Building peace is like being on a construction site, where there is always work to be done, and we are all called to “do” our part. Peace is not just the absence of war or an abstract concept; it is something we build together, facing all difficulties and starting from our own small surroundings.
Rob left home after an argument between us that seemed to be the end of our marriage. Two years passed since he left and I had no news of him. I only got to know from his parents that he was auditioning for films and that he started to get involved in the film industry. When he came back from Italy, disappointed and penniless, he looked like a whipped dog. He cried and asked me to forgive him. The man I had loved, esteemed and chosen as my life companion now seemed a stranger, a failure. Where has all his pride gone? And the beauty that was his pride? As with regards to me, during the time my husband was away, I came closer to faith and started basing my life on values I had neglected. When he came back, I felt as if God was testing my faith, but I managed to feel even stronger. Now he too has found a new peace, and together we are discovering a new way of life. I feel as if I am beginning to know another Rob.
(R. H. – Switzerland)
During a telematic working meeting, there were members from different countries in my group. After various presentations, someone imprudently ventured to define others politically, with overtones of nationalism and fascism. The tension that arose eventually degenerated into an outrageous exchange of words. As a journalist who had travelled extensively and also studied the history of the countries in question, my opinion was quite different from those who relied on hearsay and media reports. That day’s session was a real failure. The next day, preparing for another working group, I made it a point of highlighting in each participant only those elements that build and not those that divide. Things turned out to be quite different, so much so that when it was my turn to intervene, everyone felt valued. Hence a reflection: even just by only keeping silent, one can become either an accomplice to disintegration or a constructive and unifying element. It costs dearly to realise Jesus’ dream “That all may be one”.
(G.M. – Hungary)
At hospital, I had to do night shift work with another doctor. He was not a practising Christian, and seeing that I attended mass almost every day, very often he made fun of me. Our shift lasted all night, but he would leave at the end of the evening, and this meant a lot of more work for me. In spite of this, I tried to keep an open attitude towards him, without judgement, for a month, two months…. One day he expressed the desire to join me for Mass (“During these months, I have learned many things from the way you love in silence”). Since then, he does not only see to his duties fully but he also sees that I do not overtire myself during the night.
(Bashar – Iraq)
Edited by Maria Grazia Berretta
(from Il Vangelo del Giorno, Città Nuova, year VII, n.4, November–December 2021)