While living far away from my home country, I found myself a target of mean-spirited comments for reasons I could only guess were racial or ethnic and cultural. As a youth I had been familiar with that kind of prejudice, having been harassed in my own school many times for choosing or defending a friend who might not have had a dark enough skin color (as was more accepted by those who were native or part-native in the area). But in this case, far away from familiar scenes and close friends, I felt deeply hurt and alone.
Like a seed blowing across barren rocks in search of a place to take root, I tried desperately to feel part of the community. And as a seed is sometimes prepared for germination by fire, I was to see how what feels at the moment like a frightening situation cannot truly hurt, but can actually bring thought closer to God and His immaculate design of love.
Words that ring with spiritual truth have been capable of tremendous good. Indeed, as a youth in the midst of trying situations, my heart had been comforted many times over by words that surpass human ignorance, pettiness, and persecution, and hint at or declare the unity and brotherhood of all mankind. St. Paul’s words particularly freed my thought from discouragement: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).