Do You Give Up That Easily On Jesus?

I've been listening to a series of talks by Fr. Emmerich Vogt, O.P., and was struck by a tangential remark he makes during one of the lectures about a young Iranian convert in his parish's RCIA class who burst out in the middle of class one evening:
I just love Christianity! There's no revenge!
Growing up in Iran he'd been taught revenge was a moral requisite, so his experience of Christianity was an experience of liberation.

Here (Curtsy: Anchoress), a Catholic chaplain serving in Iraq tells the story of "Fatima," who converted for a similar reason:
While working with Americans, this woman, who must remain anonymous, was touched deeply when she realized that the U.S. medical personnel not only treated wounded Americans and Iraqi civilians, but also treated wounded enemy combatants, including one who was known for having killed U.S. Marines. As she put it, “This cannot happen with us.”

This dramatic extension of mercy even to enemy soldiers caused her to take the next cautious step. She asked Father Bautista to “tell me more about Jesus.” As Father described Jesus and his life in the Gospels, one thing stood out among the rest for the Muslim woman he called “Fatima” (not her real name) and that was how kindly Jesus had related to, as she put it, “the two Mary’s.” Fatima was moved to see how Jesus deeply loved Mary, his mother, who was sinless, but also how Jesus deeply loved Mary Magdalene, who was “a great sinner.” As these discussions continued, Fatima reached a point where she said to Father Bautista, “I want to become a Christian.”

The rest of the story is an excellent back-drop to the Holy Father's latest encyclical.

As their catechetical lessons developed over time, Fatima’s family discovered her plan and was warned sternly by her father that if she continued on this path, she would be disowned by the entire family and would never have contact with them again. At this point, Father Bautista became concerned for Fatima’s well-being and cautioned her to look carefully at the consequences of her decision and to think seriously before continuing her path into the Church.

Fatima paused for a moment and then looking intently at Father Bautista asked, “Do you give up so easily on Jesus?” The question took Father aback for a moment, but then he thought, “This is incredible; this Muslim woman is already bearing witness to me about how important my own faith is!”

Spe Salvi is the antidote to chick-i-fied, chestless Christianity. In it, the Pope is asking Christians to ask themselves if they haven't circumscribed their faith into a very tiny, narrow circle --something concerned only with personal salvation, and personal "support," and being nice to the needy-- and nothing more. Such a religion isn't capable of attracting people in the way that Muslim woman and Fr. Vogt's convert were attracted.