Allow our lives to be a continual praise of God by acknowledging His love and the greatness of His works in our lives. This is what this Psalm invites us to do. It is the foundation of every prayer, especially when, by loving the brothers and sisters we meet, we understand the fullness of gratitude.
Concrete help for far and near
The war in Ukraine brought us apprehension and fear. In response to this wave of evil, when winter arrived last year, we and other friends of the parish worked to procure heavy clothing and generators and flashlights to supplement the lack of electricity, to be sent to our neighbours close to our border. But one thing led to another and looking around, we then extended this solidarity action to the poor of our town. Without realizing it, a division had arisen in our society that we hadn’t paid enough attention to before. Someone pointed out that it took the war in Ukraine to open our eyes. Today, in addition to continuing the collections for the victims of war, we also work for those closest to us who are in need.
(J.M. – Hungary)
In the waiting room of a bus station, I noticed a young, beautiful, elegant lady. Her face displayed signs of grim suffering. We got on the same bus. Then, at the train station, we bought tickets for the same destination. I made a bit of innocent conversation as we headed to our platform. Unfortunately, our train had just left; we had two hours of waiting ahead of us. I invited the lady to sit in the waiting room. Looking at her tense face, I put aside my problems and tiredness and decided to listen to her. While she talked to me about the trauma she had been experiencing for months, I found myself reliving an awful situation. I told her about it. Later, on the journey, our conversation was so intense that we didn’t realize that we had reached our destination. I tried to say goodbye, but she wanted to accompany me to the place where I had to go, so as not to interrupt our conversation. Her face had relaxed, her burden lightened. Then the goodbyes. Maybe I won’t see her again, but I’m sure that hope was born in her heart.
(RA – England)
Smiles help you keep going
I am a palliative care doctor. In the morning, it is nice to be greeted with a smile and the relaxed faces of those who the night before were afraid of how they would spend the night because of the pain: yes, everything went well, and I feel better too. It couldn’t be taken for granted: opiates are still feared drugs because they are little known and needed to be discussed in a transparent doctor-patient dialogue. I observed another sick woman, whose communication was limited to movements of the eyes. I asked her, “Are you in pain?” Closing her eyelids meant yes. I wondered: how did I not notice before? I proposed a treatment which she accepted. Her frown relaxed, her eyes smiled. When I find myself facing my limits every day, I stop smiling. In those moments, others (a colleague, a family member, a worker) are like my “mirror” and help me to look inside myself. I need a good dose of humility to learn to accept myself. But then I laugh at myself and, having passed through the cloud, I see the possibility of starting to love again.
(Paola – Italy)
Compiled by Maria Grazia Berretta
(taken from The Gospel of the Day, Città Nuova, year IX – no.1 September-October 2023)