The Easter message of Fra’ Marco Luzzago
Dear confreres and consoeurs, dear volunteers and supporters of the Order of Malta around the world, I wish you and your families a very happy Easter.
An Easter that for the second time is being experienced in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic, with celebrations being severely restricted and in an atmosphere of suffering and apprehension. We have a very difficult year behind us. My heartfelt thoughts are with those who have lost a family member or a loved one, those who have suffered the effects of the disease themselves. I am thinking of the many people who have suffered the consequences of a crisis that has serious repercussions on the work sector. I am also thinking of young people who have been deprived of the opportunity to experience a phase of their lives naturally tending towards knowledge and discovery of the world. I am thinking of the elderly who are isolated and deprived of affection.
Easter represents hope. The resurrection of Jesus reminds us that even in the darkest moments we must never lose faith. It always accompanies us, even when we feel lost. Christ’s hand is always outstretched towards us and his message is more alive today than ever before. This certainty should give us strength, energy and courage to continue to help those who are less fortunate.
Using words that are, as always, very moving, Pope Francis said a few days ago on the occasion of Palm Sunday: ” along the daily way of the cross, we meet the faces of so many brothers and sisters in difficulty: let us not pass by, let us allow our hearts to be moved with compassion, and let us draw near”. An exhortation to continue on the path of mercy, which we know well.
I would therefore like to thank our doctors, our volunteers, our members who in so many countries of the world continue to alleviate the suffering caused by the pandemic, renewing every day the founding motto that has ispired the Order of Malta’s mission for over 900 years: ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum’.
Many initiatives have been launched in these long months to support people in difficulty. Many existing projects have been converted to cope with the new emergency, while others have been set up from zero. New hospitals have been built; home care, psychological support and patient transport services have been launched. Commendable initiatives that go hand in hand with the contribution that our doctors, nurses and volunteers are making to the ongoing vaccination campaigns. Even in the face of this challenge, the Order of Malta has been able to adapt and find new ways to be close to those who suffer.
I would also like to mention the important effort our health workers make every day in complex scenarios such as the Middle East, which – in addition to years of instability – is now also struggling with the pandemic. I am thinking in particular of Lebanon, which is going through a very serious economic and social crisis, and Iraq, where the Order of Malta is working to build a future for minorities persecuted by intolerance.
Let us therefore continue to nurture trust and hope: I am certain that our efforts will soon be repaid. I conclude by recalling that for St Augustine, the Easter Vigil is ‘the mother of all holy vigils, during which the whole world remained awake’. This year this vigil takes on an even deeper meaning connected with the hope of a new tomorrow.