In the same spirit of hope such as of those posters glued to the storefronts of closed stores in Bergamo and then throughout Italy, chanting the refrain "Tutto andra bene" (everything will be fine), a young French nun living in Milan posted a wonderful message of hope, using for Hope the Italian word La Speranza
La Speranza, in Italy these days, it is the clear and clean blue sky, it is the sun shining obstinately on the deserted streets, and breaking with its smile into those households that learn again how to become families.
La Speranza, it is these anonymous signboard-post-its written by hundreds of people that began covering the closed store fronts to encourage all those small traders overwhelmed by a dark future, in Bergamo first, then, like a wave of hope - viral too - in Lombardy before reaching out to all of Italy: "Tutto andrà bene" (and how not to think of these words, from Jesus to Julian of Norwich "... ma tutto sarà bene e tutto finà bene"... but everything will be fine and everything will end well).
La Speranza, it is that stronger life and the spring which forgets to mourn and fear, and advances inexorably, making green the trees and the birds singing.
La Speranza, it is all those exemplary teachers who in a few days had to become creators so to reinvent school, and bend over backwards to bravely face the preparation of their courses, online lessons and distance corrections, while cooking lunch with two or three children crossing their legs.
La Speranza, it is all these young people, who after the first days of unconsciousness and carelessness, of euphoria for unexpected "vacations", regain a sense of responsibility, and we suddenly discover how much they know to be serious and civic when they have to, without ever losing their creativity and a sense of humor: so, every evening at 6 p.m., there is a flash mob for everyone ... a special flash mob. From window, everyone at home, all the cities will hear the Italian hymn ringing from every house, and then every night another popular song, sung in unison. Really, perilous moments unite.
La Speranza, it is all those parents who redouble their ingeniousness and creativity to invent new games to share in the family, and other initiatives to save for all those “mobile-free” moments, so that the screens cannot snatch from the family all the Kairos-holy time freely offered.
La Speranza, it is also - after an initial explosion of the most basic survival instincts (frantic shopping at the supermarket, a rush on masks and disinfectants, exodus to the south at night…) - the students who, in the midst of all that, kept their calm, responsibility and civility... who had the courage to stay in Milan, far from their families, to protect their most vulnerable regions, Calabria, Sicily... but moreover who stand firm facing another primary instinct of condemning and pointing the finger, full of rage or envy, at those who did not have the strength to see themselves isolated for a month, far from their families, and who fled.
La Speranza, it is that policeman who, during the "self-certification" checking, happening on a nurse who is bound up with their turns of duty and returns to the front row, bowed before her, and moved said: "Massimo rispetto".
And La Speranza, of course, it is all turned to all the doctors' "camicia verde" and to all medical personnel's dedication, who exhausted in overwhelmed hospitals, go on steadily in their fight. Behold, all people these days consider them the true " Fatherland's angels".
However, La Speranza, it is also a life beginning in the midst of this turmoil, that little sister of mine who, while the Stock Exchange is sinking, gives birth to little Noah in a country not two steps from here. At this time and tide, everyone is withdrawing into his own Ark, for "survival", not of the species on this occasion, but of the most vulnerable.
And, above all, here is La Speranza: it is these rich producing countries, that Europe we believed was so readily to get rid of our old people, we thought cynical in the face of the most Precarious in health for euthanasia... Behold, these countries are suddenly becoming defenders of life, of the most fragile, of the least productive, of the "bulky" and a burden on the “princely-system”, in the midst of the (in)famous pension problem...
And there we are, look at it, our economy on its knees. Kneeling at the bedside of the oldest and most vulnerable. A whole country steadily still for them...
In this special Lent, a new road map bursts forth: the desert crossing, the prayer and rediscovering the Eucharistic hunger. That life so many thousands of Christians around the world live daily. Let wonder be uncovered. Let our routines be gone…
And in this overwhelming fog, let’s navigate by sight, relearn confidence, the real one, the surrendering to Providence.
And let’s learn to stop too. It took this tiny virus, invisible, derisory, and laughing at us, to slow down our mad rush.
And in the end, there is the Easter hope, the victory of life at the end of this long Lent; there will be also an explosion of unearthed embraces, of affection gestures, of a long-awaited communion, after a so long fasting.
Then we would say with Saint Francis "Laudato sì, my Lord, for fratello Coronavirus, who has taught us again humility, the value of life and the value of communion!"
Courage, do not be afraid: I have conquered the world! (Jn 16, 33)