Continuing the series “Vincent’s Life Lessons” based on J. Patrick Murphy’s Mr. Vincent we read:
Vincent lived 80 years and died worried that he did not do enough. Life expectancy in Vincent’s time was 35-37 years.
Lesson: You may get more time and opportunity to do good than you deserve. It is never too late to start. While reflecting on his life, Oskar Schindler said “I could have done more!” Similarly, on Vincent’s deathbed, when asked what he would have done differently with his life, he said “more.”
Oskar Schindler (28 April 1908 – 9 October 1974) was a German industrialist, spy, and member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories, which were located in occupied Poland and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.
He was named Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli government in 1963, the only member of the Nazi Party to be honored in this way.
Spielberg, astounded by Schindler’s story, jokingly asked if it was true. “I was drawn to it because of the paradoxical nature of the character,” he said. “What would drive a man like this to suddenly take everything he had earned and put it all in the service of saving these lives?”
Why did Vincent and Oskar Schindler both feel they had to risk everything and do “More”?
Twenty years after the war, Moshe Bejski, a Schindler Jew and later a Supreme Court justice in Israel, asked Schindler why he did it? Schindler replied, “I knew the people who worked for me. When you know people, you have to behave towards them like human beings.”
“When you know people”!
Maybe that is the missing ingredient in so many of today’s political narratives.
Vincent and Oskar “knew” people. They invite us to ask the question “Do I know people… or are they just statistics?”
P.S. I wonder what Pope Francis must be thinking… Pope Francis is taking 12 Muslim refugees from Syria, including six children, back to Rome after visiting a detention center in Greece.