The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul; no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, as everything they owned was held in common. (Acts 4:32)
BUILDING NEW RELATIONSHIPS
In inter-human relations giving requires receiving, because it is giving and receiving that create communion, fraternity and consequently equality.
Giving means then to share, the communion of spiritual and material goods. With these attitudes of giving we overcome other attitudes of giving which exist in the civilization of having: that which offends because they are flawed by the desire for power over others; that which in the act of giving one seeks ones own satisfaction, ones own vainglory; that “utilitarian” that even though giving, it is finalized and directed to ones own usefulness, ones own gain.
True giving that creates new relationships is that which Jesus taught us in the Gospel. That giving which, lived by the first Christians, did such that one could say of them: “they were of one heart and soul and among them there was no one in need” (cf. At 4,32).
Nothing less than this is required of Christians today in order to construct a united world.
Chiara Lubich said at a large gathering of youth at Palaeur in Rome in 1990:
“Jesus defined the commandment of love “mine” and “new”, because it is typically His, having filled it with a very new and singular content. “Love one another – He said – as I have love you”. And He gave His life for us. Thus in this love there is in play here ones life. And a love that is ready to give ones life is what He asks of us also toward our brothers. It is not sufficient for a Christian only friendship or benevolence toward others; philanthropy is not enough, nor even solidarity alone. The love that Jesus asks is not exhausted in non-violence. It is something active, very active. It requires that one no longer live for oneself, but for others. And this requires sacrifice, fatigue. It asks of everyone to transform themselves from cowardly and egotistical people, concentrated on their own interests, their own things, into little daily heroes, day after day, they are at the service of the brothers, ready to give even their lives in their favor”.
In these relationships that come untied in everyday life and in the strong moments of life, the person arrives to the maturity of emancipation, and, thus, of authentic sociality.
(Vera Araujo is a Brazilian sociologist; she teaches social doctrine of the Church in the international citadel of Loppiano and collaborates with various magazines. Beyond being a consultant to the Movement "New Humanity" – a social expression of the Focolare Movement – she took part as an "expert" at the Fourth Conference of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) held in 1992 in Santo Domingo.)
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An Experience of Life:
I have always been attached to my cloths and each year I tended to accumulate them. A month ago, during the change of season, I realized how much I was conditioned by this attachment; I felt a strong push to eliminate from the closet all that was superfluous. In the end I ended up with a few things and a great freedom of heart; I discovered the beauty and the importance of the communion of material goods!
This little cutting permitted me to re-give the proper value to things putting again God in the first place.
(A seventeen year old girl)