Government Covid poster (Photo: B.O'Donnell)

Australia: The courage to say "I"

Notes from an assembly by videoconference with the Sydney community discussing the title of the Meeting of Rimini 2021.
Cecilia Trianni

When the pandemic hit, Australia was no different to other countries, and a period of emergency kicked in. Even though there were rigid closures of international and national borders, after the first few weeks the pandemic seemed far away and the so-called normal life went on in New South Wales. This changed when in June 2021 the Delta variant spread across the community and a four-month lockdown was initiated, imposing homeschooling and strict restrictions on all activities. This circumstance generated several conversations between the friends of the CL community in Sydney about the relevance and the role of our faith in this unique time.

The way we had to relate with each other, both between friends, colleagues, as well as in our own families and relationships, necessarily changed. In most cases, relationships, often driven before by rushing across various activities and to-dos, seem weakened. Unfortunately, in many people, including ourselves, moments of apathy and boredom alternate with fear and anger, while the zest for life seems destined to succumb.

By continuing to reflect on our daily experience, we ended up asking ourselves the same questions that were the foundation of Meeting of Rimini 2021 edition: what is the relationship between the “I” and ourselves, between an individual and one’s community, between a person and the society? Can the desire to live fully and to deepen our own relations still make the “I” of each one of us vibrate?

Among many interesting and inspiring talks at the Meeting of Rimini, it especially struck us Javier Prades’ talk on "The Courage To Say I". Prades, by using examples taken from various arts and literature, well describes how we, as modern men, struggle to find a relationship that sustains us. We can end up being "none" or "one hundred thousand" (as from the tile of one of Pirandello’s famous novels), we can have omnipotence delirium or feel extremely sad. Yet, there is a different opportunity to be fully happy, where the "I" needs to be in a relationship of love: “We have been loved and we are loved; this is why we are".

One mentioned that, quite unexpectedly, she has been awaken by the presence of her children at the breakfast table and their smile upon finding cookies prepared for them, as a sign that they were indeed loved, and their reliance on this love to face their circumstances, such as not seeing their friends for weeks or having to do all lessons online. This fact has awaken the conscience that happiness is not dictated by current circumstances, but of the love received.

Another contributed highlighting how in his life there is only one relationship that meets this criterion, the Relationship with God, the Relationship with His body on earth this is the Church, in particular in the faces of this company, of your friendship.