Beyond the Clouds by Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, S.A.C. - Page 68

lanother solution? Certainly, I mustn't be making another Indian kitchen on the side. When in Rome, you live as a Roman. The argument goes in the other direction, too. When you are in India, you live as an Indian. You cannot think that Italian food is served all of the world. Certainly, if one is not used to hot food, we must make provisions so he does not starve. But these are only exemptions. One of our confreres was in India for an event, and upon his return, he spoke so much of the different food there. He didn’t realize that the world was different, and hence he was unable to get out of his own mental structure. If we are not careful, we can all have this same tunnel vision of reality. This is a real danger, because if we cannot see past the simple hiccups of diverse food or general conversation across cultures, we certainly will not see past the deeper things that constitute our faith; such as respectful dialogue amongst our brothers and sisters. In the Encyclical Ut Unum Sint- That We May All Be One- St. John Paul II wrote that “when we speak of a common heritage, we must acknowledge not only the traditions which all communities have preserved and by which they have been shaped, but first and foremost the reality of holiness.” For example, during a visitation to one of the countries, we were offered fried snake. Snake, in fact, was considered to be a delicious item served to the most important guests. There was a dish filled with fried vipers. I wondered how they managed to catch so many of them. Nevertheless, the very sight gave me horror and nausea, but I couldn't show that to the guests. I couldn’t eat the snake, and I can never do it. But I had to be respectful and grateful to the confreres, who prepared it for me out of genuine fraternal love. If I had shouted around, making a big deal out of something different than what I was accustomed to, it would not only have been an offense to my confreres, but also to their culture. We need to be very sensitive to cultural sentiments. + 68