Word and Presence of God

The Word plunges us into a Presence.

by Rosanna Tabasso


In August 1980 we were at the Melezet, a few kilometers from Bardonecchia, for a week of retreat. About twenty young people who thought of a monastic vocation, and families, the first of the fraternity. Father Mario Nascimbeni, a Carmelite, passionate man of God who had been introducing us to the spirituality of the Word for some time, was with us. And the Word was the theme of our retreat. We had been wondering for some time about how to read it, how to pray it. We did not know it, but we sensed that we had to dig it to find the source of living water. In those days Father Mario gave us the key that opened us to Scripture. It was a strong experience, starting with chap. 8 of the prophet Nehemiah: before the assembled assembly, Ezra and Nehemiah recalled the works of God in the history of salvation. The people wept because, remembering the events of the past, he felt that the same grace was given to him at that moment.

And so they returned to God wholeheartedly. For us too, those days were an unforgettable passage of the Spirit of God through Scripture, a re-reading of our exodus, a decisive step towards becoming a Fraternity of Hope. “Listen to Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one "(Deut 6) has since become a constant reminder to us: we have never left the Word of God. It has started to be the center of our daily life, of the Fraternity, of the life of the 'Arsenale della Pace and the new Arsenals; since then every open service, every meeting is in some way the fruit of an accepted Word. We waste many words, useless, banal, inconclusive words; they say "they are only words" precisely to underline that they do not translate into concrete facts. Instead the Word of God is a fact, because it always does what it says. It is not miraculous, it is placing a seed on good soil, watering it to grow and bear fruit in its time. The Word does not reconcile with haste, it asks to be accepted in faith, with the perseverance and patience that the farmer puts into caring for the seed, without being discouraged by the time it takes to bear fruit. Without burning the stages, the Word accompanies the growth of the Kingdom within those who welcome it, people and communities. Even the relationship of each of us with God the Father, with Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit has become more intimate and profound thanks to the Word.

It is from the Word that we learned to give You to God, experiencing his always being there. The Word becomes flesh, the Word becomes Presence. It is the path of those who educate themselves by praying the Word: the law calmly, carefully, meditates, transforms it into prayer and finally that initial Word reveals the Presence of God, imperceptible, silent, but real and effective. It was 1990. The Word was our life partner but as a Fraternity we continued to ask ourselves about our spirituality. How to make the most of our 24 hours a day, considering that most of us had a job, was busy from morning to night and even the Arsenal, which was to become a monastery, was a ruin and required everyone to work, work, work. There had to be a way! One Tuesday evening, during prayer, we asked Don Dario Berruto to help us find a synthesis of our spirituality. He called it "spirituality of the Presence", because the Word continually reveals God to us in us, with us. And from Word to Word the awareness of his Presence changes the quality of our life: every person, every gesture, every moment becomes sacred because God is there. Educating ourselves to remember it, during the 24 hours of a day, brings us to the heart of God, brings God back to the heart of the world, to the heart of history and restores the dignity as a creature of God to every person and every work of good.

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