Posted by: dowsmallgroups | 13/05/2013

Speaking to another’s heart

Primary School children's images of the Holy Spirit

Primary school children’s representations of the Holy Spirit – this ‘globe’ image featured on the cover of the Lord, Giver of Life booklet, published by WRCDT in 2009.

In the late 1870s and early 1880s Dr. Ludovic Zamenhof, a name to conjure with and a Jewish ophthalmologist from Bialystok at the time part of the Russian Empire, developed Esperanto. According to Zamenhof this language was created to foster harmony between people from different countries. His feelings and the situation in Bialystok may be gleaned from an extract from his famous letter to Nikolai Borovko around 1895.

‘The place where I was born and spent my childhood gave direction to all my future struggles. In Bialystok the inhabitants were divided into four distinct elements: Russians, Poles, Germans and Jews; each of these spoke their own language and looked on all the others as enemies. In such a town a sensitive nature feels more acutely than elsewhere the misery caused by language division and sees at every step that the diversity of languages is the first, or at least the most influential, basis for the separation of the human family into groups of enemies. I was brought up as an idealist; I was taught that all people were brothers, while outside in the street at every step I felt that there were no people, only Russians, Poles, Germans, Jews and so on. This was always a great torment to my infant mind, although many people may smile at such an ‘anguish for the world’ in a child. Since at that time I thought that ‘grown-ups’ were omnipotent, so I often said to myself that when I grew up I would certainly destroy this evil.’

At Pentecost we witness the birth of the Church, we witness the Spirit enabling the apostles who were previously ‘trembling with fear’ boldly proclaiming the Good News of Christ. They were able to be understood, the divisions of language disappeared, they spoke to the hearts of others.

How are we able to realise the dreams of Dr. Ludovic and the reality of Pentecost in speaking to the hearts of others? When we talk about our faith, do we make every effort to be understood?

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