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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Where Your Treasure Is
Lucy Honner’s reflections from the streets of Bangalore

lucy with sisters
Lucy with four of the novices of the Missionary Sisters of St. Peter Claver

Lucy Honner travelled to Bangalore, India in September to participate in a course on Spirituality, Mission and Charism, which was sponsored by the Women Religious of India and the Missionary Sisters of St Peter Claver. Lucy gave presentations on fraternal life, charism, and spirituality to the 78 women religious attendees, who represented twelve different religious communities from around India.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decaydestroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store uptreasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be (Matthew 6:19-21).

India is a country of intrigue and contrast, beauty and depravity amidst the hardships of a life with a minimum of what most people would call “security.” I was deeply moved by the contrast between my comfortable life here in the States and the dramatically different values of Indian culture – enjoying life with its joys and accompanying each other in its hardships; hospitality, service, and gift-giving – through which I experienced the possibility of a different way of life than my own, and of finding a deeper presence of God.

Look at the birds in the sky; they do
lucy talking
Lucy speaks to a group of children from the Vincent Pallotti School in Banalore
not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? (Matthew 6:26-27).

The absolute chaos is striking – from traffic going in all directions to construction that never seems to be completed to trash indiscriminately discarded anywhere. In general, there is total disregard for order and material things; a complete contrast to the order and cleanliness upheld in the West as necessary elements for what is civilized, valuable, and functional. There is no sense of perfection and control. The acceptance of things as they come in the present moment is a common way of life. “Indian time” means to enjoy the present moment, to be available for whoever needs you… and to eventually show up.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself (Matthew 6:33-34a).

The day before I arrived to India there was a bomb blast outside the High Court in New Delhi. The day after I left, the north of the country suffered the effects of an earthquake. These traumas were reported with perfect British English in the local newspapers,
little boy india
in a journalistic style meant to account for the facts without creating hysteria. “This is life; you don’t know when your moment will come” was the down-to-earth reply of one of my new Indian friends, capturing a sense of the present while facing the reality of the uncertain future.

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life (John 12:15).

The probing question remains: where does my security lie? In justice, freedom, the sense of my rights and what I am due? Life in India offers little if any of these securities; Indians make themselves vulnerable through their social protocol of treating everyone as a guest. In some way, we all know how poor, weak, vulnerable and undeserving we are… This one thing we can be absolutely sure of: everything we store up for ourselves in this life will eventually slip away. On the streets of Bangalore, I learned how to live peacefully in the present moment: by keeping my eyes set on the final treasure that my heart is seeking.



Related links

Official web site of the Vatican.
Legionaries of Christ
For Your Vocation
Mater Ecclesaie College

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