My Experience with an Elderly Catholic Missionary
I suspect that a lot of our Christian counterparts think that Muslims such as myself are anti-Christian, that we probably make fun of Christians all day long and taunt them. The truth however, is quite contrary, and I’d like to demonstrate this by writing about my brief but meaningful experience with a very elderly Catholic. On Wednesday last, the 18th, I sat at a bus stop (my first ever use of one) to head home for a surgeon’s appointment the next day. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a cloaked figure, a person wear a sun hat and an all white cloak, huddling along to the bus stop. All the seats at the stop were taken. He carefully made his way towards us and put his bags down. He was en elderly old man, very old, I suspected he was a Catholic missionary by the way he had dressed. In the time he put down his bags and opened up a book to read, roughly 3 or 4 minutes had passed and no one as of yet had offered him a seat – they all left the old man standing. Alas, it was not for too long, for by the time he’d read a paragraph from the book he was reading (religious in nature, not the Bible), the bus had arrived.
To get on the bus, he’d have to hold his bags and join a queue. I took my chance then, I walked up to him, smiled and asked if I could hold his bags for him – he seemed perplexed, but obliged. Despite my horrid health, in my heart, as a Muslim – I felt compelled to help this elderly man, regardless of his faith. Islam has taught me to be a mercy to all and in helping this elderly Catholic man, I felt it was my duty to assist him in some way. I held his bags for a few minutes as we all walked up to the steps on the bus. When my turn had arrived, he asked for his bags and I returned them. Yet, before stepping on to the bus, I stepped aside and I offered him to go first, again, kindly extending a means of ease for this elderly gentleman. He boarded the bus and sat a seat ahead and across from me. Eventually while the bus was making stops, he took a seat behind me.
Finally, my stop came and the Catholic gentleman stopped me. He shook my hand and thanked me for my kindness, very quickly, he introduced himself as a Catholic named Adolpho Bueno, with family from both Colombia and Venezuela, he lived very near to our region’s main University which I attended. He extended his hand and gave me a lovely gift, something to remember him by – which I seem to have inadvertently misplaced during my moving between the North and South of my island, inshaaAllaah I find it soon so I can post the photo.
We do not sit and ill speak our Christian brothers and sisters, I didn’t debate him, didn’t argue with him, insult his religion. I accepted his gift which was a prayer through a Saint, I helped him, smiled with him and shook his hand. I’m a Muslim and I love my Christian brothers and sisters, I don’t see them as our enemies, but as the sons and daughters of Adam (‘alayhi as salaam).
and Allaah knows best.