Covid-19: Overcome fear and increase solidarity

Maria Voce, President of the Focolare Movement, at the “Elijah Interfaith Institute” in Jerusalem

“Everything that happens in life is directed  by an Author of history who is God, and God wants the good of people […] So even if  sometimes  it seems the freedom of human beings  leads to negative consequences, God is capable […] of bringing  good  even out of these negative situations”. According to Maria Voce, President of the Focolare Movement, this is the greatest lesson  that the Covid-19 crisis can offer.

In an interview with Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein, director of the “Elijah Interfaith Institute” in Jerusalem, the President of the Focolare Movement also speaks of the possible benefits that the pandemic can bring to the world.

The interview is part of the Coronaspection project, a series of video interviews with religious leaders worldwide, sharing wisdom and spiritual advice as we jointly face a global crisis (here you can see the project’s trailer, which summarizes the spirit of the project).

“There are values that are more evident than others at the moment – says Maria Voce -, such as solidarity, equality among all, concern for the environment. The world will come out better from this crisis if we know how to overcome the divisions linked to prejudice, to culture, to see everyone as brothers and sisters  belonging  to the one family of God’s children.

This certainty is based on a profound  trust in the human person: ” there is always a spark of good in every person  and you can count on  it”; a person  responds “because ( good) is  inherent in him/her”. It is an inner conviction that stirs hope: “God is Love and loves all creatures”.

She continues ” In fact, it is enough to look around to see examples of solidarity. The efforts of doctors and nurses who try to awaken  trust, a smile, and their pain for the people they failed to save, have had the effect of “edifying” the patients who recovered.  In our Movement many people were able to make themselves available for  their neighbors,  to bring them what they needed; many children offered toys to  others that were a comfort to them”.

At the level of international relations – observes Maria Voce – “we see examples of solidarity in those  doctors and nurses who have come to Italy from other countries to help. […] Even at the level of economic thinking, we are trying to do everything so that countries do not think only of defending their own goods but of integrating their own vision with that of other countries”.

Nevertheless all this does not hide the challenges that the crisis brings. Alongside the personal ones she says there are those that come from leading an international movement: “making decisions that involve difficulties both on a personal and economic level.  I felt I had to call my direct collaborators, so that decisions could be shared, so that people’s interest would prevail over all other interests”.

She observed “Even fear should not be ignored, but accepted in order to overcome it: I would say that we should learn to live with fear and at the same time not to let it stop us – following Chiara Lubich’s example – “to  remain anchored in the present. She concluded, quoting the founder of the Focolare Movement, ” Only lovedrives away fear, and there is no fear where there is perfect love. So increasing love diminishes fear because love helps you to carry out actions that fear, instead,  would try to condition “.

To watch the full interview click here

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