Greeting of mother Elvira
Twenty six years ago, no one was here. There was nothing, just a rundown house. Just look today: so many houses, each one of you, you are all a “house”, a mysterious “house” but also a joyful one, if we listen. We are never alone, let’s remember this, we are never alone in our houses; the house of our life is within us! We must be careful to let joy, hope, and forgiveness win, even if we have wounded hearts. I see many people who have followed us for many years now and they tell me: “Elvira, you always say the same things!” How beautiful! It is the truth. It is a truth that you cannot change, that continues to develop within you, in your friendships, in the people you meet, and it becomes a bigger house, and much larger house. I want to tell you that twenty six years ago I searched for a house, even for all of you. And now exactly on these days, the feast of our Mother Mary, the city called me to give me the keys to this house, so that I could look at it. It was surely not like it is today: beautiful, spacious... but we accepted what Our Lady promised us: a house, even if it was rundown, destroyed... In that moment, when they brought me here and I looked around, there was nothing finished, it was all in ruins. There were snakes slithering in the tall grass... and at a certain moment I looked around and a vision of what you see today came to me! Everyone else and the two nuns who accompanied me, said: “What do you want to do here!” They were worried to leave me there in the midst of all the rubble. Yet when I was alone, within me there was joy, serenity, and courage that even I did not even know where it came from! I pulled up my sleeves, never turned back and the Lord did the rest! Then, slowly we rebuilt the house, and we realized that the guys, themselves were being rebuilt: their minds and hearts, in love and joy, by encountering He who saved us. And now even you all have arrived, in your house, or rather, there are more that fifty houses around the world to welcome many young people, who need this encounter, who hope, who believe in love, who believe in friendship, who believe they can be good! Now there are many houses, made of bricks, to welcome them; but the most important house is the one in you heart, your house, where every once in a while we need to do a little cleaning. When do we decide to clean our conscience?! It is during confession! Confessing means cleaning within ourselves and opening up to He who purifies and renews us. We do this with much trust because trust in God bears fruit, it frees us! If you tell Him: “...it is true, I made a mistake... I was selfish... I think I am the prettiest... I always want to be the best...”, those things that we know we have to say, because they weigh us down; well then, if we confess them with trust, then we feel lighter, like you are “flying”, you are more serene and free, because are finally yourself, free from the chains of false pleasures... and it feels good! I see many faces here today... and what do you want me to tell you? Pa ta taa – pa ta taa... I have learned the language of children, you all try too! Above all when a child cries, you should stand beside them, bend down, look them in their eyes and then start to say: “Pa ta taa – pa ta taa...” with a smile on your face and in your eyes and then, slowly they will calm down. They observe you and then they will start to smile! A child’s smile is worth more that all the gold in the world, for this reason we are here: it is the Festival of Life, the celebration of your life, of yours and yours... of each one of you, the feast of the Father who is happy to have given true life to us, his children. Let’s sing a song, because as soon as I arrived, they told me: “Elvira come, look how happy they are!” Are you happy? Yes? Now let’s celebrate together with the God of life.