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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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Three items I have found while cleaning my cluttered office

Three items I have found while cleaning my cluttered office

I was recently trying to clean my office from all the “stuff” that I had accumulated. I came across of number of items I would like to share with you.

The first was a holy card picturing Jesus, Mary and Joseph fleeing from Herod’s bloodthirsty edict to kill baby Jesus. Under the picture was “A Prayer For Refugees.” It made me think. What if Jesus were born today and his family were trying to save his life from the murderous treats of a dictator?

If the holy family had come to the United States to seek refugee status in the past few months, Baby Jesus would have been taken away from Mary and Joseph, given to some caretaker without his parents (or those in authority) knowing where he was located. Mary and Joseph would be locked up in a detention center without having any idea where Jesus was.

Thank God that Jesus was born 2,000 years ago and his family moved to Egypt, not the USA.

The prayer on the holy card reads: “Good and gracious God, we are grateful for all the joy and love that families bring into our lives. We ask that you provide special protection for all families, especially those who face hardships as they move in search of a better life.

“Show mercy to those traveling in danger and lead them to a place of safety and peace. Comfort those who are alone and afraid because violence and injustice have torn their families apart.

“The Holy Family faced many difficulties as refugees in Egypt. Help us to remember the suffering of all migrant families. Through the intercession of Mary and Joseph we pray that all migrants may be reunited with their loved ones and find the meaningful work they seek.

“Open our hearts that we may provide hospitality for all who come in search of refuge. Give us the courage to welcome every stranger as Christ in our midst. In Christ’s name we pray.”

The second item I would like to share with you is what we have done to the word “amnesty.” The dictionary defines the amnesty as: “An official pardon for people convicted of political offenses.”

In other words, it is forgiving people for their wrong doings. Jesus told us, “If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” (Matt 6:14-15)

Jesus grants amnesty to wrongdoers. Presidents have done the same. Why do some Christians have difficulty granting pardon to illegal refugees who have been living in the U.S. for years?

Lastly, I came across a quotation from St. Ignatius of Loyola that gives us a good balance of the spiritual life. “God’s purpose in creating us is to draw forth from us a response of love and service here on earth so that we may attain our goal of everlasting happiness with him in heaven.

“All the things in this world are gifts of God, created for us, to be the means by which we can come to know him better, love him more surely, and serve him more faithfully.

“As a result, we ought to appreciate and use these gifts of God as far as they help us toward our goal of loving service and union with God. Yet if any created things hinder our progress toward our goal, we ought to let them go.”

St. Benedict also had this balanced approach. In Chapter 48 of his Monastic Rule he states: “Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading … When they live by the labor of their hands, like the apostles did, then they are really monks. All things are to be done with moderation.”