The day began with a cultural tour of the historic center of the town and later we shared food, songs, and games. WE ended with an interfaith prayer for peace.
The participants expressed that will always remember "the sharing and feeling brothers/ sisters of one another. A day of unimaginable joy and tenderness." They also said that "these experiences make relationships possible, where it is a gift to communicate the Good News of peace and fellowship with other cultures.”
Testimonials about the experience
The participants enjoyed the shared prayer to Allah and Father-Mother God. A photograph of Pope Francis taking his shoes off when entering the Mosque of Bangui (Central African Republic) had been placed at the site of the celebration: "Approaching another culture, another religion is not a mere ritual gesture or a simple inter-religious sign. The fact that Francis takes his shoes off in the context in which we live, in a country where violence between Christians and Muslims is evident, becomes an almost sacramental gesture." "Taking off one’s shoes means giving up our own in order to enter another’s space that is considered sacred," they said.
"When we say we give up what is ours we are not talking about losing any identity but understanding that the only identity that is common to us is what we have in front of us. What matters is the only ground we stand on, and in which we live, move, and have our being.
In our society we remain attached to a label, to a conception of community that is more identified more with the name of my group than with the essence." J. Palma, shared that "this kind of fellowship, inter-religious experiences must lead us to reflect deeply on what identity is; on what shoes we should take off to step on the only sacred ground: Compassionate Love."
It is moving to see that the mustard seed of the Teresian Association in Linares and Jaen gives meaning to people at a given moment of their lives and also to a group of volunteers loaded with tenderness and affection.
Through this experience we realized that what seems impossible at all levels may be possible and it has been a reality: people from 12 countries have lived and prayed together (Morocco, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Nigeria, Pakistan…) all in one embrace.
"We have seen and experienced something new, like a small light in the middle of the night, a small light called to join many other lights to fill the whole earth. On this day, again, we have seen a love that breaks boundaries and opens doors, calling us to build true peace, united as a family in diversity.”
"Peace is made every day. Peace is a craft, which is made with hands. Peace is made with one's life. How I can be a peacemaker?” These words of Pope Francis in his last trip to Africa questioned us. And seeing these experiences, we see that peace with capital letter is kneaded with tenderness, affection, realism, enthusiasm, everyday work, and opening the way for faith experiences, approaching the undesirables of society."
Maite Uribe’s Advent letter is made Life and Light in the faces of those with whom we live every day, in the relationships with other groups of Linares and Jaen; creating a network of solidarity and closeness.
“Every day let us look in detail at the different faces of our world from a global context to discover the wonderful miracles that occur daily in the social, economic, political and environmental world, and let us discern among them the signs of hope in the presence of God among us. This is our conviction, ‘a hope which makes us see, even in the midst of smog, the presence of God as he continues to walk the streets of our city ... Emmanuel, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God” (Maite’s Advent letter)
We want to continue accompanying excluded people, while we are also accompanied in this way with the certainty that God will continue to give us his light.
Happy Advent journey. Hopefully we will listen to the voice of the Lord and learn to give creative responses to build true peace and generate new life.
We conclude with a quote from Monsignor Santiago Agrelo: "I hope that in the border, in the light of faith, we always find the poor so close that they confuse us with them, that we may be one with them."
We are one with them.
ASC Poveda and Rajab Project