Gospel lived: don’t give up

Jesus taught us with his life the reason for service and for choosing the last place. It is the best way to transform apparent defeat into a victory which is neither selfish nor short-lived, but shared and lasting.

Having both experienced the tragic effects of alcohol in our families, my boyfriend and I decided to make a pact. He promised me his commitment. Everything went well for a few years. However, suspicions surfaced from time to time: money missing from our account, a delay that couldn’t be justified… The real tragedy was not discovering that he had always been an alcoholic but that we, his wife and children, had not been able to get him out of that situation. I felt humiliated. I spoke to my parish priest about it. He recognized the seriousness of a deception that had been going on for years but he asked me if, for the children’s sake, I was ready to start again, but not alone. The community would support me. With what at times demanded heroic strength, I stayed with my husband. I was able to convince him to agree to seek help and supported him in his alcohol withdrawal crises. Two years have passed. The family has suffered a lot from these tumultuous times, but my children and I have gained new strength. Everyday life has become a wonderful gift.
(J.K. – Romania)

We lost everything in the Rwandan war: our home and several relations. From Kigali we moved back to my native town but later had to leave there and go to a refugee camp. We took just a few things with us, including clothes for the baby I was expecting. There were thousands of desperate, destitute people in the camp. After a number of nuns arrived in the camp, I volunteered to help with first aid. I was entrusted with providing social care but we had no money, nothing to give to the refugees.
Among a group of orphans there was a seven-year-old boy who was separated from his family. His mother eventually found him after many days’ walk but was totally exhausted when she arrived at the camp. All I had was 300 francs, the equivalent of about a dollar: it was a fortune. I really needed it myself but she needed it more than me. I gave it to her convinced that God would think of my family too. With the money she was able to buy food and a small hut. Shortly afterwards, I met my elder sister, who had spent three days looking for us in the camp: she brought me 1,000 francs.
(C.E. – Rwanda)

It wasn’t easy knowing how to treat Martha, our fourth daughter, who had been entrusted to us by the juvenile court. She totally rejected the suffering she had experienced following an incident that had left scars on her body, which she hid from everyone as marks of disgrace. Only with the patient love, dialogue and collaboration by everyone in the family was she able to overcome that trauma and discover and appreciate her talents. So, little by little, this difficult child was reconciled with her own body and the environment around her. We were so relieved to see the love of life growing in her. Gradually, with time, we were also able to share with her the value of pain. One day, as soon as she arrived home, Marta told us about a companion who looked shocked when she noticed her scars; but, instead of feeling hurt, she rolled up her sleeve to show the marks more clearly, and explained how she got them. At that point her companion apologized and since then they became good friends.
(O.N. – ltaly)

Edited by Stefania Tanesini
(taken from Il Vangelo del Giorno, Città Nuova, anno VI, n.1, gennaio-febbraio 2020)

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