The Challenge of the Meeting: Man and the InfiniteThe XXXIII edition was presented last week in Rome. The Italian Embassy to the Holy See hosted a debate on this year’s provocation: witnessing that we can be true men in any circumstance.
“As always, starting from the title, the Meeting can capture that interior curiosity that is rooted in the human spirit and that attests to the religious nucleus of our being. A clear and convinced statement, not a doubt! But precisely because of this, it opens the mind to thinking which is something almost scandalous compared to the more familiar relativism of our days.”
These are the words of Cardinal Sandri, prefect of the congregation of Oriental Churches who spoke at the official presentation of the XXXIII education of the Meeting. Last Wednesday in Rome in the rooms of the Italian Embassy to the Holy See about 300 people were present to listen to the cultural challenge that the Meeting is proposing this year.
“The Rimini Meeting,” opened Ambassador Francesco Maria Greco, “is one of those exceptional events that make Italy venerated in the whole world.”
The international aspect was underlined also by Cardinal Sandri: “The Rimini Meeting has adopted an international horizon, that is, a universal perspective that speaks well of the relationship with one church for which its aspect of Catholicism is essential. Its openness to ecumenical dialogue and interreligious encounter confirms this.” The Cardinal concluded by leaving this wish to the organizers: “to intensely live Catholicism by following with love an infinite and eternal ‘Beyond’ that is from now more intimate to us than our own selves.”
The next speaker was Minister of Health Renato Balduzzi who pondered this year’s title and the relationship between finite and infinite: “There are difficult relationships between today’s finite and infinite, that is, between disenchantment of the world with its problems of doubts and uncertainty.” He concluded with the following wish: “Let’s tell the Meeting: fly high, not only for our country, by keeping together spirit and matter, or what we tend to oppose. With the right infinite we can better experience the taste for the finite. Not only for those who believe.”
Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs De Mistura also greeted the audience: “Someone said that the best way to delineate a profound initiative is by defining it in one word and I believe that when in Italy we say Meeting we can only speak of the Rimini Meeting.”
All these were heartfelt interventions from which the great task of the Meeting emerged: to exhort people to be true men, to a personal relationship with the infinite. The challenge posed is to begin a journey in order to gain a new gaze upon oneself and reality. “The adversities of our economic, social, and natural circumstances,” stated Emilia Guarnieri, “force us to ask whether our lives depend only on what happens or whether there is a solid starting point. This year’s Meeting does not limit itself to saying that we can start again from man, but proposes a challenge on the nature of man, stating that “man’s nature is relationship with the infinite.”
Man is worthy because what constitutes him precedes his physical and biological antecedents as it precedes the ethnic, historic, and economic circumstances that determine him.” She continues by saying: “Only the relationship with the infinite provides the basis for man’s right to freedom opening the horizon to a paradoxical evidence: that man is free in as much as he affirms a unique dependence, that from the Mystery from which all things originate.”
Special guest of the event was Ivan Caracalla from Lebanon, director of the Caracalla Dance Theatre, who talked about himself, his company, and the encounter with the Meeting from which many important relationships started. “We live in a world in which we have become slaves of modern technology and in which the sincerity of human relations has been transformed in virtual communication void of life. In this context the Meeting is playing a significant role, preserving the value of human existence and passing on a fundamental message: that one of the ultimate meanings of life is the unity of races and religions. The Meeting has become the “dialogue of civilization” that always ensures a continuity of hope.”
“An adventure of knowledge and personal enrichment,” declared in a concluding statement Bernhard Scholz, president of the Company of Works, in presenting the main themes related to society, international cooperation, and even neuroscience: “Man’s life is expression of his relationship with the infinite, in his work, family life, economic life, and even in his relationship with politics. Our actions are not determined by conditions. It is important to understand this at a time when everything seems to be affected by the crisis and the problems that concretely exist, but in order to ask ourselves what the resources are, we need to ask first of all who are we, where do we find the ability and therefore also the strength to change this situation for the better.”
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