24 Apr do this in memory of me/italy
Life in quarantine has forced us to stay closed up within our houses, leaving aside the routines that reinforce our relationships with others. The absence of real contact with others can lead us to concentrate on ourselves, on our personal worries, obsessed by a constant process of self-protection. It is as though health, prudence and care of oneself have ended up monopolizing our vision, closing it off to anything else.
Nevertheless, the liturgies of the Eucharist and of Easter, although celebrated with less elaborate ceremony this year, place us as believers in an exodus from ourselves. Pausing to contemplate the Risen Jesus is concentrating on the Joy of the Other and trying to rejoice with Him. This Joy, that seems to be in hiding, shows its holy effects in the unobtrusive charity of small acts of kindness.
During the emergency in Italy, those of us who were able to do so stayed at home; however, there were others who lost their “safety net” as well as their daily bread. Aware of how fortunate we all are, realized that in some way we would be able to become Eucharist:
- The Community of the General Curia as well as the two communities of XX Settembre made the commitment to provide a meal for 80 persons once a week, supporting the initiatives of the community of Sant’Egidio.
- In Bologna with 18 students in our University Residence, we organized occasions for meetng and sharing, with cooking workshops and meals shared in the garden. We had a nght of adorationto pray for the people working on the front lines, the sick and health care personnel and their support staff. We are forging strong bonds with and among the girls, which also encourages reflection. We all know that it is a moment of growh for all of us. Our contribution also includes a financial aspect, with donations and reduction of the students’ fees.
- In Palermo, adoration is transmitted via Facebook, on Sundays the Mass, and once a week the Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life. We respond to the request of the people who feel accompanied and comforted in this way. At first, not being prepared, we were experienced some difficulty, and we are learning that it requires commitment and patience. We have also been able to collaborate in order to provide an air purifier for a hospital and another donation.
We feel that the Lord is re-educating the beautiful humanity that He has given us and that we had lost by chasing after illusions and needs that we had created. Slow time, reduced space, and continuity are the elements of a context that we had lost, while we were fragmenting ourselves into so many petty individuals, unaware of ourselves and of others, and above all, of a sense of belonging. I think that this is the best gift of this difficult time, to have found the “we” of which we are a part, to experience ourselves as members of a body, to acknowledge one another, in a global embrace in which each one tries to do his or her part, and together we all mourn the dead and rejoice at any small sign of improvement. This is the heritage that we must not renounce, but to which we need to return.
Our little grain of sand…unobtrusive charity and quiet joy that spring from occupying ourselves once again with the concerns of Jesus, focusing our heart on the suffering of others, being on the side of the little ones, accompanying the loneliness of the abandoned, continuing to nourish the hope that God will bring some good out of this situation. Unobtrusive charity that, sustained by quiet joy, gives life to the words of Jesus: do this in memory of Me. In this placing ourselves at the service of others, in this breaking of the bread we experience the Joy of the Resurrected Jesus who dwells in the midst of our disappointment, our fears and our lockdown in order to make us apostles capable of going forth to encounter others, giving life in memory of Him.