A Pauline community is called to mission, to be ever-present on the battlefield…. So some might find it strange that the members of our community spent two weeks participating in a Lectio Divina Workshop instead of creatively inventing something to propose to others in these difficult times. But a house that has collapsed cannot be rebuilt with the same material as before. After 12 March, following the obligatory closure of our apostolic center and other activities, we found ourselves–like many of our other sisters and brothers–surprised and bewildered, tempted to offer facile answers to the heartfelt questions everyone was asking. How can we say that God is always present and at work, and is speaking to us even in this tragedy? The words we were called to offer people had to spring from a deeper reading of events and woven together in silence, listening and shared reflection. Thus we “dusted off” the tried and true itinerary of prayer, meditation and contemplation that has nourished the life of hundreds of generations of Christians but which we have perhaps somewhat neglected, drained by the frenzied need to always be equal to every occasion, including in this period of forced social isolation.
Following the itinerary of the Lectio Divina, we spent two weeks drinking from the water of the Word of God contained in the Scriptures, in particular the Gospel of Luke, only to find, with surprise, that very same Word living and throbbing in the events we are currently experiencing. God is not absent in today’s global pandemia–he is alive and at work, especially in those who are tirelessly dedicating themselves to others to the point of total self-donation.
Perhaps we are now ready to avoid offering people easy, “prefabricated” answers; instead, we want to offer them the same words we have always used but with greater awareness because they spring from listening, self-emptying and the conviction that any conversion and socio-cultural change begins first of all with each one of us. We don’t know what the future holds for us as a Pauline community, but we are sure that our spirit has been renewed and that our listening to the Word in these days will not prove to have been a “parenthesis” in our life but a lifestyle, enabling us to “read history” with the gaze of God.