Seven years ago when my parents and I came to U.S., I could barely pronounce Xavier correctly, yet alone think that I will have an opportunity to travel to Rome and be in the same room with the Pope Benedict XVI. On the other hand, I doubt that Joseph Alois Ratzinger thought that he will be the Pope and will be in the same room with me.
This opportunity is extraordinary but with such opportunity comes the responsibility. I am not talking about the responsibility to prepare for the trip; I am talking about my responsibility after it. What will I learn, and how will I share this with Xavier Community? This is a Lay Conference that tries to bridge the gap of understanding between two communities, but the question is how do we have this dialogue more than once a year, how do we have this dialogue every month, every week, every day? How do we engage others to join in dialogue to achieve the future distinctly better from the past? The opportunity to travel to Rome will last 4 days, the opportunity to use what I will learn can last a lifetime.
“So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the Pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that.” This is a lengthy quote from a terrific movie most of you probably have seen -Good Will Hunting. I always think of this quote when I travel somewhere. Obviously, I have read a lot about Michelangelo and his works, about the beauty of Vatican and the Sistine Chapel, but now I will have a chance to experience these things differently, on a level that can’t be described in a blog or on a picture. It is something that stays in your heart for life.
I know I will not be able to describe everything that will take place during this trip. This blog is not about sightseeing and not about the beauty of the Sistine Chapel, I know it is magnificent. This blog is about dialogue and how it takes place. But why wait for when I come back. Let’s start now. I urge you to respond; I will read all the comments and do my best at sharing this experience. I subscribe to a lot of blogs and couple of my articles have been published here and there. The blogs that I like, often do not have just one person writing about his/her view of the world. On the contrary the author only sparks the interest and then community builds a fascinating conversation about the topic. I know that there are students from different religious backgrounds represented on Xavier’s campus. And I encourage and challenge each and every one of you to join me in this conversation; at the end this is called Xavier Universe.
My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org, I will make sure your questions are heard.