An Impossible Discovery

Galatians 3:28-29

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise.

An Impossible Discovery by Father Vincent Nagle, from the book Praying with St. Paul

“It was December and the beginning of summer vacation for the students in Kenya. Myself and a missionary priest I had just met were standing in a field far from Nairobi waiting for the students to start arriving for a vacation together. I had arrived in the country just a couple of days before for the first time, to begin a new mission. As I stood there I could not have felt more estranged. I did not know anyone coming, I did not know the language, I had never been to sub-Saharan Africa, and there was almost nothing planned for the days ahead. And as the young men and women started to wander in, bedraggled from hard travel, and we had a first bad meal together, my anxiety increased.

Then, after dinner, some of the students, the teachers, the priest, and I all sat down together. We asked, “What do we want from these days ahead?” What strongly emerged among us was that we wanted to meet Christ that week. We wanted the One in whom we see our destiny to become visible among us. We wanted him, the meaning of everything. What had seemed alien to me now was familiar. They wanted what I wanted. What they had encountered and had brought them to that place was precisely what had brought me.

After that I have always been able to hear the stupefaction in the words of Saint Paul as he describes what is impossibly unfolding in the people before him. Their hearts, touched by Christ, are one. Gulfs once believed unbridgeable, between mentalities, histories, and cultures, are joined in the unity of an identical commotion in their hearts. Their desire has become one, him. Differences no longer have the last word. The encounter with Jesus Christ has revealed for each the heart of the other. In all our estrangements, let us beg for Jesus to reveal himself, giving us our communion with all.”

Fit In Your Faith Today: We can learn a lot from this reflection from Father Vincent. People may be different from us, we may feel threatened by them. We may just think we couldn’t possibly have anything in common with those who are different from us. But we can see and hear, even if we don’t speak the same language, that our hearts are the same. They all seek to know Christ. If there is someone in your life whom you don’t interact with because they are “too different” from you, ask them. Ask them if their heart is the same as yours – You might discover the impossible – that you seek the same thing!

 

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