Traces N.7, July/August 2014

What Are You Looking For?

It can be a strange period, this time between June and August. These are weeks when, in one way or another, the usual rhythms and habits of life are left behind and everything emerges in an atypical way, different from how we see them the rest of the year. It is not just a matter of a more relaxed schedule and lightener commitments: the circumstances themselves are different. There are other encounters, other places where things happen. This alone could afford us a great opportunity if we took it seriously. Vacation is “the time of freedom,” as Fr. Giussani always reminded us. Freedom to do what?

This question is intertwined with another, offered to us by the Movement of CL as the theme for our work during this year’s vacations; “What are you looking for?” It is not a small question, and not only because these are the first words Jesus addresses to his first disciples, John and Andrew, who left John the Baptist on the Jordan River to follow Him. The whole Gospel can be read with this question in mind, as a continual repetition in a multitude of examples, gestures, and words, the same question asked to the heart of whoever encountered Him. From Zacchaeus to the Samaritan woman, from the leper to the rich young man, to the apostles, to His enemies… What are you looking for? What do you truly desire?

Summer can be a privileged moment to stay in front of these questions, using them as a key for interpreting the facts which happen before our eyes, and which do not stop just because it’s summer. After all, what are the millions of refugees leaving Iraq or the thousands of women and children leaving Central America and arriving at the U.S. looking for? But above all, this is a special time to keep asking this question to ourselves and to those near us during the many occasions that reality provides us: in our vacations, in our work, in our friendships, or at the Meeting of Rimini whose theme this year speaks of the companionship that Destiny offers us everywhere, in every corner “of the outskirts of the world and of existence.” What are we looking for? What fulfills the heart?

It will be beautiful to discover the answer to this question in our lives. Not to begin by knowing it and reciting it like a theory, but to really discover it through what happens. After all, this is the first companionship that Destiny gives us: reality. It is here “that the Mystery reawakens us, calls us, comes toward us to keep us from declining into nothingness,” as Julián Carrón reminded a group of friends some time ago. It is “through this absolutely humdrum thing, at times dark, at times opaque, through circumstances: life, life calls us, calls each one of us to live it.” We’ll be back in touch in September, to tell each other about what happens when you decide to respond to this call. Enjoy your summer!