Chiara Lubich spoke to young people in very clear terms. This is what happened at the 1992 Supercongress at the Palaghiaccio in Marino (Italy) when they asked her what they should do to limit consumerism.

We need to live and spread the “culture of giving,” of giving. If you want my advice, it is this. At the beginning of the year, each of you should make a small bundle, as we call it, of all the things you have that are surplus to your needs. You might only have a few, but you will have something. It might be a book, a toy, a pencil, a knapsack that you don’t use anymore, some clothes… something, anything that’s over and above what you need. Gather these things together and take them to your centers, either to the Teens for Unity centers or the Gen centers.

Then since you are very industrious and organize so many projects and so on, you can sell these things at a mini market, a raffle, or other opportunities you can create, to raise some money to give to boys and girls who are in need.

… Bear in mind that you should keep for yourselves only what you really need, just like plants that absorb from the earth only the water, minerals, and other things they need, and no more. Likewise, each one of us should have only what we need. Everything else should be given away, to be put in common with others.

Of course, you will experience that by giving, you will receive all kinds of things. This is the experience of our Movement all over the world. Why will you receive? Because the Gospel says: “Give” – this is the culture of giving – “and there will be gifts for you” and it goes on to say, “… a full measure” – like having an apron full of wheat – “a full measure pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap.”[1] In other words, you will receive many things from all over, from a man you know, from a teenager, from your teacher, from your mother – you’ll be given many things.

So, spread the culture of giving. You can tell your experiences, as you already do, which is so edifying for people. You can say, for example, that you gave away one thing and then received another…. Tell your experiences, all these gospel events, that you see the Gospel promises coming true. You could talk about them or write about them; make drawings or videos, short videos, or on the television news programs you are already doing for children.

By doing all this, you will create a mentality in everyone, the mentality of the culture of giving.

Chiara Lubich

(Lubich, Chiara. “Ai Gen 3, [To the Gen 3] 1981 – 1995, Città Nuova, 2006, p. 66-68)

[1]     Lk 6:38

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