TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE X EDITION OF
THE CHURCH'S SOCIAL DOCTRINE FESTIVAL ON THE THEME
"MEMORY OF THE FUTURE"
[Verona, November 26-29, 2020]
A cordial greeting to the Bishop and to all of you who take part, in Verona and in the various Italian cities connected by internet , in the Festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church which, with its creative methodology, wishes to initiate a comparison between different subjects in terms of sensitivity and action, but converging in the construction of the common good.
It is a different edition than usual, because we are grappling with the pandemic that is still present, a scenario that brings with it difficulties and serious personal and social wounds.
And it is a slightly different edition from the usual one also because, for the first time, Fr Adriano Vincenzi is not with you to support this formative moment which has reached its tenth edition. We want to remember him in the distinctive trait of his service, with words that are in tune with what I wrote in the last Encyclical Brothers All : "It is great nobility to be able to initiate processes whose fruits will be reaped by others, with the hope placed in secret strength of the good that is sown "(n. 196).
This year the theme you have chosen is Memory of the future . It seems a bit strange but it is creative: “Memory of the future”. It invites us to that creative attitude that we can say is "attending the future". For us Christians, the future has a name and this name is hope . Hope is the virtue of a heart that does not close in the dark, does not stop at the past, does not live in the present, but knows how to see tomorrow. For us Christians, what does tomorrow mean? It is the redeemed life, the joy of the gift of the encounter with Trinitarian Love. In this sense, being Church means having a creative and eschatologically oriented gaze and heart without giving in to the temptation of nostalgia, which is a real spiritual pathology.
A Russian thinker, Vjačeslav Ivanovich Ivanov, claims that only what God remembers truly exists. This is why the dynamic of Christians is not that of nostalgically holding back the past, but rather of accessing the eternal memory of the Father; and this is possible by living a life of charity. Therefore, not nostalgia, which blocks creativity and makes us rigid and ideological people even in the social, political and ecclesial sphere; rather, memory, so intrinsically linked to love and experience, that it becomes one of the deepest dimensions of the human person.
We have all been begotten to Life in Baptism. We have received as a gift the life which is communion with God, with others and with creation. We are therefore called to realize life in communion with God, or in the intimacy of prayer in the presence of the Lord, in love for the people we meet, or in charity, and finally towards mother earth, which indicates a process of transfiguration of the world. And the Life received as a gift is the same life as Christ, and we cannot live as believers in the world except by manifesting his very life in us. Grafted into the life of Trinitarian Love we become capable of memory, of the memory of God. And only what is love does not fall into oblivion, precisely because it finds its reason for being in the love of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. . In this sense,anamnesis , an eternal memory of Christ's Passover.
Here, then, is the meaning of this year's Festival: living the memory of the future means making a commitment to ensure that the Church, the great people of God ( cf.Lumen gentium , 6), can constitute on earth the beginning and the germ of the kingdom of God. To live as believers immersed in society, manifesting the life of God that we received as a gift in Baptism, so that we can now remember that future life in which we will be together before the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
This attitude helps us to overcome the temptation of utopia, to reduce the proclamation of the Gospel to a simple sociological horizon or to get involved in the " marketing " of various economic theories or political factions.
In the world with the strength and creativity of the life of God in us: in this way we will be able to fascinate the hearts and gaze of the people to the Gospel of Jesus, we will help to make projects of a new inclusive economy and politics capable of love fruitful.
One more word I address in particular to the various actors of social life gathered on the occasion of the Festival: to the world of entrepreneurs, professionals, representatives of the institutional world, cooperation, economy and culture: continue to commit yourselves following the path that Don Adriano Vincenzi has drawn up with you for knowledge and formation in the social doctrine of the Church. Bridge builders: those who meet here do not find walls but faces ...
And please don't forget to pray for me. Thanks.
FULL TEXT + Source: Vatican.va - File Image Source - Vatican.va