There is a a lovely post up over at the Inside Catholic blog, wherein Zoe Romanowsky links to Fr. Hugh Vincent Dyer, OP (is it me or is the Dominican Order absolutely all over the internet and using it very well, indeed?), and his encounter with a Muslim woman that might surprise you.
One day last week I stood in front of St. Stephen Martyr Church in D.C. with a young religious sister and the pastor of the parish. The scene would have made for a typical beginning to a joke, “A priest, a nun, and a friar, were…” We were talking, laughing, and enjoying the sun; a diocesan priest in black, a Franciscan sister in brown and a Dominican in white.
A young lady with olive skin, black hair, and black eyes approached us. Her accented voice trembled as she asked us to pray with her there on the street. She explained that her brother had been killed in Baghdad and her father had been kidnapped a year ago. We all closed our eyes and bowed our heads as Monsignor prayed…
You really do want to read the whole thing.
It reminds me a little of a story I linked to last year, by another priest, this time one taking a lesson from a newly-baptized Iraqi woman who took her life in her hands to leave Islam and embrace the Christ:
…this woman, who must remain anonymous, was touched deeply when she realized that the U.S. medical personnel not only treated wounded Americans and Iraqi civilians, but also treated wounded enemy combatants, including one who was known for having killed U.S. Marines. As she put it, “This cannot happen with us.”
This dramatic extension of mercy even to enemy soldiers caused her to take the next cautious step. She asked Father Bautista to “tell me more about Jesus.” As Father described Jesus and his life in the Gospels, one thing stood out among the rest for the Muslim woman he called “Fatima” (not her real name) and that was how kindly Jesus had related to, as she put it, “the two Mary’s.” Fatima was moved to see how Jesus deeply loved Mary, his mother, who was sinless, but also how Jesus deeply loved Mary Magdalene, who was “a great sinner.” As these discussions continued, Fatima reached a point where she said to Father Bautista, “I want to become a Christian.”
…Father Bautista became concerned for Fatima’s well-being and cautioned her to look carefully at the consequences of her decision and to think seriously before continuing her path into the Church.
Fatima paused for a moment and then looking intently at Father Bautista asked, “Do you give up so easily on Jesus?”
I like how the Mother of the Christ, Mary, riffs through these two stories in one way or another, through the “Fatima” connection or the Hail Mary in the first story. Mary, of course, is revered in Islam, although differently than as in Catholic or Orthodox Christianity. She also appeared at Fatima, in Portugal, a place named for the most-favored daughter of Mohammed.
I would have linked to Zoe Romanowsky’s post anyway, but right now I also do so in a special way. After trying very hard to keep my own east-and-west separately, today I finally toss it all up to God (in the same way I used to pick Buster’s pacifier up from the floor and give it back to him without major sterilization procedures) and say, “hey, while you’re there at Inside Catholic, go read my piece, which revisits – from a somewhat different angle – the Egan/Giuliani Imbroglio I second-parted here. Call it a part-three.
Deacon Greg has discovered Bruce Wayne or maybe Elastagirl, given my runs up and down the scale!