Give us back to the brothers (1/2)
Publish date 01-07-2014
The reconversion starts from us, from our giving back ourselves and our goods, from spreading this mentality among those we can reach.
Return. Some people find this word bothersome, they interpret it as the consequence of having stolen and do not feel in the conditions of the thief. For us, however, the basis of the restitution is the gift. First of all, the gift received from God: the gift of life, of being loved and of being able to love, of having a set of abilities, of potential, of resources to put into circulation. God gives us the gift of these tools and entrusts creation to us: "God blessed them and God said to them: Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky and over every living being that crawls on the earth "(Gen 1:28). In entrusting us with the mandate to make creation progress, God blesses us and places full trust in us. He provides us with all the tools so that with our hands we can continue what He started. In this way we return to him, to humanity, to creation everything, what he has given us in a wonderful and providential "loan". The returned gift produces life. Here is the joy of restitution. The joy of being able to start recreating on earth that garden that was at the beginning and which will be fully again at the end of time. The joy of putting one's intelligence, one's energy, all of oneself into the construction of a project that grows with us. Often renovating the walls of the Arsenale della Pace I felt the joy of participating in this transformation: it is like tilling a piece of uncultivated land and giving it back its potential to bear fruit. But this joy comes from knowing that I don't do it for a sense of possession, of domination, I don't do it for myself, but to give it to many, to put it in circulation. The restitution thus becomes a unit of measurement for every aspect of my life because everything has been given to me by God not only for me but for the good of many. I think of one of our volunteers in his 80s and still healthy. In his days of service at the Arsenal he is tireless and to us who recommend him "Rest a little" he replies "As long as I am well I want to make myself useful, because I have good health and, when I am there, the Lord will ask me to account for all the time that I did not spend well ". I think he is right. Time and work capacity are the most precious good that God has given us and yet how much we waste of it! We do not realize how much good we can put in five minutes of time and how much good it can do for the community to use your hands to fix a lock, to clean a bathroom that many use, to empty the waste paper bins!
In this spirit, everything becomes restitution and all time remains infected by it. There is no season of life that can be left out of this way of living: since childhood we are educated in this mentality and we never stop even when we are elderly.
We adults must seriously pose the problem of educating the little ones to co-responsibility, educating them to make their own contribution to the needs of others. Children are very serious in their service, in them there is truly the joy of giving. For children and young people, recognizing their need to give oneself is essential to make choices and decisions: it is the backbone. They are the least trained and really need to connect with people to help, with real problems.
For the elderly, the gift of self is the fulfillment of life. They may not retire. They can pass on their experience, their knowledge, their wisdom. The person is the gift, not just what he does.
The restitution then involves the attitudes of each one, the skills acquired through studies, technical skills. If I do not consider them riches only for myself and for the close circle of my family, they become a gift for many who do not even know, many who can improve the quality of their life. I am thinking of villages in the south of the world where there is no electricity, where there is no water, where there are no technical means to cultivate the land ... The gift of a few, the return of a few makes the life of entire villages more liveable!
from NP june 2014