CROSS-POST FROM INTERIOR DIALOGUES
After reading Deus Caritas Est (Pope Benedict's first encyclical) I dove into the secular book Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. At the same time, my thoughts were directed on what I hoped I would be led to do for the children of Afghanistan. Superficially, these three things would not seem to have anything to do with each other. But I find them linked together in a very logical way. In Deus Caritas Est Holy Father instructs us on the true meaning of love and the unity found in the joint perfection of eros, agape, and philia. This perfect union exalts the physical and spiritual body of man.
In read Nafisi's book, we see how society can be perverted and destroyed through acts of violent hatred aimed indiscriminately against anyone, any institution, any group that disagrees with the prevailing religious fanaticism. But just as oppression wins and destroys a social order, we also see the triumph of a human spirit and her struggle to live as freely as she can within a society that oppresses. That she has to leave her home eventually in order to survive is her personal sadness.However, that loss gave us her book and the information it contains touched me at a time in my life when an expanding definition of love led me to thoughts of charitable acts and how this might fit into my future. Benedict's encyclical (Pt II:37) says "A personal relationship with God and an abandonment to His will can prevent man from being demeaned and saves him from falling prey to the teachings of fanaticism and terrorism." This simple truth brought me to the third seemingly unrelated point - the cold children of Afghanistan.
Again, it is Benedict who points us in the right direction telling us the "we are able to do acts of charity because the Lord has enabled us to do so."(DCE Pt. II:35) We are not responsible for saving the world but because of love we ARE required to do what we can and leave the rest to God. So when I read of the cold children of Ghor, it just seemed like the most natural thing i the world to send out a call for help. The response has been so gratifying. Nine boxes of warm clothes went to the children. It was a simple act of Collection, Send/Receive, and Disburse. No red tape, just a simple act of charity supported by a few warmhearted women. Blessed Mother Theresa said "Do Small things with great love" and that is what we have done.
So you see, for me, there is a clear connection between Benedict, Nafisi, and the children. It's about love, faith, hope, and charity. The greatest of these is love and you cannot have love without loving God and keeping faith, hope and charity in your heart AND in your acts.