Last week I traveled with a group of new friends from Korea and the United States. They just boarded a plane and I said goodbye to them. Among them was a Muslim physician originally from Iran and his teenage son who is a seeker of the spiritual; there were “Christian” Koreans and a pair of nurses from L.A…. And what they all had in common was their desire to follow Jesus… Hands open, hearts willing… souls lifted in praise. They conducted medial clinics for the poor in the dangerous slums and they visited orphans and brought them food and their time. At one point in our travels I said to my new friend, Ali, the physician, that I apologized for mentioning Jesus so much as I spoke of his service to the poor. “Oh, no, it is ok,” he said. “We celebrate the birth of Jesus in Iran.” Not religion, not “Christianity,” but Jesus. God embodied in flesh. The hands of love.
There is no praise greater than to bow to love.
Here are three quotes by Malcolm Muggeridge, the British journalist and spy whose unusual friendship with Mother Teresa led him unexpectedly to a deep life of faith. Like Muggeridge, I too have discovered, unexpectedly, a deep life of faith in part due to my meeting these saints in places like Haiti where I now travel again. The saints are both the served and the server.
“In the end, coming to faith remains for all a sense of homecoming, of picking up the threads of a lost life, of responding to a bell that had long been ringing, of taking a place at a table that had long been vacant.”
“People think of faith as being something that you don’t really believe, a device in helping you believe simply it. Of course that is quite wrong. As Pascal says, faith is a gift of God. It is different from the proof of it. It is the kind of faith God himself places in the heart, of which the proof is often the instrument… He says of it, too, that it is the heart which is aware of God, and not reason. That is what faith is: God perceived by the heart, not be reason.”
“There is no such things as darkness, only a failure to see.”