A Cross by the Ganges

The men carrying the cross
Close to their hearts moved towards the river
And plunged into it to swim against the stream

A Cross by the Ganges

By Joe Palathunkal

They came from the land
Where the Statue of Liberty reigns
To the land
Where the Ganges winds its long course
Through hills and plains carrying myths and truths.
As they gazed at the long river

They saw
Whirlpools stifling freedom
And helpless bodies
Floating and flowing down stream in total silence
As if it is their fate to flow downward.

The men carrying the cross
Close to their hearts moved towards the river
And plunged into it to swim against the stream
To teach their people the great lesson
That your decision to swim against the stream
That is what designs your life’s stream
And the course of your dream.

When a century wrote their story
The cross grew in height and stature
And a manifesto from Nazareth signed a covenant
With the cross and their souls
To redirect the Ganges to the waves of Galilee
And the moon in a starry night
Wrote with its beams over the Ganges:
Ad maiorem Dei gloriam !

For the greater glory of God
Standing by the cross some drew a map of the vineyard
With their blood falling to daggers or the bullets
And others with their tears and sweat
But always holding on to the cross and gazing the Ganges.

And the river agreed to flow
Where the compass of the cross pointed the direction
And the history of a land
Turned into an epic of liberation that breathed
A new life into generations to come
And the Ganges flowed with the abundance of life!!!

(To the Jesuits of Patna – centenary year 2021. In 1921, Frs. William Eline, SJ, Henry Milet, SJ, Edward Anderson, SJ, Patrick Troy, SJ, and Thomas Kelly, SJ., the first five Jesuits of Missouri Province, USA, came to the mission in Patna, Bihar, and the Jesuit Mission was inaugurated in this eastern region of India. American Jesuit Father Francis Martinsek was murdered in 1979 at Mokama, Patna.)

(Joe Palathunkal is Associate Editor, Living in Faith)

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