An encounter with a reality

To think beyond my prejudice

arun simon
3 min readSep 9, 2022


On the feast of Peter Claver — known as the slave of the slaves — a post on a social reality makes a lot of sense. For those uninitiated into the life of Peter Claver, he was a jesuit priest who left Spain to work as a missionary on the port of Cartagena (present day Columbia). What was his work? To minister to the black slaves brought from Africa on the ships to work in South America. Sadly, 2/3 of the slaves die along the journey in unhygenic and extremely crowded conditions. Peter Claver, couldn’t stop the slave trade; but he brought some comfort in the lives of those slaves. He is nicknamed as the slave of the slaves. You can always read more from internet.


In front of my church, there is a gentleman whose legs are non-functional and he crawls to move. He does beg in front of the church; he attends one of the many masses in the church. Definitely our church is a bigger one than his parish church and he has his own reasons to come far to our church. (My rational mind can very easily create a reason, but let me wait before I judge).

As I saw him crawling to the church, I felt a real pity. I was wondering why none have given him a wheelchair yet. I wanted to offer my million dollar suggestion (we feel so when we make a suggestion) to one of the responsible persons involved with social actions in the parish. The response was that a wheelchair was offered by the organization and through various peoples to this person, but he refused constantly. Let me be honest…. my first analysis was that he didn’t want the wheelchair because he didn’t want to lose his livelihood. Or people will give him less money if he is in a wheelchair.

I can give a very idealised image and say that he should accept the gift, and try to find another job if that is possible. Many such reflections are true in the ideal world. But let’s not end there….

We live in a society where that person’s dignified life (atleast more dignified or less troublesome) will give him a less income for his life. His handicap and dificulties are almost the same whether he uses a wheelchair or not. I won’t say that people won’t give him money when he uses a whelchair. He probably thinks (which is definetely connected to reality) that the income will reduce. And it may be true too…. Two conclusions can be thought of…

  1. Blame that person or calling his actions as attempts to create greater sympathy. (Even I thought so)
  2. Blame the system (of which I am part of) which forces that person to live in such a way to earn a livelihood.

I am more with the second option now; it invites us for reflections and course of actions. I don’t have anything concrete in mind…. let’s think…



arun simon

A Jesuit with all the crazyness… Loves Jesus…Loves church, but loves to challenge too… Loves post modern philosophy & Gilles Deleuze.. Loves deep conversations…