SOLITARY TO SOLIDARITY: fractio panis
I was crossing the foot bridge of Cubao one day when I noticed an old woman with a heavy luggage struggling to get down. Dodged, nobody seemed to care. On the other side of the street, were young children holding transparent plastic bags and sniffing what was inside… As I took the long ride home, I cried just as the rain poured heavily in the streets. I wasn’t able to do something to help the people I saw that day.
I heard a voice within…
One night, my friend Nithin asked me to write ‘anything’ on humanity. Which aspect should I touch when it had everything in it? Compassion? Forgiveness? Peace? Humility? Love?
I revisited an old article I wrote but the content is as real now as it was a decade ago.
There’s something that we never seem to outgrow. I call it a “solitary game” we often play when we are afraid to risk, when the “I” is exorbitant to go beyond the self –and there is no room to relate and really love in the process.
More often than not, I see a certain estrangement in our co-existence. And so we are both there in parallel play absorbed, like two-year olds, in our own cares and concerns — totally dissociated from the reality that we are related to each other…
Quoting from Henri Nouwen’s book, Reaching Out:
In our world full of strangers, estranged from their own past, culture and country, from their neighbors, friends and family, from their deepest self and their God, we witness a painful search for a hospitable place where life can be found…Our society seems to be increasingly full of fearful, defensive, aggressive people looking anxiously clinging to their own property and inclined to look at their surrounding world with suspicion, always expecting an enemy to suddenly appear and do harm. But still — that is our vocation: to convert the “hostis” into “hospes”, the enemy into a guest and to create the free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced
Just how much space do we create for the other? Have we become so comfortable by ourselves that we do not feel the ‘need’ for each other? Are we sensitive to the woes of the people we encounter everyday? In a larger scale, do we care what happens to other countries? Do we experience the same struggles as them?
Who says it is easy? It entails a lot of dying—to our passions, desires, wants, self-centeredness. But this is just so that new life may emerge
Everyday, the Lord comes to us to be blessed, broken and shared. Fr. G. Bini, OFM calls it a ‘Sacrament of Love’ where everyone is invited to do the same…”so that as I have done for you, you should also do” (Jn.15,13). The bread that is the Word, is enfleshed, broken down to be shared in a concrete form. We are no longer
strangers to each other. We become brothers and sisters to one Father—regardless of race, color, creed, beliefs.
The bonding force of the universe is love ( T. Keating ). “As I have loved you, so also should you love one another” (Jn 13,34).
What holds the world in place right now are the very people who still believe in love, in sharing life — people who are hopeful amidst a culture of death, those who by some strange way see the light in the tiny crevices of the wall that keeps us apart. And what of the other side of the wall?
The wall is in our mind. We hold the key.
“Woman, behold your son…”
“Behold your mother…(Jn. 19,27)
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