possibility of knowing the Good incarnate, of being, in the world, in the present, the possibility of recognizing the other for who they really are, and not for what they have done to us. When we see the Good incarnate, we discover that it is possible. This is the contribution we can make. Yo vengo a ofrecer mi corazón (I come to offer my heart) is the song that started this meeting, to remind us that in the midst of present circumstances, in the midst of difficulties, in the midst of our poverty and frailty, we can be a sign of hope in His name.