Sunday, March 21, 2021

See Jesus, Be Jesus

“Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” John 12:21

“Scarlet and the Black”, starring Gregory Peck, is one of my favorite movies of all time. We used to watch it again and again during the time videos were on Betamax tapes. I am now reading “The Vatican Pimpernel”, a book about the real Father Hugh O’Flaherty, who looks nothing like the handsome and dignified Mr. Peck. 

The Irish Catholic priest, Monsignor O’Flaherty, was a senior official of the Roman Curia during World War II, and was responsible for saving around 6,500 Allied POWs, refugees and Jews from being captured by the Fascists in Italy and the Nazis of Germany. He was quite creative and resourceful in evading the traps of the Gestapo and the Sicherheitsdienst by wearing all sorts of disguises, sometimes walking the streets of Rome as a nun or coal man. This is what earned him the nickname “The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican”.

Many times the Monsignor risked his life to shelter fugitives in rented apartments, convents, monasteries and Italian homes. He formed a network of many valiant hearted men and women including priests, aristocrats, Italian royalty, and diplomats who funded the operations, smuggled messages, scrounged around for black market food and medical supplies, falsified documents, and harbored fugitives within their small cramped apartments or palazzos. It was a game of hide and seek where people’s lives were at stake. Ireland had declared neutrality in the war, but when the Monsignor observed how the Jews were treated by the Nazis, his motto became, “God has no country”, and he knew what he had to do.

After the war, the Gestapo colonel Herbert Kappler, the Monsignor’s adversary, very ably played by Christopher Plummer in the movie, was tried and convicted of war crimes, and was imprisoned. The Monsignor was one of the few people who visited the man who had tried to capture and kill him, even to putting a white line that separated the Vatican from occupied Rome. Several years after, the Monsignor baptized him into the Catholic Church.

Very few of us have the opportunity to literally save thousands of lives. But we can always live our life so that others may see Jesus in us and want to live their life as Christians. 

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I am so glad you dropped by! You are a blessing!
:^) Patsy