Gospel lived: being family


“Be a family – this was Chiara Lubich’s invitation to people eager to live the Word of God –.  And wherever you go to bring the ideal of Christ, (…) the very best thing you can do is create the spirit of family with discretion and prudence but also with decisiveness.  It is a humble spirit which wants the good of the other. It is not proud… it is (…) true charity.”[1]

The new director
In his “programmatic speech” the new director had spoken of the company as a family in which everyone was co-responsible. The atmosphere between us was light and cordial… but when the first difficulties arose, perhaps due to inexperience, he surrounded himself with those he trusted most and excluded practically everyone else from decision-making. I took courage and one day, out of love for both him and the employees, I set out to ask him what worries were crushing him. He seemed so different to how he was at the beginning, like someone who only saw enemies. Perhaps we had done something that was making him act like that?  He didn’t answer and dismissed me, by saying he had an urgent commitment.  A few days later he called me and apologised.  He shared with me how he felt unable to support the kind of solidarity where everything slipped through his fingers. He asked me for help. I encouraged him to open up to all of us and ask whether we really wanted to be part of his project. It was a moment of great understanding. Something began to change.
(H.G. – Hungary)

At the post office
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, I went to the post office to send a package. In the queue for guesthouses, an elderly lady wearing a mask who was clearly not well, collapsed to the floor. I ran towards her but I wasn’t strong enough to lift her up. When I asked for help, I noticed a certain reticence: just one boy covered in tattoos who had witnessed the scene outside the post office responded. I sat the elderly lady down, who managed to come round apart from some pain resulting from the fall, and asked the boy to help her sort out what she needed to do, while I sent my package. Not only did he help me get her into the car, he also wanted to come with us to the lady’s house. Since she had a blood pressure machine, I took her blood pressure. As I left the building, the boy said to me, “I was laughing with my friends seeing how people driven by fear behave. What you did was great.” After a few days I wanted to visit the old woman. I was surprised and even moved when she told me that the boy had brought her some biscuits made by his mother.
(U.R. – Italy)

Rehabilitating the past
Such a shame! My colleague was really competent in her job but she brought everyone down with her pessimism. Because she was jealous of me and other colleagues she always spoke badly about everyone. Consequently, with one excuse or another, no one wanted to work with her.  What should I do? Just let things go ahead despite the bad atmosphere? Then I had an idea for her birthday.  I organized a collection for her in the office. When we called her to celebrate with cakes people had made, drawings her colleagues’ children had made for her, a beautiful bag as a present, she was deeply moved and incredulous. She never said a word for days. She would just look at us like a wounded bird. Then gradually she began to talk to me about her childhood, her failed relationships, the divisions in her family… We became friends and she comes to our house to help my children with Maths and English. She’s one of the family now and it looks like her past is healing too.
(G.R. – Italy)

by Stefania Tanesini

(from The Gospel of the Day, Citta Nuova, year VI, no. 4, July-August 2020)

[1] C. Lubich, in Gen’s, 30 (2000/2), p. 42.

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