Loving others by generating good, going beyond the objective limits that life imposes on us, beyond our prejudices, breaking down barriers to build fraternal bonds. This is the mandate of Jesus’ New Commandment, the hallmark of a Christian: reciprocity in love.
We are two Christian newlyweds, and we don’t have much. Not long ago we learned that a girl from Burundi, who was also poor, had planted a tree and was harvesting its fruit to help the hungry.
It had never occurred to us that we could do anything for the destitute: our family’s income barely covers our outgoings each month, so we were always waiting for the day when we would have something “superfluous” to give. But that girl’s example was moving; it encouraged us to set aside the proceeds from the sale of two pancakes a day, since we run a small shop in our neighbourhood.
Now at the end of each month we always have a small fund for others, and although it is a small thing, this act of love helps us act more carefully as well. Someone who learned about our experience remarked that this gesture is like the widow’s offering from the Gospels. Yes, it is, and we are very happy about it.
J. O., Kenya
A floral tribute
In our village there are few pharmacies. I did not like to go to the one closest to home, because the pharmacist was grumpy and always seemed angry. Since I was not the only one who had this negative impression, I decided not to go to that pharmacy anymore.
But one Sunday at Mass, listening to the priest talk about loving our enemies, the pharmacist came to mind. Knowing her name, I took advantage of her feast day to bring her flowers. With that simple gesture, she was moved, revealing an unusual friendliness.
For me it confirmed of the words of St. John of the Cross: “Where there is no love, put love and you will find love.” It’s an evangelical law that applies to every situation.
After those flowers to the pharmacist, whatever difficult situation arises, I put that saint’s motto into practice, and it’s sure to have an effect. Even my children now know that to overcome difficulties in relationships it takes more love, and it is good to tell each other about these small or big daily victories.
With open arms
My husband is Catholic, I am Evangelical. We have learned to accept each other in our diversity. When our daughter was baptized in the Catholic Church, the Lutheran pastor was also present. Ever since then a friendship was born between the two pastors that has led to several initiatives: common prayers, peace rallies, a service for visiting the sick…
I am responsible for ecumenical activities in my parish council, and out of love for the Catholic parish I also devote time to raising funds for Caritas. Since the opening of a reception centre for political refugees (mostly Muslims from Tunisia, Libya, Romania, Bosnia and Kosovo), collaboration between Catholic, Evangelical and Orthodox Christians has intensified.
A couple of Romanian friends who left for their country temporarily entrusted their daughter to us, and in addition we “adopted” a Muslim family in need. Making others’ needs our own is a real asset to our family.
Edited by Maria Grazia Berretta
From “Il Vangelo del Giorno”, Città Nuova, Year VIII, No. 2, May–June 2022.