the “culture of giving and sharing”
“Giving without expecting anything in return is fundamental for life. It can even become a real, true art. When the art of giving is learned as a child, it is easier for it to become a way of life, and then develop into the culture of giving. Therefore, it’s really possible to hope for a better world, with more justice, more peace and greater sharing among all.“ (L. Bruni, in C.Heinsdorff – M.Bolkart, The happiness of giving, Città Nuova, Rome, 2005, back cover)
The Gen4 formation program, which is carried out by members of the Focolare Movement in their local communities, contains all the elements needed for the children to acquire these values.
They begin to feel part of a worldwide family and so they become sensitive to the needs of other people, who are no longer strangers to them, but rather their brothers or sisters.
The Gen4 experience firsthand how beautiful it is to be loved “freely” by others, with no expectations. In this way, they discover the joy and the possibility of sharing what they have with their friends and even with others whom they may not yet know.
This was the experience of Chiara Lubich at the beginning of the Movement. She and her friends discovered God as Love and so they began to share their possessions, just like the first Christians did. No one was in need because they loved one another “.
But what can we give and to whom should we give it ?
The Gen4 from Korea asked Chiara this question: “Chiara, you teach us to always give, without measure. But I don’t have much to give. What can I do?” Lubich then gave them a wide range of things they can give. She told them: “Everyone has something they can give! You can give help, you can give a smile, you can take time to listen, you can give happiness to others, you can share your snack …“
Therefore, the “culture of giving and sharing,” which is the lifestyle of the Gen4, doesn’t only mean helping those who have material needs. It also means to give value to the fact that everything can be a gift for others, like our talents, our knowledge or our ability to help someone we meet.
In fact, Chiara once wrote to the Gen 4:
“If one person loves others, they give. If another person loves, they give, too. If everyone loves, then everything is shared among them. This is how the Gen4 live”.
( C.Lubich, in Gen4, n. 5-6 May-June 1985, p.4)
“Try to give something to Jesus in other people, and you will receive”
( C.Lubich, in Gen4, n. 1 January 1981, p.5)