Meeting in Vilnius

Letter to a young Lithuanian

From 1 to 3 May 2009, the meeting in Vilnius has brought together 8 000 young adults: from the three Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia), from neighbouring countries (Poland, Russia, Bielorussia, the Scandinavian countries) and even farther a field. During the meeting, Brother Alois has published a “Letter to a young Lithuanian”. Why to a young Lithuanian in particular? He explained: “To express our gratitude and to keep a heart felt link with the young people of this country who have welcomed here us so well.”

A mother from your country wrote: “Lithuania is oscillating between hope and skepticism.” With you who live in the land of Lithuania, I would like to look for what tips the balance towards hope.

I cannot forget the arrival in Taizé, in 1989, of the first young people from this dearly beloved country. After a long period of time when we were cut off from each other, a new freedom brought enthusiasm to us all.

To each people God gives unique gifts: to you, a beautiful simplicity in welcoming, a faith that perseveres and that nourishes hope, even in the darkest hours.

“God is love”: these words of Scripture (1 John 4:8) allow you to go far. By trusting in this love you find the source of hope. Not a facile optimism that closes its eyes to reality, but a strong hope that casts its anchor in God.

“God is love”: he understands everything in you. Have no fear; open yourself and try to understand others in your turn. Christians in your country have always known that Christ is mercy and Mary “mother of mercy.” This love, which is kindheartedness, can shine out in your life.

I have gone on pilgrimage to the “Hill of Crosses”. Very humble, it is a sign for the whole of Europe and beyond. The mystery of the cross has marked the history of your country and awakened again and again the ability to find the courage to live in the risen Christ.

Today more and more people find it hard to believe in the resurrection. Believing in the merciful Christ, in his presence even though invisible, believing that, through the Holy Spirit, he dwells in our hearts, is the risk to which the Gospel invites you. Dare to rely on that presence. Then the resurrection of Christ gives new meaning to your life, and kindles a hope for the world.

The courage of Mary Magdalene inspires you. She, a woman all alone, dared to reach out to others to tell them the incredible news: “Christ is risen!” She knew how to communicate God’s love by her life (John 20:11-18).

You, too, are asked to live and communicate what little you have understood of the Gospel. And then something surprising will happen: by communicating the mystery of Christ’s resurrection, you will understand it better and better yourself. In that way this mystery will become more and more central in your life.

With many others, you are called to build a future of peace.

You belong to a people able to build bridges: between Western and Eastern Europe, between the generation of yesterday and that of tomorrow, between the Lithuania of the past and the one that is now coming into being.

Yes, you can contribute to a culture marked more by trust than by suspicion. Be a bearer of friendship where you live! Go towards other! Go towards those who suffer! What changes the world is not so much spectacular actions, but daily persistence in human goodness.

My brothers at Taizé and I go forward in deep communion with you.

Brother Alois

Vilnius, 2 May 2009

Last updated: 3 May 2009