Beyond the Clouds by Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, S.A.C. - Page 32

have a hundred justifications, but as Pope Pius XII wrote in 1942, “the modern world, in the same way that it has attempted to shake the gentle yoke of God, has rejected the order established by Him at the beginning of creation, and purported it to establish another at man’s discretion.” Only one thing can be true: either we believe in what is written in the Gospel, or we deny it. St. Francis of Assisi found this contradiction and went for the radical living of the Gospel. Likewise, St. Vincent Pallotti taught us that the only rule for our life and apostolate should be the Gospel; it is enough. I know that I, too, am far away from actually living the Gospel. It is a fact I am constantly aware of. I also know that I will not make it only by my own efforts; God’s grace is needed to follow the Gospel in its radicality. That said, it was with these considerations that I celebrated Christmas 2016 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As we know, it is a country torn apart by man-made tragedies. The real motive for the unceasing wars and violence- as anyone would say- are the natural resources found in this vast country. The precious stones are the only things that the mighty world powers seek. So the war goes on. The innocent population is caught in the cross-fire. Corruptions abound and political forces become divided. We see women walking along the muddy roads, carrying a babe on their back with 50 or 60 kilos of firewood on their heads. Anyone with a compassionate heart will feel it breaking. This is where I celebrated Christmas, at our parish of Rutshuru, Gisenyi, Congo DR. There were no less than 3000 people for the midnight Mass, beautifully and joyfully singing and dancing. The reading was from the book of Isaiah, saying, "the people walking in darkness saw a great light.” It was true in this Church. There- people afflicted in every sense- rejoiced over the birth of their Messiah. There was a raw joy, because they know on a daily basis what darkness is, and 32