Chronicles of the V UnderTen Chapter: Fourth Day

11  July 2019

The new day was a gift from God, and for this we gave thanks in the Eucharistic celebration presided by Br. Antonio Scabio, General Definitor. Today was the feast of St. Benedict, the patron of Europe and founder of western monasticism.  We were asked to prayer in particular for the monastic community of Taizé, who is hosting us these days. The spirit of our Eucharistic prayer continued in our morning prayer, where many youngsters from many different countries were singing.

Following, we participated in the biblical reflection of Br. John, a brother of the Community, who is offering the biblical reflection each day to all the participants.  He invited us to reflect on the Gospel of the washing of feet (Jn 13,1-15).  Returning to the theme of hospitality, he invited us to reflect on the dialogue between Jesus and Peter.  This scene evidences the difficulties that we sometimes have in accepting hospitality from others that don’t meet our expectations.

The rest of the morning was dedicated to personal reflection, but also time for personal interaction that gave space for relaxation and calm.

After prayer and lunch that, as usual, we shared with two thousand other people, in the afternoon, we gathered to hear Br. Michael Perry, our Minister General. He offered us not just one but two talks.  In the first, Br. Michael developed his talk starting from Pope Francis’ Laudato si‘: “Human existence is based on three closely related fundamental relationships: the relationship with God, that with one’s neighbor and that with the earth” (No. 66). Starting from Pope Francis’ reflection, Br. Michael illustrated how essential dialogue is in promoting a spirituality of interconnection and solidarity, in responding to our “vocation to fraternity” which is opposed to the “globalization of indifference”, in evangelization, and in understanding of the other’s world, especially when it is different from ours. To be capable of dialogue, it is necessary to be “mystics”, contemplative men who know how to welcome all that God welcomes, especially the poor and the excluded. “Dialogue means arriving at the awareness of the truth that all things are interconnected, all things are linked, all things are destined to collaborate in God’s plan for universal peace and harmony. For this reason, dialogue is of vital importance for the evangelizing mission of the Church of our time”. After this first reflection, Michael added a second one, centered above all on the experience of crisis and suffering that many of us, even Under Ten, live in our fraternities.  The source of such crisis is often lack of dialogue. Sensitive issues were touched upon, such as lack of mutual trust and confidence, the fear of being vulnerable to brothers, the sense of isolation in the fraternity, and the crisis of leaving the Order. To this description, Br. Michael added how the experience of crisis can be fruitful. Among the tools needed to face crisis, besides prayer, dialogue is needed.  It is difficult to summarize these reflections, because of their richness. It is necessary to read the on-line text.

The group sharing changed a little today from the previous days.  Today the sharing took place among friars of the same country.  By sharing the same or similar culture and a common language, the participants were able to further reflect on the Minister General’s talk.

Following, there was dinner and evening prayer.  We ended the day just as we started, by giving praise to the Lord in song and with the brothers.  As always, it was a moment not only for giving praise to the Lord for all good things, but also a time for giving praise for our brothers.

“And evening came, then morning….the fourth day”.

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