New Poverello Gazette – July 2016

The new Poverello Gazette is already published. You can read it by clicking on one of the links below.

Poverello_2016 2 FR

Poverello_2016 2_NL

We also share with you the english version of the editorial by Johan, the head of Poverello:

Dear friends of Poverello,

To meet others and, even more so, to work with others is a bit like meeting yourself. By seeing others and, even more so, by entering into relation with them, no matter how limited this may be, you get to know not only others a little better, but you also get to know yourself a little better. Other people can be to us like a mirror, a mirror that can help us to look at ourselves from a different angle, from a new experience.

Unusual attitudes or unexpected words can evoke reactions in us, emotions, frustrations and annoyances, by which we might be surprised. It is also worth thinking about how one might react if given a compliment. This might provide positive encouragement and give someone self-confidence, but it should not allow someone to become ‘big headed’.

Why am I hurt by someone’s words or attitude? What does this tell me about myself? These are occasions in which our own ‘little ego’ comes to the surface, and they can offer us an opportunity to work on ourselves. It is a bit like the queen in the fairy tale Snow White, who looks in the mirror and hears (or sees) that Snow White is more beautiful than her. Suddenly she sees herself in a different way. The presence of Snow White, in all her simplicity and spontaneity, must have been very confronting for the queen, who did everything in her power to be the most beautiful, even though she herself did not become uglier. Because of the presence of Snow White, she not only sees her exterior, but is also confronted with what lives inside of her; in fact, her conceit becomes very visible. Because of her damaged pride, jealousy takes over and she can no longer appreciate the beauty of Snow White.

Also in Poverello the simplicity and authenticity of those we meet can call on us, even challenge us, to become more simple and authentic ourselves. We have to learn to take off the mask behind which we hide ourselves, and this can hurt. Do we dare to look at ourselves as we truly are? Do we allow others to see us as we truly are, even when things don’t go as well as we want them to go?

To discover how small and hurt we really are is generally a painful experience, but it is also an experience which can lead us to a reality that can be liberating. In order to have the courage to recognise this, to learn to accept this reality, and not to let it take you down, it is essential to find people who have an understanding of your limits and your injuries. These are people who give us the space and time to get to know and accept ourselves, and who continue to see, through all our faults and limits, the beautiful and the good. These are family, friends and neighbours who know that you are much more than the burden that may sometimes weigh heavy upon you. They cannot take it from you, but they can walk part of the road with you.

In our society, success and wealth is highly valued. Prominence and attention seem to be the measure for a life well lived. But the true value of relationship is hidden in the little things and gestures of understanding and service. This is not always obvious, but is a choice that must be continually made anew.

Even though our society focuses so much on independence and success, we all know that sometime in our lives we will need others. The reality that as we grow older we will be able to do less, and that at some point we will have to say farewell to our earthly existence, should determine our vision in life and will definitely help to bring certain values into perspective. In these moments, we will be confronted with how small and vulnerable we really are. Then the success and wealth we have harvested will not bring comfort. Only the people around us, who know us, and like to see us as we are, with all our joy, sadness and fear, will be able to be close to us in the final step to new life.

As you already know, dear friends, Poverello is Italian for ‘Little Poor One’. Everyone knows themselves to be poor and small sometimes; a simple tooth ache can help us remember. The problem is that we forget so quickly. Still, those who are aware of how small and vulnerable they are will be more able to deal, with understanding and patience, with others for whom it is more difficult.

It is reconciling.
With Love,
Johan

 

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