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Displaying items by tag: Encounters

Monday, 30 April 2018 00:00

Encounters - Amazing beauty

I went to see Lucia - the name is imaginary - at her house. It was a nice experience! No photo to share, nevertheless. Even in the degradation of the urban suburbs, at any latitude, the human shines always of irrepressible light, yet is to be surrounded by much care and respect: it is not an event to make a show off but is the trace of God in the creation where we see the sign of his glory.

In every "soul to soul" encounter, whether in a personal dialogue or in the classroom with my students, everyone grows to be more human. But in the struggle and tenacity of life that challenge even the resignation and despair, the beauty emerges in a way that is surprising and always new.

We, Lucia and I, met each other during a brief hospitalization, it was something very causal yet marking God's initiative. She and her friends carry on lightly the difficult path of bureaucracy, the often misguiding directions, unwanted delays, omissions and even injustice which we all encounter in our day to day life; but the so called "unfortunate ones" affected by sickness, poverty or exclusion have to deal with these mechanisms even for the very elementary social assistance.

Yet Lucia and her friends are able to enjoy the small and big joys of life: a good dish to relish, a song or a poem, even a trip to the sea-shore (which apparently seems impossible for a person confined to bed, yet did take place!) and all that is shared in friendship.

The initiative of a friend nurse who after completing his night shift, brought Lucia by surprise even to Vatican, for a lunch with Pope Francis on November 19, 2017.

She likes Pope but has many questions about religion: "There are things about God that I do not understand, I have to think about it". We talk about many things. At the discovery of something about God, she brightens up: a re-discovery of something that has always been hers. Because His daughter she is!

The parish is not far away, and the sound of the bells could be heard quiet strongly. Then I said, «do you know what I saw (written in Latin), while passing in front of the church? “You Christian, recognize your dignity”. It is a famous phrase of Leo the Great». She liked it.

The cabin where she lives is on the ground floor; the only window with railings, is too high to see anything but a portion of the sky; to open it, someone must climb on the bed which she is unable to do. Expressing my displeasure I said, «I'm sorry you cannot see anything» - there isn't much to see though except the concrete walls - and added thoughtlessly, «it's like in a prison». She smiled at it and said : «You don't remember, perhaps, that I was in the jail [in fact she was remunerated as it was an unjust detention, n. d. r.]; there was a window at the eye level and we could see a bit through the bars. But there are prisons worse than that». It was a ward for women who had agreed to detoxify themselves through methadone; and there she took care of another detainee's child: she entertained him as his mother was in a worse state than her.

She spoke to me also about a friend who passed away recently; years ago he and his wife had come to see her when she was hospitalized and he had continued to help her. He was an ex-priest, having grown-up children.

As I was leaving, I remembered the last words of the curate in Bernanos’s novel: «Everything is grace».
Published in IN DIALOGUE
Monday, 07 May 2018 00:00

Encounters - Here's the man

M. was busy filling the application form for obtaining the necessary things for personal hygiene and dress, distributed weekly to the prisoners by a Voluntary Association of Prison ministry where I too render my service.

Looking with the clinical eye of a retired teacher it came spontaneously to me to watch him writing and I observed:
«What a beautiful writing!  Off this present world of yours, what is your profession?».

«Robber… I have always been a robber».

Thinking of one of Toto's films, I commented with a smile:
«What a lovely profession!... Compliments!»

A certain empathy was created among us. He said: «Look at my hands… these cannot be but hands of a robber!». And then snapped: «Well, Madam, I need to work... I have three children already and the fourth one is expected».

Yes… the apparent shell of the role (of a detained robber) is ruptured  and there came forth the man, my brother.

And I asked him: «Well, you will not teach your children to rob, right?».

Roused by the question he retorted: «Never! children should never be used! It’s my duty to work… You know, when it comes to an older person, I go back… the elderly ones are not to be touched!»

Then I said jokingly: «That means I don’t have to worry, right?»

«Why would you? I should just raise a monument to you, for all the good that you do for us! May the Lord reward you!»
Published in IN DIALOGUE
Sunday, 13 May 2018 00:00

Truth involves our whole life

13 May 2018: World Communications Day

In Christianity, truth is not just a conceptual reality that regards how we judge things, defining them as true or false. The truth is not just bringing to light things that are concealed, "revealing reality", as the ancient Greek term aletheia (from a-lethès, "not hidden") might lead us to believe. Truth involves our whole life. In the Bible, it carries with it the sense of support, solidity, and trust, as implied by the root 'aman, the source of our liturgical expression Amen. Truth is something you can lean on, so as not to fall. In this relational sense, the only truly reliable and trustworthy One – the One on whom we can count – is the living God. Hence, Jesus can say: "I am the truth" (Jn 14:6). We discover and rediscover the truth when we experience it within ourselves in the loyalty and trustworthiness of the One who loves us. This alone can liberate us: "The truth will set you free" (Jn 8:32).

Freedom from falsehood and the search for relationship: these two ingredients cannot be lacking if our words and gestures are to be true, authentic, and trustworthy. To discern the truth, we need to discern everything that encourages communion and promotes goodness from whatever instead tends to isolate, divide, and oppose. Truth, therefore, is not really grasped when it is imposed from without as something impersonal, but only when it flows from free relationships between persons, from listening to one another. Nor can we ever stop seeking the truth, because falsehood can always creep in, even when we state things that are true. An impeccable argument can indeed rest on undeniable facts, but if it is used to hurt another and to discredit that person in the eyes of others, however correct it may appear, it is not truthful. We can recognize the truth of statements from their fruits: whether they provoke quarrels, foment division, encourage resignation; or, on the other hand, they promote informed and mature reflection leading to constructive dialogue and fruitful results.
(pope Francis, Message for World Communications Day, n. 3)
Published in IN DIALOGUE


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About Us

Union “St. Catherine of Siena” of School Missionaries is a Dominican Religious Congregation.
We are called to accompany our contemporaries along their path with study and prayer and to seek along with them Gospel’s answers to the questions of our complex, multicultural society.
We want to live therefore coherently a Christianity of frontiers and be yeast and salt of the least visibility yet cause to leaven and give flavor.