Nazareth weekend with Little Brother Marc

To conclude

To end with, I would like to illustrate what I have just said by referring to the concrete examples of three small personal stories, three faces I met.  I do not know if you have seen the Argentinean film by Carlos Sorin called Historias minimas (Very small stories). Our stories are always very small stories of very little things, but it is necessary to be there in order to gather them, perceive the mystery that gives itself there, give thanks, ask. They are stories full of meaning and revelatory of the mystery, if we are attentive to it.

The first is David, a friend that I went to see in prison for many years; it was from him that I learned, with the greatest depth, what forgiveness is. He told me once that one of his fellow prisoners had promised him, “When I get out, I swear to you, I will organise your escape”. David, being reasonable, said to him, “Don’t make oaths like that.  You know very well what happens here to those who do not live up to their word!” But the other man promised, he got out of prison and, of course, he never went back. On the next visit I found my friend very angry and disappointed. And I tried to calm him down by explaining, “But as you know very well, when you are inside you make promises because you do not know the extent of the difficulties, but once you are outside, you become aware that it is much more complicated. You must understand that.” Then David said to me, “Yes, you are trying to talk to me about forgiveness (I had never spoken about it!) but, you know, if I want to forgive him, I will have to change all my internal laws!” No one had ever explained forgiveness to me like that!

Second story: my most beautiful Christmas gift last year. In front of the shop where I was working, there was a group of young homeless men who spent their days drinking and begging. Little by little we got to know each other, and I stopped each time to greet them; I remembered their names, they remembered mine, and we became friendly. I liked to see them and I believe that they also liked it when I stopped. On the eve of Epiphany, a charitable organisation was distributing the traditional Epiphany cakes to them just at the time when I passed by. Just as I was going to leave, one of them stopped me and said, “Wait, Pascal has gone to get you something”. And Pascal came back with a cake.“Here, big fellow, this is for you. You will have a celebration!” When the excluded one becomes the one who includes, there is joy in the Kingdom of Heaven, isn’t there?