I have seen hope

Publish date 29-12-2022

by Gian Maria Ricciardi

I have been to Lourdes after the Covid. I arrived on a warm evening watching a pink cloud sunset. The esplanade gradually filled up with flambeaux. I haven't seen so many in two years. Behind those lights in the night I finally saw hope again. She had the eyes of many people like me, with white hair, each one clinging to the light and shade of life, family stories, the joys and sorrows of children.

I heard the breath of someone who, perhaps, does not walk to church, but under the gaze of Mary and Christ so beautiful in Rupnik's mosaics on the facade of the basilica of the rosary, believes he believes, struck by the charm and power of a prayer so true in all languages u200bu200bof the world. Above all, I have seen whole families, young mothers and fathers with their children walking towards the future together.

And then that sea of candles, just beyond the cave of the apparitions and the inexhaustible source of blessed water. It was a bath of living reality that changes beyond the too many banalities that have filled this torrid summer. In the morning, at the cave, hundreds of pilgrims from all over Europe and, above all, from the East. Another sign to read? In a corner, near the stream, a beautiful woman with a trolley in tow who, with rare discretion, was crying. All around a thousand stories of lives crossed by the pains that all of us, perhaps, encounter. High up in the rock, the serene firmness of the Madonna with a gaze as beautiful as the image of her that is in the Arsenale della Pace, the Madonna with the three hands.

What struck me most, after 5 pm, was the Eucharistic procession and that endless series of wheelchairs, the old and blue ones of tradition, the new ones, motorized and the flow of suffering carried with dignity, pride, faith and certainty. In that really long line, among the colorful dresses of the Indian women, the scarves with the colors of the world, I finally found the breath of hope: that of those who still know how to dream, despite the hardships of life, the discomforts of illness, the veil of melancholy of too many misfortunes; that of those who stand beside the sick in the various uniforms of solidarity and do so with abnegation, with rare grace, with that kindness which, at the time of the pandemic, but even before, is difficult to find on the street; that of priests and nuns with the joy inside that is so difficult to find.

It was a set of stills which, perhaps in their own way, tell the world to come. A world that, albeit slowly, comes out of a great fear, that of ambulance sirens and the dead; the one that highlighted our fragility. There was, in that queue of people, a man who walked on one leg and no longer had the other, but a crutch and no prosthesis. Yet he prayed and praised Our Lady with incredible optimism. Then, like many, I understood that it is worth never turning off that light, sometimes bright, sometimes dim, that shines in the night of each of us and brings faith and hope in a world that can become more just, happier, plus "other". Yes, there are those who know how to hope beyond reality. Everyone POPE LUCIANI can try!

Gian Maria Ricciardi

NP Ottobre 2022

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