The beauty of diversity

El_Greco_-_Saints_Peter_and_Paul_-_WGA10583Today I had the opportunity to be in the Museum of Polish Jews. The exhibition is impressive and you could spend many hours there, but one detail caught my attention. Our country was once incredibly diverse culturally. Poles were only 2/3 of the population living in our area and managed to get along very well with everyone. In the fifteenth century, however, it has been decided  to order the Jews to leave some of the larger cities and move somewhere else (eg. from Cracow to Kazimierz). The reason was very surprising. It turned out that the Jewish bakers, who, instead of Sunday, celebrated on Saturday, were too much of a competition for Christians, because on Sunday and Monday morning you could get freshly baked bread from them! Divisions began when someone felt threatened, when someone cared more about their own interests than the good of all. We could have all gotten along and had fresh bread throughout the whole week, making this diversity a gift! What a pity …

Today is the feast of St. Peter and Paul. Both are great Apostles, though they were very different from each other. One – a simple fisherman, the other – an educated Pharisee. Apparently they were not very fond of each other, because they had very different ideas of how to proclaim the Gospel. The Church made them a nice surprise by combining their holiday in one day. I think the first lesson from this for us is that diversity gives life and broadens horizons. The way I see the world is not the only right way, but as long as I do not accept the “other”, I will never even find out about that and remain locked in my little world. Probably we will really be surprised in Heaven, seeing how incredibly different God created us.

Soon we begin our General Chapter – more than a hundred Sisters from all over the world will meet together. Each one coming from her own culture, with her own views, ideas, different responses to the same questions. They will meet and they will talk about the future of the whole Society, not just the part they know well. Many times they will have to put away what is “theirs” for the good of the whole. This should not be very hard, because we all have a common spirituality, faith and values. But that does not mean that I am not able to find an agreement with everyone else in the world, because on the lowest level of our existence, no matter what, we are always children of God. There is only one question. Do I really want the good for all, or maybe it’s all about my own interests?

 

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1 Response to The beauty of diversity

  1. Peggy says:

    It seems such a simple idea but so very difficult in our broken world. We need to stand with arms outstretched palms up ready to give and receive.

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