God is known – in a flash of vision which opens a door to Eternity

The following story is taken from a little collection called in a flash of vision, written by Sr Ishpriya.  Sr Ishpriya is an English Catholic Sacred Heart sister who, many years ago, went to live in India and their lives out her religious vocation, drawing on the practices and insights of the Indian spiritual traditions which enhance and deepen her living of her own Catholic Christian tradition. This is a beautifully poignant account of something which touched her deeply and which, in its tenderness and simplicity, most surely gives us a glimpse of Eternity.  

“The early morning express train from Pune to Bombay pulled into the station at Lonavala.  The tension and tiredness etched on the faces of the daily commuters to the city, seemed to incite the frenzied activity of the coolies and the chai-walas making their uneven ways among the jostling crowds on the platform.

My unseeing gaze slid over the familiar scene to be unexpectedly arrested by a small mound of sacks piled in the angle between two walls.  As I watched, the gentle fingers of the newly risen sun reached and caressed the little heap.  In spontaneous response it rose to greet the dawn.  One joyous bound and, a small boy had leapt to his feet.

His smile laughed back to the sun as he stretched his cramped body to its warmth.  Turning, he reverently retrieved the scattered sacks.  Each was folded with exquisite care and placed on top of the torn cardboard box which served as home.  A broken umbrella and a battered lota were then carefully replaced in position.  His total possessions thus lovingly set in order, he once more stretched his arms to greet another day, face radiant with the joy of being alive.

He seemed in no hurry to begin his every day task of finding, somehow, enough food to sustain this fragile, precious, gift of life.  Time was his.  He looked at the train, bulging with anxious passengers, without anxiety.  Only slowly did he begin to move towards the nearest compartment.  But the train was late and as he approached the first window with the beggars’ universal gesture of appeal, it pulled away from the platform.

We rushed on towards the city, our duties and our deadlines, while I held quietly in my heart the love a small boy had unknowingly awakened there.  Surely never had newborn baby been more tenderly enfolded in its mother’s arms, than had those dirty sacks been folded by that child. Never had saint risen from sleep to pray with more spontaneous joy than that small boy rose from a homeless night to a hungry day.

It is almost certain that he knew neither religious creed nor spiritual practice, but can we doubt that he and God were friends?”

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Ms Kerry McCullough

Spirituality and Liturgy Coordinator