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Last evening as we watched one more Hallmark movie, I commented to Sister Elizabeth that the judgment two of the characters had made was such a clear example of their differing worldview. Each of them thought they were correct in their view, and could not see how the other could understand things in any other way. It was a great lesson in how several factors determine our perspectives on issues and behaviors and need always to be considered when challenged. Things like male/female, “class status,” country of origin (even ancestry), education and many more should never be discounted in serious conversation. We are facing that kind of issue of self-knowledge and acceptance now as we prepare for national elections. How wonderful it would be if we all really listened to what candidates are saying rather than just deciding by whether they are democrats, republicans or independents!

This morning I was reminded of all this as I read about the “Saint of the Day” in the Franciscan media website. I realized how provincial I am as I learned of Blessed Emmanuel Ruiz and his companions. Emmanuel was a Franciscan friar of the Maronite rite, a missionary in Syria, who suffered martyrdom in the mid-nineteenth century for his faith. The last line of the reflection about this saint called readers to “pray for the Church in Syria.”

Likely because 217 of the 266 popes in our history have been from Italy, it’s easy to think “Holy Roman Catholic Church” without considering the 6 Popes who have come from Syria…or the others who are in the minority, including our present Pope Francis from Argentina (whose parents were, however, Italian immigrants which muddies the waters of my point a bit.)

Maybe today would be a good day to explore the Maronite Rite, a facet of my own religion with which I have only a passing acquaintance, to broaden my perspective in this season of divisiveness on so many fronts in our country. A tiny step, perhaps, but a start. Oh yes, and then to pray for the Church in Syria!