The Wishes of a Cardinal
Publish date 21-12-2022
At 48, Cardinal Marengo is the youngest member of the College of Cardinals. Last August 9, while awaiting the consistory with which Pope Francis elevated him to cardinal, he visited the Arsenale della Pace leaving the people of Sermig an intense testimony on the themes of peace and mission.
What do peace and mission mean to him, a Consolata missionary for almost 20 years in Mongolia?
With great affection for the people who welcomed him, Father Giorgio recalls that: «In the 13th century war was waged in Europe while the Mongols managed to coexist peacefully. In the ancient capital of the empire, Karakorum, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians of Syriac origin, Nestorian, Taoists, followers of shamanism and other traditions coexisted peacefully». In a country of over 1.5 million km2 (almost 5 times the size of Italy) and with only 3.3 million inhabitants, the Catholic community has about 1,450 Mongolian Catholic faithful, accompanied by around twenty priests and 35 nuns, from from 24 different countries and 11 congregations. A small community which, within a vast country with a great history, needs to understand the meaning of its presence and the role it can play within society: «We are there as poor servants of the Gospel, with the desire to proclaim it and live it".
"I am very fond of a phrase of Saint Seraphim of Sarov which said: "purchase and preserve inner peace and thousands around you will find salvation". San Serafino lived twenty years in the forest and this condition allowed him to have continuous contact with the risen Christ who completely transfigured him. He was a kind of Saint Francis who lived between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with one difference: while Saint Francis spoke to wolves, Saint Seraphim spoke to bears. Anyone who met him – a prince, a tsar, a peasant, a beggar, a pilgrim – was touched by this man who repeated: “My joy, Christ is risen”».
«The peace we seek cannot therefore be understood only as a political equilibrium; the peace we desire is the peace that derives from this encounter with Christ which makes us authentic peacemakers. What we try to live as missionaries is to acquire and preserve inner peace so that thousands around us find salvation".
"Acquiring and maintaining inner peace is not an abstraction from reality, because the peace that Christ brings us is the peace that we can experience even through suffering, doubt, pain, illness. Peace is not alienation, but it is the encounter with the risen Christ on our journey. At that point, we will then also be able to bring about peace between states, the peace that the peoples of the whole world need". Especially in a time like this.
By the editors
NP October 2022