The strength of the Fraternity

Publish date 30-08-2020

by Arsenale dell’Incontro

A few days ago Ernesto Olivero, referring to the Arsenal of Peace at the time of the coronavirus, said in an interview: "We are apparently closed, but we are open 24 hours a day". His words were like a mirror of what we are experiencing here at the Arsenale dell’Incontro.
Several times in these days we have felt a certain difficulty in finding the right words to answer those who ask us for news. In concrete terms, our life has changed, the Arsenal is apparently closed, the children and young people who normally live there are in their homes and the other services we carry out are also stopped, in a lockdown that promises to be still long.

This is why it seems difficult to answer, there are no big news: we continue to keep in touch with students, families, people who in various ways are linked to the Arsenale, we pray, we live fraternity, we rearrange, we take care of the spaces of the 'Arsenale ... yet, there is something more, not immediate, to be explained in a few words. Despite the fatigue that affects everyone in this time, we are accompanied by a particular serenity, a sense of fullness beyond everything.
And we must admit that this feeling has asked us: are we isolating ourselves from what is happening in the world? From the sufferings of so many? From the questions about the restart and the future? No, we are not closing, we are always open ... but the question remained a bit suspended.

Then April 17 was the birthday of Maria (Ernesto's wife) and two of her characteristics helped us to better read this time: serenity even in the most difficult times and her always saying to us: «Let's pray!».
Looking at her example, we can say with certainty that the life of the Arsenal of the Encounter at this time can appear closed, firm, as perhaps Mary's life might have seemed to unwary eyes. In reality this closure, this being "still" is opening us to that "let's pray!" that Mary taught us well. The heart of his life was contained in that invitation, the heart of a life that flows silently, but deeply. There is all living in the Presence by loving, serving, giving back to the brothers, carrying the world in the heart, living fraternity as loving each other and truly loving each other.

All this is rooting us in the most authentic sense of our presence here: a discreet presence, of closeness to the people, inhabited by another Presence that gives meaning and fullness to everything. We believe this is why we haven't felt empty, not even one day.
We thus rediscover the beauty of living in houses such as the Arsenals, which through different services, always remain open to a Life that flows in different ways and depths that can escape less attentive eyes, but not hearts.

Meeting Point Arsenal
NP May 2020

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