An appeal to the heart...
"We would be praying truly like minors when we live with the poor and humble and poor Christ, offering the cry of the poor to the Father, sharing appropriately their living conditions." C.46,3).
The arrival of migrants and refugees into a country is a reality that is multifaceted so we can't change everything because it involves politics and other social reality. One may be lost in a desperation of not being able to do anything at all because it is a too big a problem. On the other hand there are also times as we hear about it that some of the refugees themselves engage in activities that hurts the sentiments of those receiving countries. But here our response as Capuchins could be to do our little part of lighting a candle, was the response of Br. Philip from Malta. Most of us may not be involved in the political involvement of change but we can do our part contributing to the receiving, making them feel comfortable and do the help that is within our reach. As Capuchins we could also continue our presence with these needy neighbours. The group sharing of our brothers (who work with these migrants) had at Frascati, Rome highlighted the importance of working together at the Generalate level and also it was a time of sharing what our brothers have experienced. Their story telling was very powerful and inspiring.
Becoming Universal Brothers
How our friars view the migration is the valid question to be asked in our fraternities that live closer to the areas where migrants keep arriving. Br. Paul Coleman, the Provincial of Great Britain in his group sharing report said, "Many are nervous of refugees and some are afraid, feel the threat of invasion. Work against the hatred. Hatred campaign to be handled." A Capuchin has an option to become a brother to the suffering and to be with him or her who tries to handle the realities that have come upon them. And that solidarity comes from our origins.
Our Father St. Francis was out to reach out to the people of periphery of his time outside the walls of Assisi. In those realities that he saw outside he found the poor and humble Christ. And when he went to meet the Sultan he would have surely met many migrants as well. Whenever we are closer to the people in need, now the migrants who live closer to our realities we have a great opportunity to become universal brothers in memory of Jesus our Master whose friends we are. This is the strong motivational point for us to reason out differently as Pope Francis does always.
Only when we experience and see the life realities our mentality may change. In every society there number of persons who don't bother about the sufferings of others and remain locked in their own world. Br. Henry, from Poland gave the example of a person seeing a dangerous animal very far in a desert it was scary from that far distance and when the figure came little more closer it was like a person, the thought was he may be a robber. It created anxiety whether this robber may harm me. And finally when the person came very closer the on looker realized that it was his brother.
"If my brother and sister were to face similar crisis how would I respond," was the reflection of Br. Seán Donohoe from Ireland. Interestingly some of these countries have their own needs but come forward to show gestures of solidarity and closeness to the needy neighbor. We brothers are to be spiritually and emotionally prepared to care for these dispersed people. Our experience with them will give us inexplicable joy which is very rare to find. As Capuchins it is good to have that joy which is connected to true joy.
Let our prayers could be "Our Caring Eternal Abba Father, thanks for Jesus our compassionate Saviour and friend, make our hearts little more bigger so that we understand our migrant sisters and brothers. Help us to prove your love to them through our compassionate look, caring attitudes and generosity."
(These inspirational thoughts will be continued...! )
Charles Alphonse & Jaime Rey Ofm Cap.,