Saturday 8 February 2014

Bakhita and Balaguer

Today is the memorial of St - I was still calling her Blessed! - Josephine Bakhita. My memories went back immediately to Rome, to the beatification of Bakhita and Balaguer. To the voices that the Opus people, or at least some of them, were not very happy at their founder being beatified with Bakhita, black slave woman that she was. And to the other voice being passed around, that John Paul II had stood his ground. That, for me, was certainly one of the significant elements in his sanctity.

The introduction to the mass this morning was touching: Solomon asking the Lord for the gift of wisdom, for the ability to discern between good and evil; and the invitation to ask, ourselves, for a gift. What might I ask, if I were given the chance?

Bakhita was asked in her later years: if you were to meet the people who enslaved you and tortured you, what would you do? And she seems to have said without hesitation: I would kneel down and kiss their feet. Wow. The gift of forgiveness! Wonderful.

And the interesting thought and inspiration: time to get over any negative attitude towards Balaguer and the Opus. Time to extend Christian cordiality inter nos: Bakhita and Balaguer both on the altars, after all. 

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