Thursday, July 30, 2015
Religion should unite--one of the attributes of Catholicism should be unity. Today, we no longer see this as something obvious, more an ideal that should be, but rarely seen. Liberty of conscience and being one's own person seems to have become all important.
On the spiritual page of the Catholic Times, we have a column in which the writer, a priest and head of a research center, sees an aspect of this unity in something very insignificant, and gives thanks.
He was entertaining some guests who worked as volunteers with his research center some years before. They came back to see how he was doing in his new location. They told him what they have been doing since leaving the center: active in their parish with scripture study and as members of the Legion of Mary in their parish. He also brought them up to date on the work he was doing at the center.
Outside it was raining hard, and they decided to take a bus to the nearby town for a meal. They went outside to wait for the bus but no bus. A driver stopped his car and asked if he could take them to where they were going. He apparently recognized the priest and was from the neighboring parish. The priest was not in the habit of imposing on others, but he had his guests, and the bus wasn't coming; he accepted.
As they were on the way they began talking of their plans for the evening, and the priest told the driver, they were going to the next town for a meal. The driver who was with his wife said would it be OK if they joined him since it was time for the evening meal. The wife gave her husband a jab in the ribs when he spoke, but the two guests quickly responded it would be great. The priest was not too happy with the turn of events.
The evening they spent time together in a Chinese restaurant talking about what each was doing in an easy manner, while eating their jangjangmyen and chanpon. When he heard his guests talking about their work in the parish, he listened only with his ears but the couple were truly interested in what they heard. Even though they were meeting for the first time they listened carefully and even offered advice. This surprised the priest for it was a sign that having to know a person for a longtime to speak at a deep level is not necessary.
Returning to his room, he began to think of what happened that evening. He wondered what made for almost instant rapport with persons they met for the first time. They could speak about spirituality and matters of deep value so easily. He concluded that it was the Eucharist which made it easy for the five of them to freely and naturally share themselves with others.