We are living a time of openness to the surprises of God manifested in history. This unprecedented time of human history, crossed by a serious environmental, ethical, economic, existential crisis, and now aggravated by the experience of the pandemic, poses questions on ‘what to do’, how to act, which prospects are opening before us.

Above all, we are invited to discern who we are and who we are called to be. Immersed in this complex scenario of contemporary society, with renewed faith we are certain that the Lord is present with His Spirit. The Holy Spirit chooses us as His collaborators. We are invited to deepen the sense of this call. Are the preoccupations and difficulties that we are facing illuminated and sustained by this certainty? This is the mission that is asked of us today.

To disregard it would be to betray the expectations, very often unexpressed, of brothers and sisters, especially of the younger generations to whom we must pay maximum attention. I am aware that it is not an easy task. At times, there can prevail discouragement, a kind of skepticism about the future that awaits us, or an anesthetized attitude, as Pope Francis often underlines.

On numerous occasions has Pope Francis warned against the attitude that allows people to be satisifed with merely being comfortable

We are many who confirm that in a lot of people, and even young people, there is the impelling need to hear a ‘voice’ of hope witnessed by a closeness and a listening pervaded by exquisite humanity.

Religious life has grasped in these months a great call for closeness, for the nearness of people. The Spirit needs our docile, active, constant, creative participation. This can be the concrete way to revive the gift of God that is in us, keeping lit with daring, without fear, His fire that burns in the heart of all of humankind and that perhaps in this moment, risks to weaken, and in some cases, to become extinguished.

I remember the cry of a young woman, in the name of many others, at an Assembly of consecrated life,“You have a huge fire in your heart, strong, able to inflame the whole world. We have a small, fragile flame in us. Help us with your fire to not let the little flame that is in us go out!”

The imagery of a heart aflame with the spirit is especially poignant during trying times

This is the time to open our heart’s door and let the fire of the Spirit invade our existence, be free to act without putting conditions and impediments. It is a prerequisite for the gift that is in us to take on new light and make the truth of life shine at this particular time in history that involves us all. It has been a continuous journey of formation for me in these days to have received comforting messages that show how something new is maturing in us and in the life of the young people.

I share some expressions: “Truly at this time, new things are sprouting forth, hidden from the human eye and alive in the mystery of God. We have understood that we have to do something concrete for the young in vocational search, give priority to the formation of these young people.”

Another message reads,“Those who organize these meetings are young people... they want them, and it is wonderful when they want young people from other backgrounds and situations to get to know us. And young people don't care about age: this is another discovery that I keep making."

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These are expressions that highlight how everything in life is an occasion for formation and growth. Sometimes it is the young themselves who tell us in a way that perhaps is not immediately understandable, “Revive the gift of vocation that God has placed in you; the light that emanates from your life makes us curious, attracts us, questions us, it sets our quiet life in motion.”

So I pray, during this time of cultural transition and precariousness due to the pandemic caused by Covid-19, you will continue with renewed passion to achieve the mission that the Church and the Institute entrust to you. As Mother Mazzarello loved to repeat: Let’s meet in the Heart of Jesus – for it is there we all meet and in Him we find the graces we need for ourselves and for the world!