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Rafael María Hernández Urigüen, professor at ISSA and the School of Engineers - Tecnun

Society: in time to instill fraternal youthful encouragement

Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:37:00 +0000 Published in Palabra Magazine

During the past week, while the media continued to report on jihadist violence, the economic bailout of Greece and corruption cases in Spain, here in San Sebastian, more than a hundred university students finished selling tickets for the traditional Solidarity Concert they organize every year for Caritas.

They agreed on the program with the Orfeón Donostiarra and the prestigious music school Musikene, which brings together select students from all over Europe under the guidance of the best teachers.

The posters advertised the event as a solidarity concert for young people, and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was the star of the show.

Those responsible for the emblematic Kursaal designed by Moneo offered the students the possibility of occupying half of the capacity, but they could not get over their astonishment when young people between 18 and 20 years of age contracted the entire capacity, committing themselves to manage the 1,850 tickets.

A Romanian proverb states that nothing in life is easy: the dew is the sweat of nightingales that spend the whole night singing exhausted until dawn. The young university students went around the city every weekend offering invitations and asking for donations, enduring the downpours of the winter weather and the verbal showers of those who will never understand the essential role of Caritas and gestures of solidarity.

Last Friday, the 20th, those responsible for the Kursaal did not give credit to their eyes, because all, absolutely all the seats, even those of poor visibility, appeared to be occupied by a mostly young audience accompanied by families and people of all ages, yes, totally dedicated. As the applause rang out, the rain pounded the walls and windows of the auditorium and Schiller's verses took on a new meaning for me:

"Joy, daughter of the Elysium!

Your spell rejoins

what the world had separated

all men become brothers

there where your soft wing rests".

The joy that is the fruit of charity generates hope, it certainly unites and generates fraternity.

A few days earlier, Pope Francis' catechesis reflected on the role of siblings in the family. His teachings offered enlightening clues about the social role that the fraternal family experience entails for society and culture: "In the family among brothers and sisters we learn how to live together as human beings, how to live together in society. Perhaps we are not always aware of it, but it is precisely the family that introduces fraternity into the world! From this first experience of fraternity, nourished by the affections and the family Education , the style of fraternity radiates like a promise on the whole of society and its relations among peoples" (Pope Francis, Audience Wednesday, February 18, 2015).

I have found that university students have a high concept of family, perhaps the most highly valued dimension when we talk about it. Those who do not have siblings say that they have wished to have them, and that in the future, their children will be able to enjoy this good. Daughters and only children leaned on their cousins and later on their friends (the siblings who are chosen..., they affirm). Our culture demands this fraternity and its cultivation is worth the family effort and educational in all its dimensions.

The usual fraternity seen in gestures such as those that so many young people at the university have shown throughout this month to promote the solidarity concert shows that hopeful futures continue to open up, despite the cainism that unfortunately dominates the early stages of the 21st century.

Fostering fraternal experiences is the best investment for the future, and then Christian identity manifests the core of its most intimate truth, as Francis also pointed out: "To have a brother, a sister who loves you is a strong, priceless, irreplaceable experience. In the same way it happens with the Christian fraternity. The smallest, the weakest, the poorest must touch us: they have the "right" to take our hearts and souls. Yes, they are our brothers and sisters and as such we must love and treat them. When this happens, when the poor are at home, our Christian fraternity itself comes to life. Christians, in fact, go to meeting of the poor and weak not because they obey an ideological program, but because the word and example of the Lord tell us that we are all brothers and sisters. This is the principle of God's love and of all justice among men" (Ibid.).

From the university, the above must be accompanied by a commitment to study, deep reflection and cultural dialogue that will finally allow the ambitious goal that Pope Francis proposed at the end of his speech:

"Today more than ever it is necessary to bring fraternity back to the center of our technocratic and bureaucratic society: then freedom and equality will also take their just intonation. Therefore, let us not deprive the light hearts of our families, out of fear or fear, of the beauty of a broad fraternal experience of sons and daughters. And let us not lose our confidence in the breadth of horizon that faith is capable of drawing from this experience enlightened by God's blessing" (Ibid.).

Undoubtedly, freedom and justice encouraged by fraternity will acquire that "intonation" suggested by Francis, which evokes the first stanzas of the Hymn that Beethoven set to music and to which the young people vibrated during their solidarity concert:

"O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!

Sondern laßt uns angenehmere anstimmen,

und freudenvollere.

Freude! Freude!"

"Oh, folks, not with those accents!

Let us sing pleasant songs

and full of joy!"