Monday, 1 September 2014

Saud Enquiry

In late September I will be starting a teaching English as a foreign language course in Brighton. I am told it is a 'door opener'. I must say though, that I am not much of a traveller. I've browsed some jobs online with regard to TEFL and it appears that while there is stiff competition for teaching roles in the UK, TEFL teachers are very much required in other parts of the World.

From a personal perspective, these countries don't hold immediate appeal to me. For instance, Saudi Arabia seems to be a TEFL 'hotspot' as does China. I am told you can always find work in these countries. I hear it is these countries where a lot of work is available but, ironically, both Saudi Arabia and China are openly hostile to the Catholic religion. A lot of people go to Thailand to teach but Thailand doesn't hold too much appeal to me either. Poland might one day become more attractive but I expect this is a more popular destination for Brits to gain teaching experience. I'd like to get paid to write but as we all know, that is quite a tough industry to get into as well.

After Mass today I met a very friendly man from Saudi Arabia who decided to 'experience' a Catholic Mass. Thankfully, where he attended Church today, the liturgy is reverent, the parish choir were on good form and even a disruptive person telling people it was his birthday during the Canon did not seem to put this Saudi man off. Talking with him, I got the impression he was quite taken by the Mass, the incense, the worship, the reverence of it. He said, 'Thank you' to me. I asked him what I had done and he replied that I had served around the Altar. He was most respectful and courteous. He seemed to have some burning questions. He wanted to know about the Mass and in particular, he wanted to know about the differences between Protestants and Catholics, as if he was searching for the true Church. This idea - or rather this reality - of the true Church is not talked about a great deal today, even from the highest places of authority in the Church, but people do want to know, which is the One True Church? Where is I find the source of Life and Salvation? Which Church speaks authentically for Christ? Which Church did He found?

So, I explained that Christ established One Church on St Peter and the Apostles and that this Church was One - is One - and the Church was at one until the schism with the East and then, later, with the Protestant Reformation. I explained about Luther and the violence of the Protestant Revolution in England under King Henry VIII. I talked about the martyrs and witnesses to the Faith during this period and explained about the persecution of the Church in this time and the criminalisation of the Catholic religion under various monarchs. I explained about the theological disputes between Protestants and Catholics, particularly those disputes that dilute or confuse the doctrine of the Real Presence. I told him that both Our Blessed Lady and Our Blessed Lord are in Heaven in the flesh, in their glorified bodies, that Christ was raised again and that Our Lady joined Him in Heaven at her Assumption and that Christ will return at the end of time in Glory. He was quite captivated while he mined my mind for info.

The young man, over here to learn English, returns to Saudi Arabia at the end of this week but says he would like to come to Mass at the Church I attend again before he goes. He didn't talk about his faith, about Islam, or about himself at all. He seemed to thirst for knowledge of the Catholic religion, so I responded as best I could to his enquiries. He had a couple of CTS books in his hand. He seemed quite mesmerised by the Catholic Faith and the mystery of it, perhaps its authenticity. I got the impression he was quite captured by the beauty of it. I don't know whether His Holiness Pope Francis would approve of my distinctions between the Protestant religion(s) and the Catholic Faith which has been kept, whole and entire, for two millennia. The sad thing, of course, is that, should he be so inclined by the Grace of God to convert to the One True Faith, he can expect a chalice of suffering and rejection - perhaps even threat to his mortal life - in his homeland. Join me in saying a prayer for him. As a Catholic, I could get a teaching job in Saudi Arabia, but how long that would last is anybody's guess. I hear they are not as big on 'tolerance' there as we are here.


rosaMaria said...

Prayed for the young Saudi-man. Thanks for the opportunity to do so!!..

Nosce te ipsum said...

I have prayed for him also, and asked Saint John of Damascus to intercede.

Mary Kay said...

Wow. This reminds me to pray for the young man who was my student from Morocco, as well as my other middle Eastern moslem students. mI spent several recent years teaching basic nursing skills to people from other countries as an 'English for speakers of other Languages. . I enjoyed learning about their cultures, in the middle of my language courses, but many of the moslems were very hostel to this country (US) which had welcomed them.

I can understand from first-hand experience the consternation you are experiencing.

You are in my prayers.

Physiocrat said...

As distant foreign countries go, Japan is by no means hostile to Catholicism. Closer to home, the church is also flourishing in Norway, Sweden and Finland.

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