Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Paolo and Gianluca"

“Paolo and Gianluca”

(Casual Blogging Series #5 – Sunday, November 22, 2009) – Christ the King

By Deshi Ramadhani, SJ

About a month ago I had the opportunity to visit some old friends in Rome. I stayed with Alessandro and Marcella, and their two little boys, Paolo and Gianluca. Amid my efforts to speak in Italian I did enjoy my time with those little angels. One incident somehow has ingrained in my mind. I was playing with them when at one point the little Gianluca looked deeply into my eyes, and called my name, “Deshi!” (and as a true Italian he made a gesture with his hands). As I’m writing this, I can still hear clearly his voice calling me by name.

For one reason, there is this cultural thing. Here in Indonesia, little kids can’t just call adults by name. It’s considered so impolite, if not uncivilized. Besides, people simply call me “Romo” (that’s Javanese, meaning “Father”). My little nephews call me “Pakdhe Romo” (“Uncle Priest”). So, I haven’t been called simply by my name for a long time. That’s why for me that incident turned out to be a surprising celebration of who I really am. I am Deshi, that’s all. And the little Gianluca gave me that gift with his innocence. In his voice, there was that pure trust in me.

Later on, I realized that this is how God has been dealing with me. God always calls my name with that “pure trust.” No hidden agenda. God loves me as who I am, not as who I should be. More surprisingly, that memory became very strong this morning as I pondered upon today’s feast, Christ the King. Yes, in Christian belief, He is the King of Kings, of all universe, and of the whole history of humanity. For Jesuits, all the more, having been formed by the Meditation of the King’s Call in St. Ignatius of Loyola’s “Spiritual Exercises,” this feast has a special emphasis that moved us not only to love Him, but more so to offer Him our total service [oops, well, at least that’s the ideal for each Jesuit]. This is not a feast of a frightening King. I believe that this is also a feast when I hear again Christ the King calling me, “Deshi,” with a pure trust in me. The same thing also to each one of you.

Thank you, Paolo and Gianluca, for this wonderful teaching.