Reflection: This Lent, Let us Not Abandon One Another
17 February 2021|Thomas Doran
“…return to me with your whole heart…” (Jl 2:12)
What fitting words to start off our Lenten season! It is so often that we forget about God in our life. Sometimes it’s the busyness of work, a problem in the family, or our own pain that distracts us from Him. But God does not abandon us. He waits patiently for us, and when the time is right, He calls us back to Him. After these long, isolating months of pandemic and social unrest, God wants to hear our tiredness, our mourning, and our weeping. He wants to comfort us and simply be there for us — to let us know that we are not alone. God is always here for us. While we can forget Him, He never forgets us.
Like God, migrants and refugees can be easily forgotten, especially during difficult times like these. Now is an opportune time to renew our awareness of and compassion for our displaced brothers and sisters. Today’s Gospel helps us learn how. Jesus instructs us to pray in our rooms in secret, not like the hypocrites who pray in the streets so others will see them. When we pray in secret, we pray in authenticity. Because many of us cannot directly be with refugees, we can remember that each refugee is a person, and each person has a soul. Prayer is a way to care for souls.
As we turn to God in our own need during this time, let’s also pray for the needs of others. Our second reading urgently announces, “Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Now is the time to return to God with our whole heart. Now is the time to deepen our concern for the most vulnerable among us.
Here are examples of how to pray for migrants and refugees right now.
A personalized example: Lord Jesus, please help (insert name) whom I met in (insert place). Where there is darkness and despair, bring the light of Your hope. Where there is sadness and crying, bring Your gentleness and love. Where there is fear and anxiety, bring Your comfort and everlasting peace. Lord Jesus, please empower (insert name) with your grace and goodness. Raise their heart and mind to your saving Presence. Help them know that you are always near. Amen
A global example: Lord Jesus, please help all migrants and refugees who move about the Earth. Just as you guided the migrant Israel out of Egypt in a pillar of fire, please be with our displaced brothers and sisters in the fire of their hearts. Awaken their minds to your presence. Ignite their hearts with your love. Guide their footsteps to the way of peace and prosperity. In all things, bless them with your grace and goodness. Amen.
Thomas Doran is a Jesuit novice from Omaha, Nebraska. He is working with JRS/USA as a part of Jesuit formation called “Long Experiment.” He enjoys spending time outside, fishing, adventuring, running, and writing. His greatest attraction to the Society of Jesus is its missionary spirit and the person of Jesus who animates it.