Giving of ourselves, giving what we hold dear, is the greatest gesture that someone, going beyond themselves, can make. It repeats the experience of the Magi who came from the Far East to the manger, bringing precious gifts to honour the King of Kings.
The results of sharing
I am a physician, having retired three years ago. In the last years of my employment, before the pandemic, I served at a vaccination centre. The job was very demanding. I was quite tired and looked forward to retirement.
The arrival of the pandemic, the establishment of the massive vaccination campaign, the call for the availability of as many forces as possible (medical and nursing staff, even those retired), woke in me a strong desire to get back into the field, to commit myself to help stop this wave that was overwhelming us.
I started the vaccination campaign in a large hub. It’s an engaging endeavour. As a physician, I primarily collect pre-vaccine history and certify eligibility so that the vaccine can be safely administered.
It is a matter of opening my heart, as well as my mind and scientific knowledge, listening to the person in front of me, understanding and accompanying them toward an informed choice of the best thing to do for their good and that of the community.
I have been able to share many painful situations of personal illnesses, stories and family events, fears, anxiety, disappointments, ideals and projects broken by the pandemic, deaths of loved ones, but also joy, hope, freedom, encouragement, trust in science and the community.
The feedback I get is: “Thank you, you have saved us, you give us peace…” “I couldn’t wait to come and get vaccinated…” “I’m touched…” “I’m getting the vaccine not just for me, but for others.”
One gentleman showed me all that this service of mine to humanity can be. He told me, “I am a non-believer, but if God exists, I met him today in you.”
I thanked God, above all because I experienced the strength of unity in everything I do. This witness gives testimony to the Triune God, who shows himself through the “mobile Focolare” that I take with me.
Sugar and shoes
One evening, arriving home, I found my daughters worried. A relative who had come to ask for sugar had taken away what little we had left. I reassured them by saying she needed it more.
A few minutes later, an acquaintance arrived with a bag full of food for us. Inside, among other things, was twice as much sugar as we had given.
Sometime later, with our first earnings, we finally managed to buy a pair of shoes for our eldest daughter. One day she came home from school and told me that she intended to give them to one of her classmates who had broken shoes.
“Mom, you taught us that we should give the best things to the poor,” she said. Knowing how many sacrifices we had made, I was puzzled, but I didn’t feel like contradicting her.
Three days later, a lady brought us a pair of new shoes of the same size. She had bought them for her daughter, but they were too small. Our daughter looked at me, surprised and happy.
Since we try to live the words of Jesus, we experience that God is Father and leads us by the hand.
Edited by Maria Grazia Berretta.
From “Il Vangelo del Giorno,” Città Nuova, year VIII, n.1, January–February 2022.