Beyond the Clouds by Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, S.A.C. - Page 69

Throughout my life, I must have traveled to at least 50 countries by now. My discovery is that there is something beautiful in each culture; not one can be considered absolutely perfect. The singing, dancing, and active liturgical celebrations in Africa are truly beautiful, likewise the Indian hospitality and their wonderful, colorful presentations with the little school children. How courteous the Canadians are even when going for a walk! The punctuality and hard-working nature of the Germans, the Italians who are crazy about football, the fraternal Spirit of the Brazilians, the missionary zeal of the Polish, and the multicultural societies in Australia and the USA have all inspired me in some way. The gentle and contemplative nature of the Far East touches me, and I always feel sweet consolation and joy in finding those few smiling villagers waiting for Holy Mass in the mountainous villages of Peru. This is the beauty of being a universal Church. As St. Therese of Lisieux says, “the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.” We all need each other. Because while we can also point out a number of limitations to each of these cultures, what appears to be limitations are not always imperfections to the people living in that particular situation. For example, in most of the missions, local people tend to come late for Mass. It happened to me once in Bolivia. Sunday evening’s celebration was supposed to be at 6:00, but upon arriving, there was just a little shed with the catechist. It took almost one hour to get only ten people for Mass. The very concept of time is so different in so many places. Days are not counted by hours. Often, they have to finish the work in the fields or bring the cattle back home before thinking about Mass. For the ones who do not have empathy and accept these differences, a mental breakdown can be expected. In fact, it is the capacity for understanding and making adjustments that fosters a good missionary. Such is the case of our missionaries in Papau New Guinea. I have seen my confreres going to the interior of the island’s forest and villages to shepherd their flock, returning home after a month. They have no phone, no internet, 69