As I joined the seminary in Mumbai, I must confess I entered with my head held high and much confidence in my capabilities to be someday, a fine priest. I was nice in my dealings with people but even in that I had a certain intention of pride i.e. to show myself as the most holy person alive and I tried my best to be another Mother Teresa. It was just a few weeks after I entered the seminary I found a man who inspired me so much that it challenged my very motive to be a priest. And guess what, he wasn’t the Rector or any staff member. Neither was he some visiting professor nor a priest who I saw on and off. He was just a simple seminary sweeper who did his 9 – 4 job every day.
Our seminary is very well organized and we have a number of domestic workers to our avail. In the seminary, every sweeper has a designated corridor that he cleans. I don’t really know if they are assigned this area or they chose it themselves. In any case, my class corridor is cleaned by this young fellow who arrives joyfully and faithfully early each morning with his huge broom to clean the area. He alone knows his responsibility and the work that is assigned to him for the day. It may be raining heavily or there may be intense heat but he is always there to do his job and on time. Unlike the other helpers, this sweeper stops doing whatever he is currently doing when I pass and gives me a big nice smile as if I was his long lost relative, never asking for anything in return but a smile back. I guess he stops his work because he doesn’t want me to be shrouded in dust as I walk to my class to attend lectures. I have never heard him grumble at the mess we left on our corridor and classroom particularly when our seminary fun turns into some water spraying sport or paper rocket attacks at each other. He smiles and watches us having fun and as we leave he gets back to undoing all the mess. Probably for him the work must be done and he does it with the same honour and dignity as most people who travel in fancy cars would do.
Also in these three months, not once has this sweeper asked for something like money or any materialistic thing. He just goes ahead and makes friends with all the priest and brothers. He knows exactly which brother resides in which room and that’s not it, he also knows what each brother likes to do in his spare time. If anyone needs any kind of help or an extra pair of hands to do some job, he will be there in the blink of an eye. He is also paid a very minimal amount as his salary. No job is too small or dirty for him. The best part is – all he asks of a person is to look at him and smile back.
At first I must say I was sceptical about his behaviour but slowly realised that he was a person different from all of us. He is like the lotus in the midst of mucky water, standing out bright and beautifully. It just makes me think where exactly am I? I’m definitely learning about God’s teachings and here stand’s a man who neither has loads of degrees in theology or canon law yet faithfully living out most of the teachings.
Who do you think God appreciates more?