“… May not even one of these little ones be lost”

“… May not even one of these little ones be lost”

On the occasion of the World Day for the Rights of the Child, promoted on the anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and of the Adolescent (November 20, 1989), a day of prayer and action for children, with the theme of Stop the violence against children was held. The Rector Major invited us to strengthen our commitment to an education without corporal punishments.

Many FMA and educators from every socio-geographic region in which we live and work could tell true stories of little ones, adolescents and young adults who share with us first hand experience of the suffering in which they are constantly immersed. The figures we read in institutional reports are not just numbers, they have a particular resonance. In them we read names that we know and have called, eyes that look up with dignity, sad faces that search for concrete gestures of hope, hands that beg and hold tight to a presence that is close… young, resilient lives that entrust themselves to those who welcome and love them.

It is a life made up of silent tears for the harm that is being done, a life made up of gestures of hidden and true courage, with many steps taken to search for, approach, meet, listen to and wait, in difficult situations of discrimination, violence, abuse, illness, exploitation, growing misery, ecological disorder, war or hunger, or the lack of parents, houses, instruction, health, the joy of living fully as children and of really being such.

One strong Gospel phrase sustains us: “This is the will of your Father in heaven: that not one of these little ones should be lost” (Mt 18,14). This urges us on to prayer and to action, which are always indispensable tools, especially today, for the support of children and adolescents. Genuine and essential prayer, which goes right to the heart of problems and persons, and decisive, courageous action to deal with the causes of the problems that block a healthy and happy childhood. Action that is networked so that efforts may be multiplied to provide an adequate response to the dramatic experiences of too many children and adolescents.

We know well how powerful the now globalised trafficking of drugs, arms, laundered money and human persons is, especially today. These are truly “sinful structures” that impoverish and steal the life and hope of too many minors and the future of humanity.

What a challenge it is to help the person to be more a person, able to possess oneself in order to open oneself to the objective knowledge of reality, to the recognition of oneself in truth, to an autonomous choice of values, to trustful interaction with others and with God, in a fruitful exchange of mutual love.

In the Guidelines for the Educational Mission it states that “the challenge, for those who want to communicate love for life and hope in a better future, is to commit themselves personally and constantly to grow in humanity, authenticity and service to young people”(75). Effectively, only adults with a harmonious personality that generates peace and welcome, capable of appreciating the gift of every life, will have the strength to attempt something new to serve the lives of young people rather than exploit them, and to continue patiently to sow seeds, knowing well that the fruit will always come, even if in future seasons. Experience teaches that placing ourselves humbly and attentively at the service of humanity, especially of those who suffer most, we will fulfil our vocation to love authentically.

Elena Rastello

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