What makes a man?

Not too long ago, the tech world was introduced to the terms “disruptive innovation” and the “internet of things” happened to be the enabler of the change and market shifts in all things tech.

Disruptive innovation is seen as something that breaks the norm. Breaking out of the ordinary, mundane, endless loop, and repetitive familiarity.

Every now and then, we come across amazing people that like a disruptive innovation, changes our perception in life and bring about a shift in our thinking and way of life. Some call them visionaries while others especially the more spiritual call them Saints.

“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a way that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.”~ Native American Proverb

On the 10th of September 2016, approximately 240 kilometers away and two hours before the death of a priest we hold very close to our hearts, I was told that another priest used the proverb above in his sermon and repeated it twice. The sad news of the demise of this great servant of God came at approximately 9.30pm and it totally broke my heart.

Words just cannot describe how much this kind and charismatic priest has done for the Catholic community in this country. His reach can be seen stretched across the nation. The entire Catholic community is now mourning his death. Not because he held any significant position but by merely being a simple and humble priest, he have touched the hearts of many – one family at a time.

Like many, the news of his death came as a shock to me and naturally, I started to reason the untimely death. It is indeed frustrating that the good ones leave us early and I felt the unfairness of life. The sadness soon turned into anguish.

As I read through some of the dedications and messages left on his facebook page, I slowly come to the realization that he is indeed one of those visionaries and Saints. He has lived out his life as an angel of God with the sole purpose of bringing people closer to God. In his missionary and charitable works, he has led many to the path of righteousness.

It was on the same day that my wife had told me about how certain spiritual leaders are out to save a generation of less fortunate people. These leaders are the disruptive element in the endless repetition of poverty, injustice, and suffering. They bring about the shift and change to help poor people break out of what they perceive as the only way in life. These spiritual leaders offer and introduces new life changing ideas to the poor and marginalized. I believe this is what some call Salvation or perhaps the good news.

Another good example of such a person is Oprah Winfrey. Because she understands the importance of education and the need to alleviate poor communities from their woes, she started the pledge to put hundreds of African American men through the Morehouse College. In effect to that, these men progressed through life and were able to raise families under better circumstances compared to the uncertainties if not given the opportunity to go through college. It created a ripple effect, broke the chains of poverty, and changed and inspired the lives of many.

In my life, I have had the opportunities to cross paths with many people and I thank God for all of them because they each leave a small imprint in my life that plays a huge collective role in forming my values as a human being. And in turn, I hope that one day I can be that visionary to someone else. Indeed, no man is an island. If he is, he will never ever get to break out of what he perceived is the best.

I thank God for this amazing priest. I pray that he will one day be canonized as a Saint. Apparently, it takes two miracles to make one a saint but reading the dedications to him is nothing short of a miracle what he has done for the people around him.

He did not leave us with material things but he has given us the greatest intangible gift of all. The gift of himself, his love, his lessons, his ideas, his ideals, his values, his compassion, his empathy, his kindness, and the list goes on…

We rejoice that an angel has gone before us and we thank God for sending him to us and allowing him to touch our hearts. He is indeed the reason we know for sure that there is a God.

And I looked up the sky this evening and I saw a smile. I take it that he is now rejoicing with the host of angels by his side.

In loving memory of Rev. Fr. Phillips Muthu (1960~2016) 

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