I have green Chinese tea in my kitchen drawer, turmeric and peppercorns from India in a basket, and a barometer handmade in Germany on my shelf. A marble fist-sized ball from Pakistan is a curiosity on my windowsill, as are wood shoes from a choir trip to Holland hanging on my cupboard. The list could go on…a tea cup from England and cotton tunic from India, olive oil from Italy and coconut oil hand-processed in the Philippines.
Edibles and clothing, décor and transport – we touch the world as we traverse through our days. As we enjoy these goods, we can thank God for His diverse lands and peoples. Wouldn’t it be great to allow this gratitude to also stir in us a sense of responsibility — one that transcends any sense of entitlement to these goods? Within diverse lands that produce so much we daily enjoy, are people serving us with their handicrafts and labors. We and our children can deepen a curiosity and concern regarding these hidden peoples. It will only enrich us.
In the old days, every house seemed to have a globe and set of encyclopedias. Dad frequently put those to use at our dinner table, turning every moment into a teaching one. Today we have the internet, and world news and information at a finger tap. In my Finerfields blog, I suggest people “pray the news.” We can’t take this world for granted. We must be grateful for its peoples and actively pursue their well-being. Write a needed letter, support your school, parish’s or friend’s fundraising campaign, and keep a map or globe handy. Nurture within yourself and your family a sense of our world’s vast vistas.
There’s almsgiving…and then there’s prayer. St. Therese of Lisieux knew prayer’s global impact. She is called Patroness of Missions, although she lived an everyday life. She only once traveled far from home, visiting the Holy Father in Rome to seek early admittance to her Carmelite convent. Therese perfected holiness amidst her mundane duties, and found enough scope within her little convent to stretch her heart, mind and soul far beyond its walls. She spiritually adopted a number of missionary priests in China, and prayed for their ministries daily.
As busy moms, we may feel overwhelmed about global issues. Amidst daily tasks that involve shuttling of little bodies and bundling of laundry, outside work hours and community volunteering, what can we do to impact the world? How can we understand its issues?
-When missionaries visit our churches, we can stay after Mass to meet and chat with them and introduce our children to these heroes of the Faith
– We can sponsor a child abroad, learn about his or her land and keep the photo prominently displayed in our home
-We can pick up our cell phones and find the BBC site and its international news, and check the Vatican site for news. I also enjoy tapping into regional news outlets. So if there’s a mudslide in India, for example, I’ll find myself at the Times of India site.
On a more personal note, after becoming friends with a priest in India, I found myself eagerly learning more about his land, and desiring world peace as never before. I:
-wrote a poem about peace, put it to music, and sing it nearly daily
-Pray Ps. 91 for his protection, and the protection of all far-flung priests, religious and their people
-Imagine God’s Divine Light permeating every inch of my friend’s struggling land, emanating out, and reflecting even on us in America…pleading the Lord that He make this so
-I started a 501c3 public charity (Holyfamilyrelief.weebly.com) to help priests, religious and people of India
Not all are called to start a public charity. But when I first put that toe dip into a friendship with someone in a developing nation, I never imagined where this contact might lead. Maybe you’re called to simply pray the news. Maybe you’re called to step out a little more radically in building a bridge somehow, with peoples in another land.
It all starts with opening ourselves to a more global perspective – and prayer.
Copyright 2016 Marianna Bartholomew