Dear citizens of Slovenia, Dear fellow Slovenians at home and abroad. The hope that Easter brings touches our open hearts time and again. Every time as if it were for the first time and always the way that we need it most at that precise moment. We draw strength from Easter hope. We rely on it in times of difficult trials, while being conscious of the fact that there is no Easter without suffering, trials and renunciation.
The coronavirus pandemic has fully exposed our vulnerability and weakness. It has taken a toll on our health and unfortunately it has also taken many lives. It has confronted us with questions we were not prepared to answer. It has brought to light everything that we have been denying for too long, that we have been running from and sweeping under the carpet. All this has caught up with us so impetuously in the past year that we will only be able to asses and understand the ramifications after the worst will have passed.
The past year has taught us to really fully appreciate what we have. That difficult times can also provide an opportunity for a new beginning. That the steepest paths can only be surmounted if we believe in our ability to do so. It has once again been proven that as a nation we can only be strong and victorious if we are united and connected.
The year mostly spent in separation has brought us closer together in various ways. We have discovered what is truly important to us. What gives us strength, support, happiness and purpose to fight and get back on our feet every time we fall.
A great amount of suffering and sorrow has also brought a lot of good. In the past few months, the increasingly rare virtues of compassion and solidarity that have been lost in the haste of modern life have shone in all their glory. A great many people took it upon themselves to bear the burden of others to help them, thus adding something beautiful to this suffering. Darkness and pain were joined by light and relief.
In the year of the pandemic, the heartfelt willingness of many to help people in need has once again reminded us that we are never alone in difficult trials. That each and every one of us is precious, loved, and special in the eyes of God.
Let us celebrate this year’s Easter by being deeply grateful for all the acts of love and mercy through which God repeatedly addresses us and tells us that He is with us. Let us celebrate only with our closest family members. Together in prayer or thoughts, we remember all those who have said goodbye to us over the past year, all those who mourn for them, all those who are lonely, sick or old. May all the sacrifices, suffering and tears of the past year be transformed into the dawn of a new hope in the light of the Easter mystery. Hold on to that hope. Spread it and share the message of joy with everyone who holds a place in your heart, with your family, friends and loved ones.
Unfortunately, the epidemic is not over yet. On the contrary, according to all epidemiological data and estimates, we are at the beginning of the third wave caused by the new variants of the virus, so I ask you, fellow Slovenians, to abide by the measures taken to protect everyone, especially those most at risk. Protecting health and lives is our only goal. More vaccines will be available with each new day and only vaccination can stop the epidemic. I believe we will rise to this challenge as well. As we did to many others thus far. Do not lose hope. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Stay home. Stay healthy and brave.
I wish a blessed Easter to everyone in Slovenia and around the globe. God bless Slovenia.