Men in Christ, Men of the Church, Men for Others

Dan’s story from yesterday showcases precisely what I want to write about today; how the Lord, in his goodness, has given me incredible witnesses of love in my seminarian brothers. We’ve spoken at length about how beautiful it is to watch the sisters at work; how they do their service with immense joy and love, seeing only Jesus in the poor around them. It’s been just as beautiful for me to watch my brothers as they love the poor around them.

When volunteering at my main volunteer site, Daya Dan, where we work with mentally and physically handicapped children, I was told by one of the nurses to put pillowcases on some pillows in the corner. I went over to do this simple task and was given a moment much calmer than the usual the rush of feeding the children, playing with them, helping them with their homework, and doing laundry. In this lull, I looked around the room, and what met my eyes was a beautiful sight. We had just arrived for the day and my brothers were greeting the children in the dormitory. They were going around the room, showing each child such love and affection. One was kneeling by the bedside of a child, simply holding his hand while looking lovingly into his eyes. Another was talking to a child in his bed, laughing with him and saying, “good morning”. A third was being led by a jumping child into the other room to play. While doing these things, my brothers radiated love towards the children, being extraordinary examples of the Father’s love through ordinary means.

Over the next couple days, the Lord continued to show me the goodness of my brothers, especially in how they loved the poor around them through their own talents and personalities. Frankie Floeder, who is very musically gifted, quickly found a guitar at Daya Dan and thrilled the kids by singing songs with them. The kids were absolutely delighted–they danced up and down, clapping and singing with joy. Michael Maloney, gifted with an incredibly logical and intelligent mind, devised a system with a nonverbal child in which he could communicate by pointing out letters on his t-shirt to spell words. Joshua Abraham is one of the most personable people I know. In serving at Daya Dan and at Kalighat, the home for the dying, Josh was quick to learn the names of those he’s encountering, so he could truly know them and enter into a genuine relationship with them. He’s also been learning Bengali phrases in order to communicate better with them. Also at Kalighat, Ryan Sustacek, who has the wonderful talent of being an intentional listener, sat on a cot listening to a sick man, asking about his life and making sure he felt heard. Ed Burke has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know, and he used this incredible gift to stay by the bedside of a dying man for the entire visiting time, which is a full two hours. He then repeated this the next time we were at Kalighat.

I share these moments with you, which are only a handful out of many, many more possible examples, to show you the goodness of the brothers I’m here serving with. We traveled here to Calcutta to encounter Christ in the poor, which we most certainly have; but another huge blessing of the trip is encountering Christ in each other, in witnessing the heart of Jesus shining forth from my brother seminarian. What a true honor it is to serve beside these true men in Christ, men of the church, and men for others.

In Christ,

Joe Lemmer

Image of Divine Mercy Outside Kalighat The Mother Teresa Statue outside Kalighat


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