Many of our Salesian houses are in the middle of this "world of suffering", as the Rector Major calls it, in places where violence has been increasing in all its forms, seen as the only way to express discontent and frustration in a society which is becoming ever less and less just.
Faced with this complex panorama of violence and injustice, we respond with an appeal that arises spontaneously from the depths of our hearts, and which aims to establish a more just and tolerant society.
This deep desire is called "Mercy". Pope Francis has spoken of its profound transforming power. He calls for "mercy to heal the torn relationships and restore peace and harmony between families and communities" and between nations. We and our communities are called to be "lighthouses of mercy" in a society that is sick with fear and pain because of so many offences and injustices.
Mercy is accompanied by the courage to go beyond our way of thinking and put charity at the heart of our human relationships, so as to overcome the fear that grips us and keeps us locked in our prejudices and categories, often built on false perceptions and ideas.
The Rector Major's invitation is for us to share the requests of young people, who are trying to build a more just society through the construction of community where human relationships and work conditions are shaped by mercy. It is a clear invitation to evaluate the style of our relationships and our goals not only in terms of efficiency and performance. This means measuring to what extent our works are seen as places of service and of positive and constructive relationships.
The Lord Jesus has already told us the way forward when he invited us to go beyond what seems humanly possible and to love not only those who love us, but especially those who approach us as enemies; to be open to dialogue as the only way to know and understand and at the same time to turn away from all forms of violence, discrimination and injustice.
A Salesian centre must be "a lighthouse of mercy" in every city where young people can look and see the values they dream of, and know that they can be achieved and defended.