Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Called To Expand Our Vision

A Maryknoller writing in a bulletin for priests recounts the incident that happened when he arrived in Korea back in 1969. He was a blue-eyed foreigner, which drew the interest of many. Staring at him, a child asked, "How does the world look to you with those blue eyes?" The missioner never forgot the question, and the question he asked himself in response: How do others see this world that I am in and see as my world?

The missioner left the States and a culture he knew well, and soon found himself confronting a new reality faced daily by Koreans. He feels that he has been called to view the difficulties of the Korean reality with a broader angle of vision than he had in the past.

He has worked with workers and refugees, has seen the difficult living and working conditions, and now shares their viewpoint. A few years later he was involved with abolishing the old family headship system, with its paternalism and authoritarianism, that began under Japanese rule, and became interested in the partnership system of leadership. With the spread of American military forces in different parts of the world, he became interested in the movements for peace. And his interests continued to expand to include working for the health of the ecology, as it became evident that the environment was being systematically destroyed by our short-sighted drive for development.

The Maryknoller feels we are all called to broaden our understanding of what is possible. Our Lord has shown us how by his own life. A sign of the mature person, one who has broadened the range of what is possible, who has, he feels, this expansive vision, is the person who is able to love and show compassion.

A child starts with concern only for itself but gradually becomes interested in the immediate surroundings, the family, the school, the neighbor. As the child matures, interest soon widens to include one's country and religion, and, in time, expands even further to include other countries, other religions, and all of God's creation.

In the Beatitudes Jesus asks us to get rid of some of our common sense beliefs and expand our vision to the unseen world. He invites us to read the scriptures with a new eye. The Maryknoller has made this journey and found it liberating. He is asking us to rid ourselves of our narcissim and begin to reach out with compassion and love--to see life anew.

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