“My father passed away when I was 14. My mother, who was much younger than he was, gave us children much grief. She was often out with friends drinking, and she eventually left us for someone who divided his time between her and another family.
After my siblings married, I found myself living alone, blaming my mother for all my pain. I could not forgive her. Yet I still called myself a Christian. I thought about the fact that she could not give me something she had not received herself. I realised it was up to me, since I had received the grace of the Gospel, to take the first step. It was a slow process. I started by calling her every so often, visiting her with small gifts and praying for her.
Once I had felt like a victim of circumstances, but now I discovered that true happiness lies in loving without expecting anything in return. Even my relationship with her partner became more and more peaceful, and I try not to judge. Now I am the bridge between my siblings and my mother, and I’m sure that little by little they will come back to her.” (Alenne, Brazil)
The cup of tea
“I was in a cafe’ when I noticed an elderly lady asking for a cup of tea. She was quite poor, and the owner, thinking that she wouldn’t be able to pay, refused to serve her.
I didn’t have much change in my pocket, but it would have been enough. I thought it was what Jesus would have done, so I said to the owner, “Give her the tea, I’ll pay.”
To my surprise he answered: “That wouldn’t be fair. Your generosity helped me understand that it is much simpler for me, as the owner here, to offer it to her.”
Taking the first step was all that was needed!” (John Paul, Pakistan)
A hundredfold of love
“For a number of years I’ve been working at a rehabilitation center, mostly with young people who, despite their vulnerability and suffering, are fighting to get back to a normal life.
We work together in the kitchen each Thursday to prepare lunch. I thought I was being useful for them, but instead I’ve experienced that the love I give always comes back hundredfold.
I understood that if we make an effort to welcome others as they are, with their weaknesses and painful histories, as Jesus would with a merciful eye, we can experience hope for a more peaceful future.” (Graziella, Italy)
Forgetting my shortcomings
“When I speak in public, my hands shake and my head gets a bit foggy. I tried to accept this and instead try to do something tangible for others.
I started with small gestures, like helping my mother with the housework, or my siblings with their homework. Or I call my grandmother, who lives alone, and I go to visit her, bringing her some flowers or something sweet. At university I try to give a hand to those who are not as successful with exams.
By doing this, my life didn’t just change, but I practically forgot all about my shortcomings.” (M., Germany)