Every three years I move from one district of Bangladesh to another. In this year's message, I'll describe happenings in Chandpur, where I lived for 10 of the 12 months, and in Munshiganj during the other two months.
Perspective: A roadside storekeeper, whom I often pass on bicycle journeys, observed my irritation when the string on my face mask tore loose. Quickly, he reached into his stock and handed me one of the pretty protectors. "No need to pay," he smiled. "I do it out of love for you."
Christmas: For years Maryknoll Fr. Bob McCahill has been sending a letter to friends at Christmastime, chronicling his experience among the people of Bangladesh. This year, he reports, "Trust is growing, being built."
Christmas: To a friend of mine in Shariatpur, 12 hours distant from the refugee camps, I inquired: "Have you seen any Rohingyas here?" "No," he replied, "but what should I do if I see some?" I urged him: "Give them cups of tea, as you have given me. For they are suffering much."
Often when I converse with Muslim men, I ask them what is the purpose of our lives. If they were to answer according to what their preachers emphasize, they might readily say "faithfulness to ritual prayer." When I propose love for others as the foremost purpose of our lives, they often nod thoughtfully in agreement.