The CL community on a hike

Chile: A thousand kilometers to live in beauty

The South American community’s vacation in the mountains. They had to overcome many objections before leaving, and yet there was one reason that moved everyone, as “love for destiny does not stop pushing us to walk.”
Paula Giovanetti and Valeska Cabañas

Faced with the proposal to go on the CL vacation this year, there were many reasons to say no: the distance, the "aftermath" of the pandemic, the fatigue of the past year... Yet, we also had a "Reason", with a capital letter , to say "yes", and we asked ourselves if it might be enough, that is, if it could mobilize us to the point of travelling for more than a thousand kilometers to follow it. "Yes!" was the answer. And we set off, families, children, teenagers and young people, to find “a piece of paradise” among our mountains, in the midst of the present and the circumstances we were living.

Arriving also involved the discomfort of immediately doing a Covid test, but seeing those who were organizing this service for all of us was the first spectacle. The gentleness, tenderness and willingness to test each of us was a means to help us perceive that every detail is full of meaning and that nothing lacks when our eyes are filled with the presence of Christ. That was already a little piece of Paradise in which we were welcomed: a fragile, perhaps uncomfortable piece, which implied a sacrifice, which showed how our "yes" was required at all times.

The beauty of these days was marked by the helpful faces of some young people who spoke to us about the meaning of charity with moving and simple testimonies, helping us to remember that a person begins to know their heart when they give themselves. Listening to them was an opportunity to "infect" us with the hope of becoming adults who are not content to "remain comfortable" in the face of reality, but who can experience what it means to give oneself.

During the vacation we were also kept company by the panels of the exhibition on the boys of the White Rose, a resistance group to the Nazi regime in Germany in the early 1940s, prepared by a group of friends fascinated by their way of life: lovers of beauty and truth, and who, with their love for life and for their people, defeated power. To see people so full of light in difficult times is what we needed. It was a testimony that questioned us, "You, called at this moment in history, in Chile, after the social disaster, in time of coronavirus... Why do you live?" Learning about the history of the White Rose put their way of living before our eyes, where they judged everything and affirmed what is true, walking happily with the Lord.

With the trips we made, we were able to verify, once again, that the mountain is a metaphor for our lives: a path to find the Beauty that little by little we begin to glimpse and that takes shape step by step. Otherwise, why is it worth climbing? We belong to a friendship in which love for destiny does not stop pushing us to walk. That is why it was worth making that journey, taking walks, playing music, singing together, to discover that we are not alone in this "piece of Heaven". Christ began our story, and it is He who keeps it alive through every friendly face and in every gesture that is made in His name.

We also witnessed a journey through the songs of our history, to see how there is no difference between the brilliant intuitions of Claudio Chieffo or Adriana Mascagni and our ironic attempts to sing what we love, and that new songs can be born in the present only because He renews our history and makes it a new melody.

We witnessed so many great signs, which also passed through simple and small gestures such as the secretary team, the technical details, the care with which each Mass was celebrated, each song: everything contributed to making us recognize the reason for our friendship and the meaning of our being there.

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In the final assembly, one mom said, "It moves me to see my children growing up amid these people. They are already part of this history and the tenderness with which you welcome them fills me with gratitude." The presence of Fr. Julián de la Morena, responsible for CL in South America who came from Brazil, with his freedom full of sympathy, was an immense gift. It was not taken for granted that he would be there as there are still so many restrictions to enter the country. Yet, in front of his sacrifice, the documents and paperwork he had to organise just to meet us, we found ourselves once again asking the question: "Who am I that you remember me?". We truly felt part of a piece of Paradise that, full of limitations, continues to shine because He wins in our midst.