Woman planting potatoes
Around us life goes on: They are walking through the many fields, quietly, in rhythm. They bear under their arms baskets that they have woven themselves. They walk together, side by side. Two more come behind. They are sowing potatoes in the red earth of the highlands of Antsirabe. They work carefully. Their hands are like opened shells. Their feet don't trample the furrows, but move along the narrow strips of elevated earth.
The two women who follow behind use their bare feet to cover with earth the freshly sown potatoes. They tread the soil lightly. They are working with confidence in their hearts. The potatoes will grow and multiply, and there will be food for many.
A meeting of minds and hearts: In our meeting room, this image stays with me. This is how we should sow our words and our ideas, together and with care, covering them with the earth of brotherhood and understanding. They should be good ideas which have the power to develop, to multiply and to serve as food for the Congregation and for the neighbors. This is how we are speaking. Whether one-on-one, in small groups or all together, we speak as brothers, with a great deal of openness.
Dry earth. Our brother, Fr. Tarcisio Tchiheke, M.S., from Angola can't be with us at this meeting. The war and the poverty of his people prevent him from coming. Dry earth - hungry people. Hungry for peace and for bread. Hungry for God's love.
During the Mass, we hold in our hands a picture of hungry people in Angola and we pray for peace. It's very quiet. There's a lump in my throat. "Lord, bestow on us the gift of your peace!" "Amen," say my brothers on either side of me. Then we share the Bread of Life.
The daily plight of the poor: They sit down and wait on the edge of the streets. They run before their pousse-pousse (typical rickshaw-like transportation in Madagascar). Sometimes they ring a small bell. They pull people and their baggage.
|Row of pousse-pousse in
And the children at La Salette saw a Lady seated on a stone, her face hidden in her hands, weeping. In a sense, our Mother first visited La Salette, and then through our meetings is present to listen to our concerns this year about Madagascar, Angola, and other needy places around our world… and so it goes…