All in one hug

Publish date 15-09-2023

by Rosanna Tabasso

The date of the start of the Arsenal of Peace was imprinted in the memory of each of us, but before the desire to transform an arms factory, in the hearts of Ernesto and his friends there was the desire to give a face to the gospel , of living brotherhood and closeness to the poor, hope and peace. In the wake of this desire, even before the Arsenal of Peace, the transition from group to fraternity developed within Sermig: the people who were part of it chose not only to do something good together, but to live a new lifestyle to bring hope to people.
We are not "born learned" and it took years to enter into this new way of seeing ourselves and others. We desire, we believe, we try to model our wounded humanity on the promises of the gospel, but it takes time to change our gaze and above all it takes the touch of the Holy Spirit. Fraternity is a new creation and it is he who creates it: "Behold, I am doing a new thing" (Is 43, 19).

The Spirit brings about this transformation in those who follow Jesus, just as he did with his disciples gathered in the cenacle: those few, lost, afraid, did not have a clear direction to take, but they receive the Holy Spirit that Jesus gives them as a gift, they recognize it He is resurrected among them and their lives change radically. At that moment the community recognizes the signs of the crucified Jesus, the Risen One and believes. From then on it is always the brotherhood that makes Jesus recognisable, it is the place where we move from the mentality of the world to that of the gospel, it is the place where the transmission of faith takes place from one person to another, from one generation to another . We do not arrive at faith alone, but through the community, in the church. It's like that today too.
The Fraternity of Hope which now lives in many other places, despite its imperfections, allows many who approach it to recognize Jesus.
It took years for us to take the shape that the Lord wanted to give us: each with our own history, our own struggles, different in age, state of life, we live diversity as a richness, we seek unity and harmony to make the gospel visible in this time.
Beyond all diversity, simply Christians. We live everyday life and from experience we continually distill the essentials that we try to live: letting ourselves be loved by God and, recognizing ourselves loved by him, loving him with all our heart, and then loving the brothers and sisters who are placed beside us. Not a generic love but embodied and experienced first and foremost with the people we live with. It means accepting others who are different from me, respecting and valuing everyone. Seek dialogue and discussion, forgive those who make mistakes, those who offend us, those who hurt us. The Fraternity lives these evangelical dimensions and, as in a laboratory, experiments them. In our experience the greatest effort was not to renovate the Arsenal, but to restructure our lives to make room for God and become brotherhood. If we don't live this style, how can we propose it to others? It's not about being perfect but credible, not super heroes but passionate people.

In the Fraternity we experience the style chosen by Jesus to make himself known: two by two, without human security, house by house bringing peace but without pretensions, without planning, but with the spirit of welcoming everyone, one by one.
We have understood that the mission that Jesus entrusts to us is not one of individuals, it is entrusted to everyone and is lived together. We disperse among the people, not alone but in small groups, because the heart of every mission according to Jesus is "see how much they love each other" and it is this testimony that is good for those who approach us. So the arms stretch out and widen to embrace as many people as possible and even the doors of our homes become mobile, they continually open onto the street and move beyond.
For many years the Arsenal of Peace has spread throughout the surrounding area: a solidarity condominium, the emporium, the sports hall, the parishes and even further away the Global Village... The image I carry inside me is the end party year of the children and young people of the Arsenale della Piazza e dello Sport and their families: Italians, Moroccans, Romanians, Chinese, Africans, Asians of at least 25 origins, over 500 people gathered together in the spaces of the PalaSermig to experience a day together ( box on the previous page). A large table covered with dishes from different origins, the special dish of each country, carefully prepared to be shared among everyone, the game, the celebration, the friendship, the mutual respect.

Around two or three of us, the spirit of brotherhood has passed to the most diverse people also in terms of origin, culture, religion because everyone needs help to bring out the good they have inside! Jesus did not proselytize, but to those who wanted to know him he said: "Come and see" (Jn 1:46).
After him, the most diverse people can see him in the brotherhood lived by a few gathered in his name, by a few who go among the people in his name, by a few who believe that the Holy Spirit uses them to infect people with good. more distant people, abandoned places, the social fabric and so on. Fraternity lived humbly, with creative love, is diffusive, it restarts the good, it advances universal brotherhood which is the kingdom of God among us.

Rosanna Tabasso
SPECIAL: An Arsenal that speaks
NP June / July 2023

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