Every little gesture of love, every kind act and each smile we give transforms our existence and fills it with a continuous and fruitful sense of expectation.
Jesus is present in everyone and so, before the Christmas holidays, we decided to visit the local hospital with a group of children to bring some cheer to the patients. We were hoping to sing some carols. We were not allowed to enter the children’s ward but we were given permission to perform in the hospital entrance hall. It was surprising to see the complete change in the visitors: many of them came in with a very serious expression on their face but, as soon as they saw the children singing, they began to smile. Several of them came back to listen together with the patients they had come to visit. Other patients who were not waiting for visitors were brought to the large hall to listen to the performance. Some of them even joined in with the choir.
The hospital staff were also very happy about the atmosphere that we created. The management team has already invited us for next year and has promised that we can sing on the children’s ward.
(N.L. – Netherlands)
In the kitchen
I work hard as a cook in a kindergarten school. One day, when I was listening to the school-keeper say that he regarded every child as treasure to be protected, I realised that I had never thought of putting any love into what I was doing. Now, however, I have begun to use my imagination because I have understood that every meal is nourishment for people who, one day, will have the world in their hands. Sometimes I hide a little surprise “treasure” in the dishes I prepare or I arrange the food in a different way. The children show such joy and surprise – you really don’t know the impact a little act of love can produce.
(K.J. – Korea)
My work at the drug rehabilitation centre had become overwhelming. I was taken up by the thousands of things to do but found no satisfaction in anything. I felt a sense of emptiness within and God seemed always further away. One very wet evening, I was coming home when the car I was in skidded, crashed into a wall and ended up on the opposite side of the road. I was taken to hospital and as I waited in the casualty room, the sight of a crucifix hanging on the wall gave me courage. While the doctors were examining me, I felt a gentle sense of peace: it was a feeling I had not known for a long time. Fortunately, apart from minor injuries and bruises, I was not seriously hurt and so I was discharged quite quickly. I needed to rest in bed for some time but there were always lots of people around me, lots of telephone calls and lots of gifts. I was very touched by the fact that many of the people I know who are suffering from various forms of addiction visited regularly. They said, “You survived because you are doing some good in the world.” My work colleagues were also very supportive and it became obvious that we had built a solid bond. Thanks to that enforced rest, I began to want to pray again; I think I have understood why God has not yet taken me to be with him.
(Lucia – Italy)
In the parish, we organised a party for homeless people and gave them a hot meal. At the end, there was a lot of rubbish to clear up and pots and pans and dishes to wash. In the kitchen, the parish priest had already begun to tackle the washing-up and was, obviously, happy with the evening. I was struck when he said, “Everything is prayer” and I asked him: “Doing the dishes too?” He said, “Your greatest treasure is understanding that everything has immense value because behind that pot you are washing there is a neighbour who needs you.” From then onwards, my heavy work as a bricklayer, my children who needed to be taken to the nursery and even the light to repair … everything became an opportunity for me to go beyond the action itself and transform it into something sacred.
(G.F. – ltaly)
by Stefania Tanesini
(taken from Il Vangelo del Giorno, Città Nuova, year V, n.6,November-December 2019)