Solidarity is a fabric of authentic relationships

Solidarity is a word of Latin origin (in solidum), which means obliged. To be in solidarity, therefore, means to be obliged, to be linked to someone or something in a solid way. Solidarity is therefore the condition of those who are in solidarity with others, or of those who are solidly linked with someone.

In our day the term solidarity has not changed its original meaning. Perhaps it is our culture that has changed the meaning of this term by maintaining a high value of the word itself but calling it into question only after very serious episodes and calamities in general.

In fact, we speak of solidarity only when a population is hit by a meteorological or climatic disaster, or in the media when there is a need to help a poor wretch placed on the sidelines of our deeply selfish and individualistic society.

If I had to give a very rough definition of solidarity I would say that it is doing something for someone less fortunate than me. But thinking about it more carefully I feel like saying – that’s all?

As for what concerns our society, I believe that we must overcome the thin veneer of superficiality that suffocates our existence and investigate more deeply the true meaning of the word solidarity. So I would start by saying that solidarity is truly a bond that must bind us in a solid way.

And therefore I do not think that solidarity can end in sending a text message for the victims of a flood or for the earthquake victims or for the incurably sick. I am not saying that this is all wrong, but it is not enough. It is not enough to be in solidarity.

Solidarity passes through authentic relationships

For me, solidarity means going into the mud together with the flood victims, hosting people displaced by an earthquake in their own homes, is taking care of those who suffer. We don’t have time today to do all these things.

Our lifestyle requires us to run from morning to night without asking too many questions. And in the face of those who need solidarity, the highest gesture we can make may perhaps be that of sending a text message?

In concrete terms, I believe that solidarity does not consist in doing something, but in feeling that the life of the other is important, accompanying the other in his deeper choices.
All this is not impossible or utopian, indeed I think it is very simple.

Just move the reference from the self to the other. It is necessary to understand that my life is precious only if I am able to share it with others, if I am able to put myself in an authentic relationship with the other.

But let’s try again to go back to the personal perspective and for a moment let’s try to think about what we would do in the calamities that affect others. What answer would we give to the terrible question – if it happened to me, what would I expect from others?

First we need to ask ourselves if we expect something from others. We are so busy living our lives that we don’t care who we are next to. Our days are filled with people we completely ignore – neighbors, commuters taking our own bus or train, etc. We are so projected into ourselves that we are unable to grasp the richness that can exist in an encounter.

If we will be able to get out of our selfishness, if we will be able to say – you interest me – if we will know how to put ourselves next to those who need our warmth, then we will be able to experience solidarity, then we will be truly united in solidum with other. Solidarity therefore starts from the heart. It is an inner movement that first infects ourselves and then the people around us.

And all this is necessary because only when we have learned to be close to those who suffer, to those who are poor, to those who have lost everything, will we also be able to rebel so that all this does not happen again.

In a society of solidarity, the poor cannot exist, the marginalized cannot exist, loneliness cannot exist, because everyone has the good of everyone at heart, as brothers because we are all children of the same Father – God.

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