There is coverage in the media this week of a meeting that Pope Francis attended during his visit to Albania. During that meeting, an 84 year old priest Fr Ernest Troshani Simoni, a survivor of the terrible communist persecutions in Albania, moved the Pope to tears. The priest told of how he was imprisoned in inhumane conditions simply because of his fidelity to the church.
He recounted that in December 1944 a Communist regime came to power in Albania and sought to eliminate the Faith and the clergy. Arrested on the 14 December 1963 he suffered immense torture. He was given 28 years of hard labour. He was only released when the communist regime fell.
Being moved by the experiences of others is an important step in our journeys of Faith. It is so often in those stories, in their witness, in their brokenness that we catch a glimpse of God.
That is why we have to be open hearted, willing to listen, vulnerable to the experiences of those who come into our lives. If we can let them in, these people will takes us into the arms of God.
Needless to say, it isn’t just the extraordinary stories that change us, the ordinary ways in which people are treated can have this same impact.
It’s those who are cold, unmoved, certain, who close their hearts to God.
Pope Francis just hugged this man and grew in God.
Just a thought!