Every work and every service to the poorest is the result of our restitution and of many friends who love us.
Restitution is the complete gift of hands, intelligence and heart. Knowing how to do it with your own hands, placed at the service of intelligence but with a lot of heart, with the joy of giving, really makes good progress in our midst.
The heart then guides us to give back to the people we approach that attention, that delicacy of gestures that always make the difference. Pascal used to say "You can only see well with the heart" and to return attention to the person, the heart is necessary.
But restitution is also knowing how to do it together. Nobody can do everything alone, there is always a synergy, an exchange, a union to realize a project: those who know how to do need those who know how to design but everyone puts the same heart into it. Knowing how to do it together is necessary and easier within a common project, a project whose aims are known and shared. I think of our Re.Te. (technological restitution) where the synergy between people with different skills and abilities - the farmer and the agronomist, the carpenter and the engineer - allows us to study, design, implement simple, economic and functional solutions at the service of the poorest.
The restitution then invests the material goods. It is delicate to talk about it, but from the first centuries of Christian life the fathers of the Church recommended it: "Are you not a thief who of the riches you have managed, you make your own? ... The bread belongs to the hungry that you keep to the naked man the cloak you keep in the trunk, to those who go barefoot the shoes that rot in your home, to the needy the money you keep hidden. So you commit as many injustices as there are people to whom you could donate ”(San Basilio).
Even in times of crisis we must deal with this exhortation and decide in the heart the correct use of our material goods, money, property. The form is then found, whether you are masters of a little or a lot. Indeed, it is often the people who have little who most easily decide to share the little with the poorest. For us it is a constant emotion to touch firsthand the generosity of elderly people, children, modest people who send us their little money monthly to support those who knock on the door of the Arsenals or write to us that they have left us heirs of the savings of a lifetime. . We do not stop feeling gratitude, gratitude for these people who at times we did not even know and who are forever in the foundations, in the roots of our works. There, in the deepest part, the one that cannot be seen but that supports everything, there are also the spiritual goods that many have learned to give back. They are invisible but essential goods, like prayer, like offering one's suffering for people and for projects that support the poorest. When you have given everything you have, you are not an empty container! You are a soul that does not stop giving itself and does it by praying, it does so by constantly offering its physical frailty, the weakness of an illness for those who continue to be on the front line and for those who continue to be welcomed and helped. I think of Carla Zichetti who in the life of a sick person, until her death, she gave back herself by helping her crumbs, other sick people like her, to learn the way of spiritual restitution. And from them how well it got there!
In the gift of ourselves to others God expresses his being of him a continuous novelty. Every day I experience the words of the Lord Jesus: "It is more blessed to give than to receive!" (Acts 20:35). And it is a joy that knows no weariness even if it participates in the cross of so many desperate people today. I know who I do it for, and this is enough for me and fills me.
I feel so true for me what God promises in Jerusalem in the book of Tobias: "He will rebuild his temple in you with joy, to make all the deportees glad in you and to love all the unfortunate in you, for all future generations" (Tb 13.11). In giving you back, God becomes really close, present, dwells in you.
I am convinced that today the greatest poverty is not feeling like a gift from God for someone. The greatest poverty is having lost the awareness that an invisible thread binds us to each other, to form a fabric of fraternity where everyone can meet and find others to give themselves to and receive from.
from NP July 2014