July 29, 2012

Look To God, Do Not Be Afraid

One of the curious things about living in a friary while still trying to learn the local language is that you don't really get to know the other brothers. Unless you somehow know of them on paper or by office or reputation, the language barrier prevents or at least renders difficult some of the ordinary mechanisms of acquaintance.

It's not a bad thing, but just is. It is, however, an interesting thing. My not knowing what I might have known by now about some of the brothers around me reminds me of the irreducible mystery that other people always are, and leaves me more attentive and grateful for what I do perceive.

For example, one of the friars I live with is an Indonesian, about the same age as me in religion. His project in life right now seems to be the study of Arabic. Beyond that, I hardly know a thing about him, apart from the diligence, kindness, and devotion I observe.

One thing I have noticed, however, is that he seems to have always the same song in his head, as evidenced by the hum that can be heard from time to time in the hallway or while we are doing the dishes after meals. It is the lovely, almost haunting In the Lord I'll be ever Thankful from Taizé:

It touches my heart in a way; very early in my Christian journey I had the song on a Taizé tape to which I listened often. As I start to think of my twentieth anniversary of baptism coming up next month and all the twists and turns, amazing graces and blind alleys, the few graces to which I have surrendered and the many sins by which I have clung to my misery, I'm grateful for such an apparently little thing that arrives to remind me of the unity of the economies of grace and the gentle persistence of the love of God.


Greg said...

What a joyful celebration of the truth that Francis taught... that always the divine is there in the other to be discovered.

Your post captures the term Face of a Franciscan I use often in speaking of Francis and his path to peace.

We are so blessed that you share your external and internal journey with us... and thus keep Francis and the one he came to know in our hearts.

-Lou (Louis) said...

What a truly beautiful reflection!



Terry Nelson said...

Prayed especially for you on the feast of the Porziunola.

Brother Charles said...

Thank you!

Paula said...

Father, probably you remember me...I was considering to enter the Catholic Church years ago. It did finally happen in 5th of August this year, in Okinawa where I work as a scientist.

Brother Charles said...

Paula! One of my first blogging friends! Congratulations and many graces to you!

Paula said...

Yes Father, is me. If I would have known that entering into the RCC will be followed by such an outpouring of grace I would have done it earlier. :-). It took me not less than 7 years to cross the Tiber. The acceptance ceremony took place in a church where most of the people are Filipinos including the priest.A very joyful event!