*The following reflection originally appeared as a feature in Catholic Charities USA's Lent Reflection Series
Lamentations are a part of our faith tradition. They transcend the logic of reason, rational analysis, study and planning. They pierce the crusty calluses of numbness, cynicism, indifference and denial.
Laments are cries of anguish and outrage, groans of deep pain and grief, utterances of profound protest and righteous indignation over injustice, wails of mourning and sorrow in the face of unbearable suffering. Laments name the present pain, and forthrightly acknowledge that life and relationships have gone terribly wrong. Laments both stem from and lead to deep compassion.
At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.”
“Nothing is as Important to the Church as Human Life”
So you too should love the resident alien, for that is what you were in the land of Egypt.
When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
By Luis Enrique Jacquez, El Paso, Texas
After crossing the length of Mexico over ground to get to the border, “Luisa,” a 36 year old widow from the indigenous municipality of Tamazulápam de Espíritu Santo in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, and her 20 year old son “Pedro” attempted to cross into the United States by walking through the harsh and unpopulated desert near Nogales, Arizona. Unlike most unauthorized migrants who attempt to cross the U.S. – Mexico border, Luisa and Pedro did not contract the service of a guide.
As we entered the first full week of Lent, following the Mass and Gospel with the story of the Lord 's forty days in the desert, I was able to chair my first meeting as CLINIC Board Chair at their new offices.
Raised in a tiny village in Galilee, my father, the eldest of 5 children, was raised by loving parents who made a meager living as poor farmers. My mother, who was raised in an orphanage from a young age by a community of Sisters in Jerusalem, married my father at seventeen. During my childhood, my father worked as a mechanic and my mother as a teacher. While our home was filled with love, my parents recognized that their children would have better opportunities for education, advancement, and success in the U.S.
This is a very special time. We find ourselves in the first week of Lent, recalling that Christ suffered for our sins and arose on the third day. We also find ourselves marking the one year anniversary of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on March 7th, and International Women’s Day on March 8th.
Diakonia - Although this word is certainly a familiar concept for CLINIC affiliates who are guided by a philosophy of selfless service, it was not until the Holy Father’s Lenten message that this word entered my vocabulary. Diakonia, Pope Francis explains, is the universal call to “meet needs and bind the wounds which disfigure the face of humanity.” As we embark on Ash Wednesday, I look to the Holy Father’s Lenten message to identify who and how I can help with my Lenten