Friday night was Stations of the Cross along Copacabana Beach. The 14 Stations were set up on platforms right down the 4km beach and there were hundreds of thousands of people there. It was amazing. We left our run a little late to get to the beach, and so making our way through the crowd was a full on experience. We formed a line, and as it happened I ended up holding our flag pole and leading the way with our Australian/NT flags. Normally Andrzej has taken up this role, dutifully guiding us through. But tonight I was keen to have a go, and so began the slow job of leading the group through the crowd.
I’ve had 2 phones on me during the pilgrimage. My Aussie SIM in my iphone (the main point of reference for our Aussie families and in cases of emergency) and a Brazlian SIM in a basic phone (for local communication). I had both on my at all times. On Friday night both phones were in my jacket, in zipped pockets.
Have you guessed what happens in this story… well you got it, when we finally got to our spot, I went to grab my iphone to take a photo. My pocket was unzipped and my phone gone. Then the frantic dash to consider where else I could have had it, only to realise I was kidding myself and it was gone. Taken deliberately from a pro, who unzipped my pocket and got into it without me noticing.
And then the panic and distress. My iphone!!! I’ve only had it since March, but it really has changed my life. I am happy to admit it. This thing is my diary, my inbox for 4 work emails I manage, my address book, my note book, my camera, my communication point to people throughout the world in the use of skype, whats app, viber, tango and rebtel. It is my prayer book with ibreviary, the bible, pope app, bible gateway and more. It is my fitness companion – mapmyfitness, anytime fitness etc. It is my brag book – everyone has seen photos/videos of my neice Sara or one of my 4 god-children! It is my sound-recorder, reminder, bookings tool, alarm, watch… seriously, you should get one of these things!!
And so then the frantic pacing (my Italian blood), loud words spoken into the air (yes Italian again) and the distress. Ahhhhhh! The group around me were fantastic, caring and helpful. The beautiful Brazilians were apologetic and too willing to help. I was the only one who was hard on myself – how could I have been so stupid, so trusting. Why wasn’t I checking my pockets in the crowd! Didn’t I know anything about Copacabana Beach and pickpockets? How many warnings had I gotten! Seriously!
After calming down (in Italian time) and heading onto the beach for the stations, I settled down to pray with and journey with the cross. It was beautiful. In meditating on the cross, and the sacrifice of Jesus, it came to me. How little this insignificance was. I started to pray for the person who took my phone. I offered up the Stations for them and their life, their family and friends, the situation they are in and for their future dreams. It was so peaceful to pray for them. It brought healing, to a relationship I didn’t even really have. But I think if I met the person today who took my phone, I would ask them gently if there was anything I could do to help.
And then the Pope offered some words: “The Cross of Christ is felt here, in Brazil. The Cross of Christ invites us to be smitten by his love, to look upon others with mercy and love.” There it was. And more. “Who are you like, pilate? Simon? or Mary? Jesus is looking at you right now. Do you want him to carry the cross? How do you answer? Let us bring our joy/suffering/tears to the cross of Jesus, to love each person with the same love.”
My prayer ended in praying in thanksgiving and love for the person who stole my phone. Even if there wasn’t a good reason, there is a pain and struggle there that is putting someone in a position of power, in taking things of others. I pray for and love this person.
I can get another phone, I can take more photos, remind myself (again) to back up, re-purchase apps and re-connect with contacts. This is easy. But the person who stole my phone perhaps has struggles that cannot be so easily solved. I wish I knew them to be able to try and work with them to make things right, to bring light into darkness and peace into pain.
May God bless and protect my friend.