"Everyone who follows me will have a hundredfold on earth"

Notes from the assemblies with Fr. Julián Carrón and the European English-speaking communities, which took place 8-9 January 2021, via video connection.

Julián Carrón. Hello everybody, good evening and Happy New Year!

Ettore Pezzuto. The title we propose this year is: “Everyone who follows Me will have a hundredfold here on earth” – whatever the given circumstances may be, including the Covid pandemic and its dramatic consequences that we are all living now.
Who follows Me” – this Me, of course, is Christ. He came into our lives and continues to knock at our door. Follows, meanwhile, is the key word, the word we want to keep in mind during these days. Following is a decision we must take every day, as Julián Carrón has said this year during School of Community: “Being children is a decision that one must take”. Thus we want to verify together if it is possible today, in the dramatic new context that the whole world is facing, to live faith, to experience the hundredfold.

Hello Julián.
The past year has been dramatic, primarily due to the Covid crisis, with all its consequences for each of our daily lives. But this big crisis has helped me, in a way, to look at life a bit better in all its difficulty. During this year, I have also noticed something about nihilism. This is a topic we often speak about and it usually does not enter our lives as total meaninglessness, or as a suspicion that reality is entirely inconsistent. Rather, nihilism enters almost imperceptibly, but inexorably, whenever I let even just a small part of my daily life be useless, or meaningless. Nothingness enters through small parts of my life, parts I do not care about, “pieces” that I do not judge as they do not seem interesting, or important. Letting these “pieces” be meaningless is what allows nothingness to enter and spread. What attempts have I made to face this “life that cripples a man” (Pavese)? Basically, either “doing things” or “resting”. What have these attempts yielded? As we know from experience, doing things in order to fill our emptiness only makes us tired, unsatisfied – the opposite of the “tirelessness” promised by the Christmas poster. And what about resting? I made (once again) the discovery of what Fr. Lepori once said, namely that “one rests not by resting, but by following Christ”. To rest, to have “time for yourself”, in itself does not restore you at all. I was very struck by something you said to the university students during their Spiritual Exercises in December: “The problem is not the illness one has – there are many people who are not sick and who are tired of living. The problem is, rather, to find someone who makes life life”. Whatever I have understood in my life, whatever my circumstances are, only when I let someone enter (again) - someone who is able to make my life life – can I get up again, now, with the “magnificent consequences” of “respect for what you do, precision in what you do, loyalty to your concrete work and tenacity in persevering to the end”. I have already found this Someone. I have already experienced what letting Him enter yields. Today, for me, the question is about learning to be so loyal to my experience – to every little part of it, not allowing even the tiniest part to be meaningless – as to be almost forced (by experience itself) to give Him the opportunity, the space, to speak to me; to let Him enter every day, every moment my heart is aroused, however it may happen.
Thank you for the opportunity to see that more clearly and desire it more, and for this new year that is given to us.

Carrón. The most important thing for us is to recognise the utility of what happens in our life. Even what we may consider a mistake, something useless, a piece of reality through which I cannot experience fulfilment, may become helpful. What we are trying to learn, as you underlined, is not just how to avoid mistakes or failures. It is, rather, how to live a full life. If we look at our life with this gaze, we can experience that everything that reminds us of the goal of life, everything that helps us learn something, is ultimately a grace, an opportunity [...]

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