Living the Gospel: make ourselves one

“To love in a Christian way we must “make ourselves one” with every neighbour […] We can enter as far as possible into their hearts and minds in order to truly understand their needs and share their sufferings and joys. It means ‘bending towards’ others, somehow becoming them, making ourselves them. This is Christianity. Jesus became man, he became like us to make us like God. In this way, people feel understood and supported” . (Chiara Lubich)

Pupil to be excluded
One of my colleagues confided in me her concern about a particular pupil we both taught whom she felt should be excluded from school. I asked her if there were any subjects he was doing well in: “Shouldn’t we try to help and support him?” She started to change her viewpoint: “Well, he’s actually quite good in some subjects”. Together we discussed what we could do for him. We invited the pupil to have a chat with us and explained the situation. Within a few weeks, things changed in a way we could never have imagined. One day, when I was with that same colleague, she said to me: “This story has also done me good with my children. I was awfully angry with the eldest one who wastes time on his guitar and neglects everything else. After the effort we made with this pupil, I started encouraging my son and one day he sang me two poems that he had set to music. It was a complete surprise to me and my husband but his siblings, knew how talented he was. When you do something for someone, your heart dilates and you see things you didn’t see before.
(C.A. – Poland)

Wife and mother-in-law
One of my friends shared with me how hard it was for him that his wife and mother-in-law didn’t get on: their quarrels and resentments were affecting the whole family and the children were suffering because of it too. I listened to him for a long time. All I managed to say was not to take sides but to listen to both of them. I also tried to stay close to the family by offering them cakes or other gifts. After some time my friend came to see me at work. Everything had been resolved in a most unexpected way. “It was the way you listened to me that gave me the strength to do the same”.
(J.F. – Korea)

Give and there will be gifts for you
I had recently offered a homeless man the bottle of water that I used to fill every day and take with me in the car. One day, feeling thirsty, I stopped to take a drink at a fountain but it was proving very difficult: a bottle would have made things much easier but of course I had given mine away. Just as I was leaving, an elderly gentleman who was putting some bottles in his car asked me if I was thirsty. “Yes but as you can see, I can’t drink from this fountain”. At that moment, wanting to make me happy, he gave me one of the bottles he had just put in his car. This filled with joy because it reminded me of the phrase “give and there will be gifts for you”.
(R.A. – Albania)

The strength of a friendship
One day as I speaking to a friend from the parish, I was surprised to hear her say I should give more time to my family. What would she know? She’s not even married was my first reaction but her words turned around in my mind. I started to think about my relationship with my four children. Everything seemed to be fine but… something wasn’t quite right with M. One day he was listening to music in his room, so I decided to go in with some excuse and asked him what he thought about a certain matter. After a while he just broke down in tears. It was so unusual because he was normally such a strong, confident lad but after a while he started to tell me what was wrong; how he had been badly let down by his girlfriend and had come close to committing suicide. I was completely shocked. My friend had opened my eyes, and I decided I needed to pay the same “attention” to my other children. I had always thought I was the perfect mother. I had always taken care of everything but something was missing: the love of the present moment; that love that is ready for the unexpected.
(F.G. – Philippines)

by Stefania Tanesini
(taken from Il Vangelo del Giorno, Città Nuova, year V, n.6,November-December 2019)

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