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January 1979

As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace (1 Pet. 4:10)

Pina is a girl from Sardinia. She has been blind from birth and lives in an institute for the blind. The chaplain there is no longer able to celebrate mass because his legs are paralyzed, so it was decided to remove Jesus in the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament, from the house. Pina went to the Bishop to ask that the one light in their darkness be left them. She gained permission and was herself appointed to be an extraordinary minister for the distribution of Holy Communion to the chaplain and her companions.

She wanted to make herself useful and obtained several hours broadcasting time on a local radio station. Pina offers to others by radio the best she has: advice, helpful ideas, and explanations of moral issues. She gives support to those who suffer by sharing her experience. I could say so much about Pina. She is blind yet suffering has given her vision.

There are many other examples that I could give you. Goodness does exist and makes no noise. Pina puts Christianity into practice, she knows that each of us receives gifts and she puts hers at the service of others.

The word gift or charism does not only mean the graces with which God enriches those who have to govern the Church. Nor does the word charism only refer to those extraordinary gifts which God keeps and sends directly to a particular person for the good of all when He considers a solution is required for a special situation or a remedy is required for a grave danger in which the Church's institutions would not suffice. Examples of such charisms are: wisdom, knowledge, miracles, speaking in tongues, the charism of giving life to a new spirituality in the Church, and many others.

These are not the only gifts or charisms; there are also other simpler gifts which people have and we can see the good they achieve. The Holy Spirit works.

Besides, natural talents can be called gifts or charisms. Each of us is gifted therefore, including you.

How should you use your gifts? You should make them bear fruit. They have been given to you not just for yourself but for the good of all.

As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.

The variety of gifts is immense. Each person has his own, and so each of us has his or her function in the community.

But how about you, what are your gifts? Have you a qualification? Have you ever thought of putting aside an hour or two a week to teach somebody who needs to learn or somebody who can not afford to study?

Are you generous hearted? Have you ever thought of mobilizing people who still show good will so as to help the poor, the unwanted, and restore a sense of man's dignity to the hearts of many.

Are you keen on music, poetry or drama? Have you ever had the idea of trying to make the gatherings of your Church community more attractive, more modem, more enriched, so as to expose the idea that the Church liturgy is heavy, old fashioned and joyless?

Are you good at comforting others? Are you good at looking after the house, or at cooking, dressmaking or practical jobs? Look around and see who needs you.

I suffer when I see people looking for free time or giving lessons in how to fill spare time. We Christians just do not have spare time as long as on this earth there is a sick person, a hungry person, a prisoner, an ignorant person, a handicapped person, an orphan, a widow...

And don't you think prayer is a great gift to be made use of, since at each moment you can turn to God who is present everywhere.

Incidentally I would like to remind you that in the month of January, for a week, all over the world the great Christian family implores God to bring about the perfect unification of the Churches. You too can share in this prayer.

As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.

Just imagine what the Church would be like if all Christians, from children to adults did all they could to put their gifts at the service of others.

There would be such strong and deep mutual love that non-Christians would be able to recognize the disciples of Christ. Not only that, it would be such a sight that nobody could have any further doubts about the divinity of Jesus.

If this is the result then why not do all you can to achieve it?

Chiara Lubich

 

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