Sister Maria Gloria Riva

They are a cloistered nun; and if I am here it is thanks to a special permit.
What I am offering is a witness and nothing more. I wanted to start this way: with music and images. The music is well known, the anthem of Israel “qwh” = “Hope.” A hymn painful, because what I want to say in the opening of my speech is that Hope is painful.
The title of my speech is “born again with Hope.” The birth is painful, rebirth is not less! The other element of this introduction, you see, is the image.
The Cardinal Tettamanzi has left us this command: “Those who have eyes and heart to see the evangelical Hope.”
The image must be seen, must be seen. To be reborn to the Speranza must also look reborn. Image is another feature that is very important in our time: the image is contemplative and missionary; however, requires an openness and possesses a strength. Our world lacks contemplation and mission.
And for this I were talking about me with images; because, since I come from a contemplative experience, I want you to become a contemplation, a get, contemplate (= enter the temple), in the mystery of a lifetime.
It’s just the mystery of a lifetime that opens up to the Truth; because “it is something, as he said the prof. Sini, you come across, you do not own. “

Look at this picture of Fetting, Rainer Fetting, as it looks like. This picture says that they stole the Hope.
It’s a face made out of just eyes and eyes that no longer see; are pupil-less eyes.
The face is red, everything is red in the soul; a red stimulates, but without discernment. Think about whether or not we continually challenged, without discernment!
This was the adolescence of many of us, it was my adolescence; unfortunately adolescence boys today. A stimulus without pause for thought!
In the years after the sixty-eight were still ideals, perhaps mistaken, the prospects aberrant, but still ideals that pushed us toward something, which left open the crack of Hope. There are traces of these ideals in the face painted by Fetting; In fact, my eyes are green, one in particular, Green Hope, yet they are the eyes that no longer see, are eyes without light.
When the ideal is not supported by a truth is an ideal without light!
Hope remained in vain for us. Why is that? Because they have stolen the Infinite. “God is deadsang in my time, in my teens in the words of Sinatra. And today God is dead because he sings the chronicle of our times, she sings the absolute relativism of our world, sings the disappearance of true culture. Our world is disenchanted and disillusioned, without Hope.
I also tried my truth without God, faithful to the words of Sinatra that God was dead. I tried a Hope without God in the name of a free society, in the name of free love, in the name of free thought; and found only lies, very often lies. I found sometimes, and not infrequently demagoguery. And so was born the disappointment, as are disappointed and disillusioned many people today.
At the end of the school, each of us has the world in his hand; we have the tools, we have the life ahead, we have the youth. I, too, at the end of the school had the world in his hand. I worked with passion in a study of cartoonists and doing theater; I had the great opportunity in front of me.
But the question about God and faith had remained there in the classroom of my adolescence restless. I was now an adult, with a lot of knowledge, but without God. Myself I tried my truth without God; but the question about God and faith had remained there, “behind a syringe,” says Sinatra, had remained in the Absolute, a distant God, a God reserved for insiders, who were religious or not, and philosophers; but a God out of my daily horizon. I was now an adult, a company
adult we are, as we were reminded in these interventions. I was an adult with a lot of knowledge, but without God. Eventually even in a person so comes love, and when love is true, leads you, leads you to the truth. He asks you to commit your life, because a true love, a true relationship, sooner or later helps you to deal with the gift of you. It is not enough to receive love; when one embarks on a relationship that is serious, sooner or later is called to make something of himself, or rather to give everything of himself, to accept the other as it is, without trying to change it, without claiming to subject, without that looks like me, but trying to look like another. A love so difficult; when it is encountered, it is understood that you can not do without a gift that comes from above, because we are not capable, we are all very selfish and always want the world to look like us. Love is static by nature; wants you to look like another. Then you realize that you can not just remove the problem on the last things, about faith, about God, about this great force that it is love that has to do with the way our humanity, but that is different from us! Comes from above. One can not fail to come to terms with their roots, as we remember the professor. I was born a Christian, in a Christian family, educated in a Christian college; I could not do the atheist fashion or philosophy, you had to give an answer to that status Christian, on this basis, however, which had been built on my life, from others and not from me. You can not remove the problem, you have to start a search, exposing itself to serious real question, in short, I had to measure myself with my being a Christian. It is a time for all x in life, a decisive moment in a drama. And I want to describe it with these two tables of Bosch.

The first table expresses the desire of the origins that we carry inside.
We saw some pathetic scenes on nudists. I was at the airport, I was in New York, because I was just back from a trip to Mexico, and passed these scenes on some crazy nudists that have occurred in the square; and this made me reflect a lot I felt horrified that people faced with these images. But how strong is the desire to be naked, to be themselves, to be true, to be inside a freedom, in an almost primordial! And how strong is the desire of the origins and how strong is the desire of a pure love, absolute to the other and that my be replenishing the unity of the two; total in belonging to another I
complete, which makes me one, as John Paul II said: The truth of our being is the unity of the two.” Not the man or the woman, but the unity of the two; this is beauty. How strong is this desire! Let us all a love so … great, unique, enduring, eternal, fruitful. Who has not ever wanted in life?
This love is like the source that stands out in the table Bosch, Eden. It is there that aim, we want to get there, but the road is hard. We know that is the threat of corruption “as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour turns.” There are lions there, one devours the other, and are close to the source. You can not get to the source without going beyond, without knowing the imminence of these “roaring lions who go around looking for someone to devour.” We can not deal with the mystery of iniquity, which is within us and outside of us.
And so comes the time when we are called to look up, hoping it seriously, otherwise it is dark, the loss of sense … sometimes suicide, as it happens, unfortunately, to see!
And I started with this guy through whom I had met the love, I began a journey of discovery of this truth by putting the humble school of the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of catechumens, the initiates. A gospel humble, but powerful in the ad. The priest who guided me in this discovery began to speak of himself, of his journey; a priest that I looked at with suspicion, like all young people of my generation. But this was not a priest-mix, one of those “fired” as a child in the seminary, indoctrinated for years and tot coming out of the seminar without being able to be a priest because he knows nothing of life. He had been a boy like many others; one without faith, one who worked in the factory, one with the girl; one that said “I met Jesus alive and present today,” not a man who lived two thousand years ago, but a true, real calling you to a decision in front of which you can not be neutral: either say yes or say no! Or you’re white or you’re black, gray does not exist. It was an adult vocation,” as they are called. This testimony attracted me, even my heart like his, began to tremble with desire, I began to understand that life can be an adventure, not
something to design, to program, something that is in your hands, but something in front of which you have to let go in the current, accept the risk.
And after the great myth of Marx, the great illusion of communion between peoples, unity, supra, after the seductive secularism of Luther, finally something non-clerical !; after all these mirages that are part of my generation, I understood that there may be a proposal for a fascinating life, true, Catholic, Catholic !, simply in the sense of universal, in the sense of our own tradition, where faith is embodied in everyday life, where your humanity is not simply sublimated; something to behold, something to fix in the confession, your humanity taken and loved, with all that entails: you go to God with what you are, as you are, everything serves the Eternal Father, all that is authentically human, is authentically Christian; I would like to say authentically Catholic.
At such a time I had to deal with the Absolute, luckily for me, an Absolute carrying a simple name, daily, yet so terrible in death.

And while with my boyfriend warmed slowly to a real experience of faith, but after a trip to Lourdes had discovered the sacred space of prayer and liturgy, here’s the drama.
One Saturday night, as many young people in the car while we were going clubbing, going through an intersection with a green light on the other side of the road, a car at breakneck speeds has invested. For me it was the crash, first, then the silence and the dark, and into the darkness of death; but in the death of a great peace, a great peace. A death that with angel wings, just like in the other table Bosch, who with his wings you leads towards a goal, towards an addition that goes beyond this dark, unknowable. It was up to me to die, I was twenty! And it was the peace, the serenity was, it was the incredible certainty of a well, the certainty of an unbelievable lap that I would have received as well as I, in my poverty, my sin, my misery. My life passed before me like a movie; and this life is illuminated only one thing: “How much I had loved“, nothing more !, not rosaries, not masses, not many things, but how much I had loved for free. inside a
this darkness, suddenly, has made its way a little bright light, little that attracted me to him, just like in the afterlife vision of Bosch, there were death and drama on the one hand, but there was light and beauty other. In the eternal present in which I found myself was the deep pain of being dark. I wanted to merge with the light but I could not because I was darkness; that light was the love that gives itself, it was the pure gratuity, it was love for love. I was one who had loved to receive, “do ut des” = to receive love in return, look for the advantage, the result, profit. That made me different from God. God is love that gives itself; drama that have the light, beauty, hope, everything is there, within a light that calls you, who wants to merge with you and that you want, you want, and you’re stuck because you’re dissimilar, different, away from the truth that is really the absolute Truth, which is able to speak to you and to all men, to every man. That was the hope that never dies, that was the light that is given and Bosch describes souls as well, as discussed in this drama, surrounded by angels involved in the fight, this dialectic between good and evil, between the desire to get and the inability to do so. We are in the decisive moments of our existence. This fight was also in me. And here, in this drama is the awareness that we are playing for eternity. And you know how we play? If we choose the truth even against ourselves: Yes or No! we choose to be on the side of that light even though we are darkness, we know a good time that we were wrong, that we have misunderstood; and we must open us wide to a love and a truth that comes to us and cleanses us. Open your arms, and especially the heart, the truth that purifies the love that saves, the love that redeems us. And here comes the beauty, the beauty of discovering that yes we are meat, we are a fragment, we are a heavy heart, but we are deeply convinced that they are loved, thought, expected from a God who in his infinite essence loved this flesh, this thinking heart, that limit full power. I knew I loved her, thought, willed for this time and for this story.

It is not a hiccup our birth, is an extraordinary event of grace, that we completely agree but at the same time it requires absolute abandonment, because you are in what you receive from an Other, every day.
Then my life changed. No more ideology guiding me, but an experience, a life. Frossard said, “God exists, I met him,” this makes a difference; God exists not because someone told me, but because I have come across.
The experience gained in the course of the incident, however, was not enough, you do not need to life; so many people have done my own experience, had an accident, but has not converted or did not find God. simply an extraordinary incident in life. The basic life choices eventually decide on a daily basis. Singular events are just a call, an invitation, there are starting to be followed where the symphony of life.
And from here, from this symphony of everyday life arises Hope; otherwise Hope is not born, it is born from great opportunities but from small, everyday occasions of life.
In Hebrew, and I refer the hymn with which we began this intervention, Hope said he was “Tiqwa” and the word is built with the verbal root qwh,” which suggests the idea of ​​a rope stretched between two poles, between the past and future. Who is the man who has hope, if not the man who lives fully its present, who founded the roots in the past and therefore is capable of a future, it is able to design, is able to hope against hope.
With the many qualities that we want and we can assign the Enlightenment, with the few qualities that we attribute to the French Revolution, he had one major flaw: he cut with the past, has stolen the roots in order to live fully in the present with hope . Living my future in the light of the past reinterpreted and falling and in this sense relived; I reread a past that opens up to the present and then the future. This had produced in me the life review that the incident had done: a reinterpretation positive and clear about my past.
Look at this painting by Caravaggio. Even here there is a clear and positive reinterpretation of the past: a ray crosses the room of this painting and going to invest Matthew, the called.
It is a ray from the light well brighter than that which is visible in the window. The life of Matthew, in his past changers is put as bare by this radius. Notice the clothes of Matthew and his friends, all taken from their vices that are the root in money; these clothes, the clothes of the characters are the same of the contemporaries of Caravaggio. Caravaggio reads this scene in his present, and into the past of Matthew, Caravaggio rereads his experience, his past.
And Christ calls, call here with the clothes of the man of Galilee; the clothes of a man of the past but they have the ability to implement deeply my present. Christ calls us today, as he called Matthew, called Caravaggio. Christ calls each of us, and this call is a meeting that focused on Matthew, covered in its own way, the dramatic story of Michelangelo Merisi, but it also concerns me, also relates to each of you.
Christ bursts into life as light and called with a pointed finger, decided, however, not the accuser; is not right, it is as resigned. It is a gentle finger, is a delicate point, with discretion. Christ calls, but no non-violent: “He’s at the door and knocks,” as the Book of Revelation, and this is so discreet gesture of Jesus, Matthew is forced to repeat the gesture as if to make sure: are you calling me its not ?, to the left because it is so determined the direction of the finger of Jesus.
This being looked at in a personal and unique, “Just me” think … takes away from the despair of anonymity. I’m not a number, I am a called, he looked at me! It takes away from the serene indifference which disengages for life and this call is rooted in the certainty of having a mission for others. They are not called to my beautiful face, not better. What luck that I’ve had! I am called to be a gift, I am called to give me. Every gift is a great responsibility, you have to get naked, we are called to love, and a love so radical that asks us to commit all my life.
And the first to have understood this, that does not mean being be called principles, but be servants of others, the first to have understood is that Peter was the first to be called and, because he was called by Jesus to his turn calls. Peter repeats the gesture of Jesus next to Jesus; he stretches out his hand discreetly and gently stretch the finger in space without arrogance, just like Jesus, give the other the freedom of the response.
So I felt. Not crushed by a mandatory experience in front of which I had no choice; but invited, free to join a project; and not through things or events, but simply through the voice of the Church. Christ is still calling
today, right now, through Peter, through the Church; and Michelangelo Merisi, that I had understood.
The experience of the light of my path could not remain an isolated event; I had and I could find somehow that same light, the same force lived there, into the mystery of the Church. It is the Church, is Peter, who tirelessly repeats the gestures of Christ and makes present today in every man. This is the certainty and the uniqueness of the Christian event. The newspaper is fraught with mystery, for gestures that put me in contact with the Divine; so because God chose to become encounter, in a daily routine, such as the breaking of the bread, but in this breaking of the bread you get into another space, divine.
Christ lives today in the Eucharist, and the same light flashed for me on the road, I glimpsed again in this sacrament, intact, bright, and here Christ did not please himself became flesh, he did what, it is made bread. He did not want simply to be with us every day, he wanted to enter into a relationship with us, the only, the stronger also the sexual relationship which is the relationship of food, of which none of us can do without. This is the relationship that Christ has chosen us because he wants a meeting and a report totalitarian.
The Eucharist tells us that our love for God is called to spousal union, total, unique. From here, I understood that she is called to a greater Love. I had to give up a man, a family, to embrace the whole of humanity, and not as a shapeless mass, as we love all men without distinction, but how to act always in front of you a single, as God had met me on that road, such as a single you, in a thousand other great thou.
And this expresses the striking painting by Sieger Köder we go now to contemplate.
The washing of feet is focused around a single disciple.
Of course, Jesus has washed them all!

But in that meeting with only one disciple, there is mysteriously entered the match for everyone, including each of us.
Probably the disciple Peter still is; the others are a bit disappeared behind him, he still sees the bread and wine, because this is the deeper meaning of the Eucharist: the washing of the feet. Everything is consumed in a hug. The most important thing in life is contemplation. The biggest hug of human experience is
contemplate. There is no life without contemplation, there is no action without a meeting deep, unique, all-encompassing with a You that gives meaning to my life. Think about when we fell in love … if this meeting did not give you a sense of the whole of existence. There is no action without contemplation of this mystery.
The Eucharist has led me to prayer, which is this deep contemplation, that is not a get into our own self scandagliandolo, in an intimate way. Prayer is especially the prayer of adoration before the Eucharist. The Eucharist is, by its nature, ecstatic, something outside of us, something that attracts us, draws us, that makes us get out of our little borders to get into a Thou, great and infinite, which, while it gives meaning to our I, also opens us to hope that other you can participate in the fullness.
Only Christ saves and no one can save another man except through Christ, whether he knows it or not! This is the contemplative encounter with this Tu. This light has a name and his name is Jesus Christ. Anyone who sooner or later will meet, all those who meet death! Who is accustomed to the truth, whatever the creed he has lived, embrace Christ, with this big hug and fulfilling what was that of Peter with Jesus or with Jesus against Peter. So just from the contemplation of Christ’s face hidden and mysterious (as it is hidden and mysterious in the Eucharist) was born the mission. From here you become missionaries, otherwise we sell damaged goods that does not help anyone, who would die in our hands. The mission stems from a meeting, from an experience of contemplation. Köder fact does not allow us to see perfectly the face of the Lord, we see only a reflection in the water of the basin, in which, however, can be seen also evident and swollen feet of the apostle.
Going missionary of the Church is revealed in the hidden and mysterious countenance of Christ. A face not seen directly but through the dirty water, because the Church is a bit dirty water; But has this great power, to reflect the face of someone who is eternal.
For this reason my Institute, the Order of the Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, are contemplative and missionary. Located in the center of the city reveal that the only Hope, the point of reference of going big man is the Eucharist. Inside this city, in the midst of men who seek light, the worshipers are missionaries of a Presence, are indicator, they just say “learn again to watch”, because looking at the Eucharist we learn to look at the pictures in a new way. Let’s review God in the daily offering man a point of reference, the Eucharist, in the fragmentation of existence, to the absolute relativism that has taken certain points that are just there, only in this meeting. We offer once more, we who are so accustomed to the clock, which we have so little time, these people who have lost their temporal dimension, in the strict sense of the term, we offer another time, rejuvenating and serene, the time of the liturgy and praise. This is the message of hope that we do every day. From here we invite you to be born in the humble tub of our lives, in the dirty feet of our humanity can constantly see the face of eternity. The infinite embraces our short days; and from here flows the hope that never dies.

— original source: — translated into English by an online translator


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