Year 132 - October 2020Find out more

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The words of faith

Fr. Livio Tonello, director

We have heard so many words in recent months... Words of encouragement, words of hope, words of anger, words mixed with weeping. Comments, interpretations, opinions from all sides. It was a way to exorcise fear, to find meaning, to give us courage. We have heard medical statements, witnessed political discussions, listened to philosophical theories. But were there words of faith to say what we are still living? Because science is important, but it doesn’t say everything. Medical research finds the causes and remedies, but medicine is not enough.

The suffering person requires closeness, expects a handshake. To exorcise fear, we have to find words of encouragement that taste of eternity. Words that science doesn’t offer us. The empty St Peter’s Square, on 27 March, is more eloquent than a thousand speeches. A square in reality full of prayers, invocations, the faith of millions of people who gathered spiritually. The words of faith are those capable of saying what only the heart feels. It is the ability to see beyond, not to stop at the pain and fatigue of understanding.

God did not want the death of his Son on the cross and was present at the fatal moment. The same God who makes Himself present in human suffering, pain, and adversity, whose voice is heard only by a heart open to the mystery. This is the experience proper to “people of faith” who discover an unthought of strength in trial. When one cultivates spiritually in one’s daily relationship with the Lord, convictions mature to overcome the crisis. Because we do not become heroes automatically and the answers to crucial questions do not magically spring up.

In these months we have all had the experience of being “non-practitioners”. During the lockdown, it was not possible to attend Mass in your church. This is not why we can say that faith, Christian life, and pastoral activity have been lacking. The emergency has highlighted the “baptismal priesthood”, domestic celebrations, a selfless generosity. Aspects of the Christian life which in any case should ordinarily be present. We were no less spiritual if we did not go to Mass because everyday life could be a celebration of God’s presence.

This happened if we lived time, relationships, prayer intensely and profoundly. A phone call, a greeting from the balcony, a television rosary, created communion, consolidated relationships, shared concerns. It is this daily spirituality, kneaded in life, that makes the words of faith spring forth, those capable of giving meaning, of making good explicit, of rediscovering values and restoring confidence. The words of faith spring from life when it is lived in the presence of God.

The contact with the problems of our humanity makes the Christian a seeker of meaning capable of reiterating with his life words that taste of the Gospel.