The Other Face of God
The following excerpt is taken from the introduction of The Other Face of God, written by Mary Jo Leddy, a Canadian writer, speaker, theologian, social activist and founder of Romero House.
If you ask me, as if your life depended on it, do you believe in God? I would think twice and answer: Yes, I do believe because I have seen the face of a young woman and her name is Teresita Cedillos.
If you turned to me and asked me whether it was possible to be faithful, I would see that you have seen too much to be sure of that anymore. I would look at you and say that fidelity is real because I have known a woman who has struggled for twenty years to bring her husband home. Her name is Hidat Mosa.
If you held my hand and whispered, wondering if we could change, I would place my other hand over yours and say: Yes, because I was changed when I met a black woman with a white leg and a man who slept with his briefcase. Her name was Deequa, and his name was Gugan.
If you sat beside me and mused whether life could be meaningful, I would look ahead and say, for sure, as sure as I know the name of Osman Omar and Clara Alvarez who hung on for dear life.
If you looked me in the eyes and challenged us both about our impossible dreams for justice and peace, I would say, yes, dream on, for there is a little street called Wanda Road where strangers sometimes become neighbors.
If you pursued this challenge and asked whether I had seen the evil in the world, I would answer, yes, but that it had no name and no face.
If you folded your hands into prayer and intoned a most ancient question, do you believe in Jesus Christ? I would cross my heart and say, yes, because a Muslim sheik helped me help a dying man in the middle of the night. His name was Sheik Mohammed.
If you wrung your hands and asked, what about the Church? Can we be faithful as scandal piles upon scandal? We must, I would reply; that is what I learned from a man by the name of Augustin who survived the Rwandan genocide.
If you breathed deeply and asked the question that had been on your mind from the beginning, have you seen the face of God? I would reply yes.
Teresita, Hidat, Deequa, Gugan, Osman, Clara, Sheik Mohammed and Augustin — these are some of the strangers with foreign names who have guided me on a new path toward God. As I repeat their names, like beads on a rosary, I see their faces, and I remember the first time I saw them and knew that I had been faced. Over these past 20 years, these and many others have summoned me to become myself. Strangers and foreigners, who are also called refugees, they have given me the blessing of newness, a new way of seeing the culture I live in and a new way of being in the church where my faith has been planted. They have shown me the other face of God.
From The Other Face of God by Mary Jo Leddy. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2011. Copyright © 2011 by Mary Jo Leddy. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the Publisher.