Going to meet your neighbours, loving them completely, often means retracing your steps, even when you think you are in the right. It means putting your weapons away and preferring acts of kindness.
For work reasons, my husband had been away for a whole week which meant that I had to manage four children at home on my own, as due to Covid-19 the schools were closed. In a discontented way, I kept thinking: “Was it right for him to take on so much?” Anxiety started to build up inside me which I knew would burst out when he came back. At a certain point, however, I noticed that our youngest child was carefully preparing a drawing to give to her father when he came home. That kind gesture made me think and it was a real examination of conscience for me: “What about me? How will I welcome him? Will I attack him with my recriminations, listing all the burdens I have had to bear?” That child’s drawing was an opportunity to change direction and to decide, together with the children who were enthusiastic about the idea, to welcome their father with a party, preparing good things to eat and decorating the house. When my husband arrived, he was taken by surprise. Tired, but happy to be home, he said: “You don’t know what it means for me to have a family like this!”
(M.S. – Hungary)
Years ago my relationship with a neighbour broke down. My efforts to reconcile with him were futile. Recently, I realized that the feast day of the Saint after which he is named was coming up and I had an idea. But first, since he had moved, I had to do some research to track him down. The morning of his name day, a little nervously, I went to his house with a basket of gifts. His wife answered the door with a cordial welcome, “Look who it is! I’m sorry, I didn’t recognize you at first” and she called her husband. I was wondering how he would react. But I could never have imagined his huge embrace as he said: “What a gift you have given me by coming to visit! I was mean to you, but you know, sometimes I can’t control my temper!” In the living room, we had a friendly conversation for about two hours. And when it was time to leave, he offered me some produce from his fields. I thanked God for this meeting that brought joy to us both: only He could instil in me the courage to dare and to believe in the good that is hidden deep in the heart of every person.
(E.B. – Italy)
Compiled by Maria Grazia Berretta
(taken from The Gospel of the Day, New City, year VIII, n.2, September-October 2022)