Vincebt Lascève, Ein Teller in der Mitte

A plate in the circle
I would like to give a testimony about what happened to me in this Magis
experiment. The first day, I thought I was called to go and pray in the places of
prostitution of the town. But at the end of this first day, after seeking god in
these places without finding peace, I met an old beggar at the door of the
Cathedral, to whom I give a banana. We spoke a little together. In the evening, I
noticed that my day had been very complicated and that I finally found what I
was looking for in the simplicity of this old beggar.
That is why I decided the second day, to go in the town, in places where I could
find some beggars and speak with them. A young Texan man from Magis was
accompanying me. We went to the station but found no one there, except two
young people who seemed to be drug sellers. Then we turned all around the
town, looking for beggars without finding them. After a while, we decided to go
to a garden where beggars are used to go. The first beggar we met did not want
to speak to us. We proposed to give him fruits, but he refused. He accepted that
we sat on the next bank to have lunch. But after a few minutes, we felt very
much hill at ease to eat in front of him without he joined us. Then, we went to
another bank to have lunch. We spoke together about these experiences and
about our lives. It seemed to me that this sharing was more than sharing of
bread. After this peaceful moment in the beauty of the garden, we went back to
the Cathedral to speak with the old beggar. He was as kind as the previous day.
He did not want my American friend to pay for him new shoes. After a while,
we did not know what to say more, and decided to rest a little bit on the grass
next to the cathedral, with our French friends from Magis and their new beggar
friends. Most of their beggar friends were very agitated, and I felt disappointed
that we could not enter into relationship. But surprisingly, one of them sat just in
front of me, looked at me straight in the eyes and said: “you seem to be someone
that has lived very much” I answered : “what do you mean ?”. He said: “I mean
that you had many experiences in your life, this is visible”. I was very
astonished by this compliment and spent the end of the afternoon thinking of it.
In the evening, we had a celebration where we washed the feet of one another. It
made me realise, that it was far more difficult for me to be served than to serve
the others. And thinking of it and sharing in small group in the evening, I
received an understanding of the meaning of this day. During this day, I had
given far less than I had received. I wanted to give things or words to the
beggars, and they had given to me words of love.
The third day, I wanted to go on with this experience with the beggars going to
the soup kitchen. But I had many doubts about this and could not be sure that
this was the place I should go. Before the kitchen soup opened, I walked alone
in the town and entered a very old church next to the Cathedral. There I started
to pray and in the end I was feeling determined to go over the fear that
prevented me from going to the soup kitchen. I went out of this church, and I got
the strong impression that my prayer was going on in the street as it was in thechurch. That is to say that real life was a prayer. I went directly to the door of the
cathedral to speak a little bit with the old beggar. One other beggar, called
Alexander, arrived suddenly and proposed to the old one to buy bread for him.
We started to talk and surprisingly, he invited me to come with him to the soup
kitchen. We went there together and found two other beggars that were drinking
Riesling wine before the kitchen opening. They were from eastern Europe and
Russia. Another man from another table gave me a ticket to have lunch without
paying. I tried to refuse, but I could not. When the kitchen opened, I went to the
bar to get food with Alexander. I told him someone had given me a ticket but he
replied:” I have already paid for you”. I started eating with emotion, because I
was realising that this moment was a prayer. I had the feeling to be adopted by
these men. Two more details spoke to me deeply. First, they had not given me
any water to drink with the food, and they were drinking wine directly from the
bottle, which I did not want to do! I was reflecting about this when Alexander
noticed it and gave me a cup of tea with sugar! Then I had no bread to eat with
my fish. The man in front of me, called Dimitri, had two slices of bread near his
plate. He guessed that I was missing bread and gave me one slice of his… To me
this became the symbol of what happened to me: I recognised him when he
shared the bread (see Emmaus Pilgrims, Luke 24). As a confirmation of this,
the Gospel that has been chosen for the evening Eucharist was the one of the
Emmaus Pilgrims. I did the experience to be consoled by the Lord as the
pilgrims on the way to Emmaus.
All these three day have been a path to go over my fear and enter into
relationship with the beggars. It ended with a great moment of friendship with
them. Therefore, the last day for the testimony prayer in the cemetery I brought
a plate in the circle, to symbolise this moments of communion with Jesus Christ
found in the beggars.
Vincent Lascève, Frankreich