Friday, April 16, 2010

The absence of love

Currently I am reading the story of Immaculee Ilibagiza as she tells it in the book "Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust." When it comes to telling others about the book and its impact on my life I am speechless. My only response is: "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner." It is not an easy book to read because it recounts in great detail the unbelievable horror of the genocide committed by the Hutu people against their Tutsi neighbors in 1994. However, Immaculee's conversion during the ordeal is what has left me without words. She meets God during 91 days confined in a postage-stamp bathroom, wedged in with 8 other women. Her response to Him is amazing. It is a jolting story of the power of the Resurrection - a story of hope amidst great suffering.

It reminded me of a news item recently concerning Pope Benedict XVI's message to the 10th International Youth Forum in Italy. Theme of the Forum was "Learn to Love".

The Holy Father told the young people, "In his Passion, in his total self-giving, Christ has revealed to us the face of God that is Love. Contemplation of the mystery of the Trinity makes us enter into this mystery of eternal Love, which is fundamental for us. The first pages of the Bible state, in fact, that "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27). By the very fact that God is love and man is in his image and likeness, we understand the profound identity of the person, his vocation to love.

Man is made to love; his life is fully realized only if he lives in love. After having searched for a long time, St. Therese of the Child Jesus understood the meaning of her existence: "My vocation is Love!" I exhort young people present in this forum to search with all their heart to discover their vocation to love, as persons and as baptized. This is the key to the whole of existence.

In Rwanda, in 1994, the people were blinded by the lies of the Evil One and unable to understand their vocation to love. Even in 2010 we see the tragic fruit of hatred and the absence of love. Let us think about that during these Easter days as we rejoice in the world's greatest evidence of Love!

PS I found Imaculee's book in the local library.

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