Hope you are well. The week seems to have been good. Let us hope and pray, we may have a good weekend ahead.
I came across a small story, which goes like this. An anthropologist left some candies in a basket and told the kids there that whoever reaches the basket first could have all the candies. But surprisingly all the kids held their hands together and ran to the basket and took the candies and shared among themselves and all enjoyed the candies. When they were asked why they did not try to come each by himself or herself to avail the candies, they said, UBUNTU, which meant, “I am (what I am) because (of what) we are”. This is amazing. This is from the African culture.
When I wanted to look up for that word on the internet to know what it really meant, there was another aspect for that word and that is, this ‘ubuntu’ is a computer operating system, an open source Debian-based Linux distribution. Interestingly the meaning of this word is based on the concept of sharing and that system being for free. This concept of ubuntu is an interesting one as we understand meaning, which is “I am because we are”.
How true is that each one of us exist as long as others exist. Our existence is not our own or it is not determined by ourselves. Our existence is determined by others and in another sense, it is meant for others. This feature of our life makes it more meaningful and interesting. If we keep our life to ourselves, it becomes not only meaningless, but also it is also monotonous and boring. Because only when other people involve in any activity, that activity becomes very creative and innovative which in turn makes it more and more enjoyable.
Added to that only when others are able to intervene in our lives with good intention and acts, our life becomes enriched. Because we all are dependent on other people to some extent. That is why Socrates was right in saying, “Man is a social being (animal)”. For one to be social, one needs a society, which is the other human beings around us. They make our life complete and they make our life meaningful.
This concept of ubuntu also to an extent involves an aspect of sacrifice. I would like to reciprocate the meaning of it by making it, “we are what we are because of what I am”. I don’t mean to be arrogant or selfish, but I want to offer myself up for you and others to make a better “WE”. Because as an “I” is not possible without a “WE”, so also a “WE” is not possible without an “I”. This “I” sacrifices itself to make the “WE” possible and the otherwise also. In that process, this “I” factor may seem to suffer a loss, but that is not so. If properly understood, it is in giving that we receive (St. Francis of Assisi). This is what we need to understand, because this is basically the spirit of Christianity.
Let’s contribute to the others that we may become full. I am what I am because of what we are.
Yours sincerely in Christ Jesus,
Fr. A. Antony