I got into this journey that I describe as journey of faith and humanity in obedience to my superiors who sent me on this mission, with two others, of vocational and missionary animation. It was all about making known our missionary Society by our presence among the youth on the way to the World Youth Day in Kraków, in the program Come & See, as seen in the earlier posts. Happily, it turned out to be more than just a religious journey.
Often it’s the little contradiction that served as point of encounter. Presenting myself, an African, as White Father among the youth predominantly White made a little laughter of astonishment. Indeed, I wasn’t as white as the name suggested. But through such contradiction we got to talk and to know one another a little more.
Journey of meeting
I got know where these youth live, what they do and a bit of their dreams for the future, especially the type of world they would like to build. There I discovered something profoundly human that lay hidden deep down them. Many of them expressed the desire to work in the cadre of social service. Others were already offering their service in the homes for the old aged or for the handicapped persons. This opened me to another perspective of speaking of vocation.
We like to say there are no vocations in Europe. We need to precise that. In fact, there are abundant manifestations of vocations but not religious or priestly life. However, the common denominator of the activities in which these young people involve themselves is to witness Christ’s love to others. In short, through this journey I was able to enter in contact with people in the way quite close, different from what we see on the streets.
A journey through families
In six days I was happy to taste the Belgian hospitality in six different families. Each family was quite different with its unique reality. However, one thing common to all was that they all gave me a warm welcome. Here I met persons different from those I meet on the streets, apparently too busy even for a simple hello. Indeed, to judge someone by such street encounter would surely be unfair. In the families I found persons attentive and ready to do everything possible to make sure I was comfortable in their home. Yes, I experienced a lot of humanity. It’s not only because they welcomed me but I discovered many of them were also involved in some humanitarian activities on voluntary basis. There I realised that their kindness was neither a show of politeness to me nor merely an impression to a stranger in a particular case. There were people thoroughly humane and it was their way of life.
A journey of correction
Yes, it’s human to come close to another person and weave the links of friendship. This journey gave me such opportunity. It helped me to grow in humanity. It allowed me to meet the people where they live, to talk to them and get to know them better. It’s a journey that corrected the quick and an unfair judgement to which I would want cling simply because of one or another accidental experience on the street.
That’s why this journey has been important for me. It has been a religious journey and yet through it I was opened to new relationships that are human. I would say, faith is not opposed to humanity. Thanks to this journey of faith I have blossomed in my humanity. That’s why I call this trip a journey of faith and humanity.