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Thank You, Mandiba!

December 10th, 2013by Teresa Phillips

mandelaTo look at me, you might not think I would be much affected by the death of Nelson Mandela. Half a world away and older than my father would have been had he lived… what do I know about such things? I was only vaguely socially aware in my youth, and more into Bob Geldof’s Band Aid and the activism of Bono because of the cool music involved than an anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. So, what did call my young attention to Nelson Mandela?

One word… forgiveness.

I am in complete awe of is ability to forgive his captors and reconcile a nation so bitterly divided over race. Is all racially equal in South Africa now? Not yet. But because of Mandela’s leadership, it is leaps and bounds better that what could have been if he hadn’t found it in himself to forgive, to move forward and not to look back. To stand in front of the world next to the very people who kept in place a system that caused him and many others so much suffering and to peacefully transition… I am in awe.

Many of today’s leaders would do well to learn from him.  Mr. Mandela had to find forgiveness in his heart before he could have ever come to peace in his actions. When I look at photos of Mr. Mandela, that forgiveness seems, at least to me, to radiate from him. If there is one thing we can take from Mr. Mandela, it should be that knowledge and the desire to foster forgiveness in our hearts. Maybe then, we could find peace in our world.

January 1st is the 46th World Day of Peace in our church. I hope you will come celebrate with us at either the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains in Cincinnati or St. Benedict the Moor in Dayton and pray for that peace.

Teresa Phillips

Teresa Phillips is the Assistant Director of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Mission Office. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Gabon, Africa. She is married with two children.