St Paul’s words “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15) invite us to “make ourselves one”, to put ourselves “in someone else’s shoes”, as an effective way of living real love. When we put this into practice, we notice things starting to change around us, beginning with our family relationships, our schools, places of work and our local communities. With gratitude we discover how our love, when given freely and sincerely, sooner or later will be returned and become reciprocal.
A woman with a troubled past came to live in our locality. When we realised who she was, we did not want to have anything to do with her. In fact, we discovered she had murdered her own son, and had not been sent to prison because she was pregnant and suffering from depression. Our parish priest reminded us not to condemn her, but actually every time we saw her, it was extremely difficult not to think of what she had done. As time passed, helped by the parish priest, this woman became the measure of our capacity to welcome others. And with our sustained effort to “look at the other person through new eyes”, the whole quality of our community life improved. We reflected it was precisely through this woman in need and our mercy towards her that God was giving us an important lesson from the Gospel. And we received a real gift one day when, through her tears, she shared her story with us: all her sufferings and the violence she had herself endured. She thanked us because we had proved to her that love exists and that the world is not only evil as she had known it up to then.
(M.P. – Germany)
Supporting deaf and dumb children
Our institute is funded partially by the State and partially by our own efforts, through selling our own hand-made craft items. But there are always so many in need. One day the parent of one of our pupils came to tell us they couldn’t find the money to solve a serious problem. I took the last money we had and give it to him. Later that same day a visitor came whom we had never met before. She told us, “I saw the statue of Mary in your garden and stopped to pray. I respect what you do here, it is admirable. I don’t know what I can do for you, but maybe this will help”. And she gave us two bank notes totalling exactly double what I had given away in the morning!
(J. – Lebanon)
On a cruise trip
I’ve never known my mother to be healthy. She has always been unwell and for decades confined to bed. My father despite his brilliant and successful career, stayed close to her, ensuring she had everything she needed.
One day I was invited on a cruise trip and I accepted immediately, making any number of excuses to myself. On that trip, while my colleague was talking about his family, I realised that I had very little to say about my own, it seemed I almost felt ashamed of the ongoing suffering in my family. However, when he asked about my parents and I started talking about my father’s dedication to my mother, I found I was actually so proud to have a father like this, and I began to understand that suffering is of value. When I returned home, I immediately went to ask forgiveness from my parents, not so much for having left them to go on holiday, but because I had not been able to recognize that they needed me. With that “cruise trip” my life changed. And the last days of my mother’s life became a gift for the whole family.
(S.S. – Spain)
Early one morning in the kitchen, my wife and I were agitated over unresolved problems. We could see no way out and, as on other occasions, a furious argument was about to explode. I paused just for a moment and asked myself if all the promises I had made to God to make a new start were valid or had they all gone up in smoke? I went to my wife and, even if I did not find it easy, I asked her for forgiveness. Immediately, she responded, saying that she was the one to blame … By the time the children arrived in the kitchen, they found not only the breakfast ready, but their parents who were growing with them, striving to transmit to the children the right key to living well.
(R.H. – Slovacchia)
edited by Stefania Tanesini
(from Il Vangelo del Giorno, Città Nuova, anno V, n.6,novembre-dicembre 2019)